Albany Baptist Church in the southwest corner of Australia has agreed to host an evening where a small group will share stories of how Jesus Christ has impacted their lives.
Nothing newsworthy there – or so you might think. But visible beneath the surface is a new oppression that threatens democratic freedoms of speech, assembly, association, conscience, religious practice, therapeutic choice, and even of opinion.
The men and women who will share their stories – all but one of whom has previously lived and practiced as gay, lesbian or transgender – have now chosen to reject LGBTQ+ labelling as they say this no longer serves their lived realities.
Previously, their entire identity was limited to sexual attraction alone. Today, these individuals prefer to be seen as more than their sexual attraction, and they testify that this change in outlook and attitude has brought about a significant increase in their mental, physical and emotional well-being.
Surely that’s good news for gender dysphoric and same-sex attracted people. Well, some don’t think so.
Some members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community have been swift to cry, “I’m offended” after publicity was posted briefly onto the Albany church’s Facebook page. The reason for the post’s swift removal was the barrage of bigoted, phobic and plainly untrue comments suddenly uploaded.
Even though the evening’s exact content is not yet finalised (and I know this firsthand as I am involved), the ‘conversion therapy fearmongery’ has already been whipped up, reaching the threshold, if not the board room, of Albany’s Labor MP, Rebecca Stephens.
The storm in the LGBTQ+ teacup are the words ‘beyond’ and ‘previously’ as the ubiquitous mantra of ‘once gay, always gay’ is yet again challenged from within its own ranks.
Two simple words are all it takes to persuade LGBTQ+ activists to force their banner worded ‘oppressed’ ever tighter against politicians’ faces. The aim of these particular activists and their sympathisers is to permit no one to air opinions different to their own.
Their oppressive demands, now enshrined in some regional laws (QLD, ACT, VIC), seek to silence those who might still experience same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria from speaking of any greater liberty, equality and mutuality they have experienced beyond the LGBTQ+ mindset.
Let’s be real. No one wants to be oppressed. I wholeheartedly oppose anyone being oppressed because of unchosen sexual attractions or instability in one’s genetic identity. In fact, these are the very people I walk alongside and reach out to daily. I know their pain. I too have walked in their shoes.
Every decent Australian wants to believe fellow citizens are sufficiently grown-up and honouring of each other’s basic freedoms to permit others to hold views different to their own whilst retaining a mutual respect. However, the unreflected responses from the so-called LGBTQ+ Oppressed show that this belief is fast eroding. Responses to the questions ‘Who is the real oppressor?’ and ‘Who are the oppressed?’ are becoming more clear than ever.
What is most sad about the LGBTQ+ storm swirling around Albany Baptist Church’s warm welcome of their same-sex attracted and gender dysphoric neighbours and members is that the stories of hope, vision, and dignity to be shared are ones that any politician or health provider would love to boast about.
They include stories of individuals with dysfunction and brokenness in their histories who are slowly mending and becoming more functional.
Australian regional laws state, “you aren’t broken, you don’t need fixing” but these lives beg to differ. They are stories that others I know and love in the LGBTQ+ community tell me often that they too would like to live.
Stories to be shared will include an Aboriginal woman who has moved from childhood sexual abuse, a pattern of emotional codependency on other women, domestic violence, and a lengthy drug addiction to a life of being drug-free, finding healing and restoration, healthy interdependence, and strong relational boundaries.
A young man caught up in homosexual prostitution, drug abuse, severe depression and anxiety, mental instability, paranoia and agoraphobia who is now living chastely, engaging socially, and enjoying the best mental health ever.
A guy who spent two decades living as a faux-woman who had his genitalia surgically removed without any initial assessment to diagnose why he was experiencing gender dysphoria in the first place. His detransition story is one devoid of any bitterness, yet full of concern for the “conveyor belt” medicalisation of children as doctors’ cries to stop the mass mutilation of healthy body parts falls on the ears of many selectively deaf politicians.
An adult rape victim with a history of childhood sexual abuse, gender dysphoria and borderline clinical depression who had to leave the state of Victoria for Western Australia to find help and resolution to his past trauma. Today, he is at peace in his natal sex, learning to honour his body, and the happiest he has ever been.
Health providers and taxpayers also benefit enormously from these stories. Yet still, LGBTQ+ activists and sympathisers are planning to descend on Australia’s southwest to protest against people who merely desire to witness to overcoming trauma. Those who will speak invite them to come, not to protest but to listen intently and respectfully to their stories.
In fact, speakers are so keen to share the hope they are experiencing that they would gladly travel to protesters’ localities to do this.
This situation raises one big question. Does LGBTQ+ ideology have the only narrative on sexual attraction and identity? The answer is clearly no.
Contemporary research in Australia and abroad shows this. Politicians are foolish to ignore science and to base laws solely on the raw feelings of one minority, as valid as these may be, at the expense not only of the majority but of the minority itself. It is time for politicians to grow up and become fully educated.
Albany Baptist Church has made clear on their Media Release that they believe, as do each of the speakers, that ‘God loves every person whatever their sexual attraction or however they identify. All are of equal value and dignity in His sight and in our sight’, and that they ‘do not support or condone the practice of any coercive therapies’.
This is one of an increasing number of churches that throws open their doors to listen to same-sex attracted and gender questioning people share how they are persevering beyond being prolifically sexually abused as children, raped as adults, caught up in crippling emotional dependency and domestic violence, being prostituted, and enslaved to a variety of addictions, to living lives now imbued with hope, vision, and dignity.
May God literally bless those Baptists who are siding with an authoritative voice on sexuality in Australia, the LGB Alliance, who fully support the right for everybody to tell their stories.
Long may this freedom continue in Australia and beyond.
This article is dedicated to two men: my cousin, whose mental health plummeted shortly after his same-sex civil partnership leading him to take his life several months later; and to a neighbour who, having endured years of electro-convulsive therapy at the hands of state health practitioners took his life some weeks ago, a mere three years after legally celebrating his same-sex union. I remain saddened that you never got to fully tell your stories.