Chances are they grew up hearing that they are innately evil, condemned by God and the Bible, going to hell. But now they've overcome all that hatred, they know that God is fine with gay people.
Or so you think.
Then suddenly you get an email: "How could I have been so blind? You can't serve God and Satan! I am praying for you to find deliverance from the homosexual demons that possess you!"
Followed by an avalanche of emails, letters, gospel tracts, and facebook posts about how much they are praying for you to "see the light" and "reject your sinful lifestyle."
But I understand the feeling. The church did a very good job of pounding into my head the evils of movies, dancing, playing cards, reading the Sunday newspaper, and going out to eat on Sunday, so I still feel an occasional twinge of guilt when engaging in these activities.
And I won't leave the house between 9:30 and 11:30 Sunday morning. I have an irrational fear of being arrested for the "crime" of skipping church.
But three guys I've dated have suddenly decided that they, or I, or our relationship is sinful, and announced that they were "ex-gay."
When we met, he was student clergy at the gay-positive Metropolitan Community Church, proud of his background in gay porn, but just a few months before, he had belonged to a group called Homosexuals Anonymous. Before that, he was starring in porn movies, and before that, he was in college, studying theology and playing football to "become more manly."
He boomeranged back to "God hates gays" twice more while I knew him. The first time, I cured him with a trip to Pattaya. The second time, he cut off all contact for awhile, but soon he was back.
2. Josh the Fireman. When I moved to New York in 1997, I met Josh at St. Thomas of Canterbury, a gay-friendly Episcopal church in Smithtown: in his 30s, tall, redhead, hairy chest, rather buffed, with a nice Bratwurst+. Not really my type, but religious!
He grew up in the Abundant Harvest Church of God in Farmingdale, Long Island, where he constantly heard that he was innately evil, condemned by God and the Bible, going to hell. But now he was an Episcopalian, and he had a library of pro-gay religious books. He had overcome his early brainwashing, right?
We dated once, and then settled into a friendship. We went to brunch after church, talked about cute guys, cruised together. One night we "shared" Yuri.
A few days later, out of nowhere, Josh sent me an email about how he had seen the light, gay people were evil, God had turned him straight, etc., etc.
I called him and asked "What, exactly, do gay people do that's so evil?"
"Fornication!" he exclaimed. "Dozens of partners a night! Cruising in t-rooms, bath houses, group orgies! It's disgusting, just like in the days of Noah, and you know what God did to the world then!"
"Do you do any of those things?"
"We had sex on our first date! And then I was with you and Yuri both, and we weren't even dating! That's decadent! Sinful!"
"But some straight people do those things, and some gay people don't. So maybe God just disapproves of sex outside of a committed relationship, regardless of whether you're gay or straight?"
"God doesn't care who you're attracted to -- the soul doesn't have a gender, anyway. He just wants you to stick with one partner for your whole life."
Personally, I don't think God cares how many people we share our sex organs with, as long as it's consensual and non-exploitative. But the strategy worked -- Josh agreed that maybe it was promiscuity, not being attracted to men, that got God riled up.
We lost contact after I moved to Manhattan. I assume that he's "still" gay.
So I had him over for a one-on-one session. He was not only chubby and small beneath the belt, he was rather ugly. But he was religious, and that's always attractive.
I tried my best to make him feel desired, including an extensive make-out sessions after the activity. Plus I listened patiently to his long, boring coming out story.
He left with my private phone number in his pocket and an invitation to "come back anytime."
A week later, he emailed me with a request to be taken off the M4M Party mailing list. "I can't do this anymore. I should have known that you can't serve God and Satan. I have to worry about the fate of my soul."
I let him have it: "I was as nice to you as I could be. I did everything I could to bolster your self-confidence. What did I do that was so evil?"
He never responded.
I should have taken him to Pattaya.
See also: Alan Turns Ex-Gay; My Top Religious Dates and Hookups