A month ago, David Benkof presented me with an opinion piece he wrote slamming the “ex-gay” organization Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH). It appeared to be useful information, but I refused to employ it in my efforts. Why?
Because, in my view, Benkof lacks character and cannot be trusted. Once upon a time, he was the openly bisexual founder of Q-syndicate, which provides the GLBT press with content. Then, he quit his job, became a born again Jew, changed his last name from Bianco to Benkof and claims to have given up sex with men. He went on to stab the GLBT community in the back and cozied up to the anti-gay industry.
Granted, I never liked this man. I met him at a National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association meeting in Chicago several years ago. I found him to be crass and lack class. He was an overbearing, insufferable, ill-mannered braggart with an ego the size of the Sears Tower. With a distaste for his personality, I simply smiled and walked away.
After Benkof became a “New Jew,” he moved to Las Vegas. I was to pass through on my “Anything But Straight” book tour. Through a respected intermediary, he tried to set up a lunch meeting and I refused. I did not like him when he was “out,” so I certainly had no use for him when he was “In.” (For the record, I’ve even dined with ex-gay leaders Randy Thomas and Alan Chambers, who are much better company than Benkof)
The last thing I was going to do was waste part of a day in Vegas with Bianco/Benkof. No thanks, get me to the pool and to the slot machines. Besides, the fake models of the Eiffel Tower and New York’s skyline were enough artifice in Las Vegas, without bringing Benkof into the picture.
This year, Benkof has slithered back into the public eye, emerging as an anti-gay activist who poses as a pro-gay advocate. He has fancied himself a regular columnist with the GLBT press, even though this is not true. He has also been accused by more than one respected advocate of misrepresentation in interviews for his column.
Most important, this spotlight-seeking charlatan has been dishonest about his motives. For these reasons, I elected not to use his information about the ex-gay industry. I try to only quote sources that are known to be honest and have integrity. Mr. Benkof does not fit the bill. One just has to feel sorry for this poor, troubled soul who craves attention at all costs.
Today, Box Turtle Bulletin’s Timothy Kincaid wrote an excellent article exposing this fraud. I urge everyone to read it so they know the true David Benkof. Here is an excerpt:
Benkof is not swayed by logic. As Benkof argued in a chatroom debate over same-sex parenting:
However, my stance wouldn’t change even if 100 studies showed no differences in children of every family structure ‚Äî because my beliefs are informed by a traditional Jewish worldview and its attitudes toward families and childrearing. But I want to ask you ‚Äî would your stance change if 100 studies showed harmful effects in children raised without both a mother and a father?
You see, all of Benkof’ arguments have nothing to do with what he’ claiming in his writing. Benkof doesn’t care whether it could be proven by undeniable evidence that equality, marriage, children’s issues, the military, discrimination, and every other issue was without question on our side.
He’ not really debating policy, he’ pushing his religion.
And if Benkof were honest about his efforts, I would be fine. I have respect for those who live according to their religious constraints. And I don’t seek to diminish those who present their faith for others to consider.
But that isn’t what David is doing. He’ not presenting his articles of faith for consideration for cultural adoption. He’ seeking to advance the rules of his faith by making secular argument, and not being honest about it. Because pushing religion is viewed suspiciously, David Benkof has chosen to adopt artificial arguments. And an artificial identity. And artificial supporters.
I wonder if he thinks his God is pleased.