This is Aaron Barton, a purported “ex-gay,” telling his story. The unedited video is here if you want to see it, but commentary has been added, to rebut every single one of Barton’s “ex-gay” talking points/lies, within the video, so that’s handy. If you know someone who is caught up in the “ex-gay” scam — perhaps you’re coming out of it and still know people on the inside — share this video with them. Here’s part of Matt Algren’s reaction:
I feel bad for Aaron Barton. He’s so sad, so bottled up, so ashamed. Really, this video, and his act of accepting applause for lying about who he is, is a form of mortification. The only difference between him and the medieval monks is that instead of flagellating his flesh, Barton abuses his soul.
Perhaps that’s the only way he can feel.
This is his life, the life he chose instead of standing up to his family’s shame and his church’s bigotry. And for that, I feel pity for Barton.
We do feel bad for people like Aaron. But as Matt points out, at this point Aaron is choosing to harm himself AND OTHERS by spreading this crap. He may be truly brainwashed into believing that what he is saying is true. He may be so terrified of the imaginary hell that people no more informed than he have passed down as a torture myth for generations upon generations. I don’t know. But the blood is still on the hands of any of those who try to pass off these sorts of lies. We already know there’s a bodycount involved. And this being Truth Wins Out, we also know what happens to people who have been through the “ex-gay” wringer.
Look at the screen cap for this video. His eyes look almost dead. That’s what “ex-gay” scams do, as they convince people to repress their very souls and replace all that with code words and catchphrases, talking points and lies. And now, having seen that, hit play and see if the eyes come to life.
My favorite part is just under three minutes in, when he describes how he started to lose his shame over his true self when he finally found people who weren’t pig ignorant bigots like the people who raised him, how he started to feel comfortable in his own skin. The charlatans who have washed his mind of rational thought have somehow helped him turn that story into a negative. Fundamentalist Christianity is such a freaking weird cult.
Aaron: Whenever you need us, whenever you get the point that you simply can’t continue living a lie, whenever you realize that your parents and church don’t have your best interests at heart, but their own, we’ll be here. You can even still be a Christian! There’s an app for that, or maybe Kathy Baldock could help out.
And, in case you missed my favorite quote from the on-screen commentary:
“If God can’t cure little Jessica of leukemia, He’s not going to waste time making me crave vaginas.” That’s a winner right there.
Aside: I am so utterly unsurprised that this happened in Augusta, Georgia. I had the misfortune to live in that city for a year, and I have never been surrounded by so much abject, willful stupidity and bigotry in my life. There are good, decent people there, to be sure, probably enough to fill the outside seating area at well-appointed Starbucks. But the rest of them? Holy crap. However! I also am aware that the most exclusive private high school in Augusta now has a gay/straight alliance. It was started by a straight guy. So there is always hope for future Aaron Bartons, that they might hear the message, even among the most poorly educated, most highly bigoted people in this country, that it can and will get better for them. [Get the hell out of Augusta immediately after graduation.]