We didn’t return from the March conquering heroes. Mostly we slunk from the Metro station, each to our own transportation then off to eat dinner before gathering back at the church for a prayer meeting.
This was the last time I visited this particular Ex-gay group (Transformation Ministries) though I did continue to affiliate with Sought Out in Virginia Beach for a while longer.
It was very dark out by the time the group gathered in the room to pray. About 15 people had attended the protest of the March. At least 7 of them had been from Sought Out. In the room there was over 30 people from the hosting ministry. Those that hadn’t attended the March talked about how they had spent the day in prayer in front of their TV’s watching the coverage of the March. They talked about how they could feel God moving, convicting the hearts of the Marchers of their Sins.
Those of us who had been down there the whole time obviously didn’t feel that way. But I noticed one or two of my fellows, the ones that had left fairly early from the protest, soaking up the praise and agreeing with the “Prayer Warriors” who had spent the day at home. The whole day had left a bad taste in my mouth. I was feeling a little prickly about the righteousness of our protest in the first place.
I was really questioning things in my heart. There had been so many people there. So many people so sure of themselves and what they believed. They had been there putting deed to word calling just for equal rights. They had been willing to be out and known just to have everything that everyone else got. In fact they were there fighting for my rights. After all, wasn’t I just like them? I was gay just like them wasn’t I? I looked at their conviction and the action it produced. Right there in this room I was in now I could compare the actions that our conviction had called forth.
The meeting progressed to hymns and more prayer. Everyone was in the heightened emotional state of ecstatic communion with God that happens in some evangelical meetings where the room is close and hot and everyone is praying fervently for something while whispering or singing out loud. There was even some Speaking in Tongues going on. Finally a lull in the action happened. One of the group leaders began talking to this freaked out looking teenage black girl in the room.
He began by telling her how special she was because her parents had named her Micah after the book in the Bible. He talked about her name having meaning! (feel the Exclamation point) Then he started talking about how she was destined to do great things like the prophet Micah. That’s when he told everyone to lay hands on her so they could cast out the devil that had been making her gay and holding her back from that greatness.
Damn, he was going to preform a “Exorcism” right then.
The room was hot. I was feeling dizzy. This very much did not seem right. I could have said something right then. I could have stood up for the kid. I could have expressed my discomfort. Where were her parents? As everyone moved toward Micah I took that opportunity to flee from my spot. They closed in around her. The last thing I saw as I fled the room was her looking close to tears and having a body language that said she very much didn’t want to be there right then.
I know now it was cowardice on my part that kept me quiet and made me flee. Down deep in my core I knew that meeting was Not Ok. There was something really fucked up going on emotionally there. I couldn’t have said what it was then and now I only have my suspicions that the group leader was getting a charge off being in charge, that he was grand standing, but I didn’t go back in the room. No matter how right it would have felt to do it. I didn’t. I waited for the meeting to break up before slinking back to the friends house we were staying at.
When we got back to Virginia Beach we didn’t talk about the March. It was like it had never happened. I mean come on. We had been immersed in that sea of people who seemed to be very OK with themselves to the point of Marching on Washington and demanding to be treated Equally but we Never talked about it. We never talked about the weirdness in the meeting after either. We never really addressed that there could be a viable alternative the hell we were putting ourselves through trying to conform to the demand that we not love who we loved.
We never talked about the possibility that we were on the Wrong Side of this issue.
I know now we were.