So much has happened since my
trip to attend the Amplify Asia Conference in Hong Kong and then to the United States to attend
the Exodus International conference. It would take me a week to write about it
everything. But I know no one has the time to read all that! You MUST know about this though.
At the Exodus conference, in
Orange County, CA, I met two lovely people Linda and Rob Robertson. The theme
of the Exodus conference was "True Stories" and I could tell from the first
conference meeting that there was a new authenticity coming forth from those
who shared. Linda's brother Don, an
openly gay police sergeant, who works for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's
Department, kept saying "you must see
Rob and Linda presentation tomorrow morning" (said several times for
Of course I wanted to be there
(even though I didn't know the full extent of the story) but I HAD to write a
newsletter and blog about the ground breaking announcement(media release) the night before, when the president, Alan Chambers (video)
said that Exodus International days were over. It took the entire morning to
write so I arrived back at the conference at lunch time just as the meeting was
Linda's brother Don, kept saying "you should have been here"..."you should have been here"
I felt guilty but I knew I had to
let supporters and friends of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International know
ASAP about that Exodus was closing its doors.
It wasn't till conference ended
that I finally got to see Rob and Linda's presentation "Just Because He Breathes" about their son Ryan.
Watching on my laptop in the
hotel room I began sobbing (and did for sometime later) and realised it was
probably meant to be that I missed this meeting. Had I actually been there I'd
have wept so loudly that I would have
had to leave the auditorium.
Since commencing this work, I
have heard lots of stories. And when I say lots.... I am talking 100's and
100's. Many unheard or had never been shared with anyone. Always moving ....many
heart-wrenching. Rob and Linda's story stands out as one of the most powerful of all. It was both courageous and inspiring of them to talk about their journey so openly and to do it at an Exodus conference.
Its powerful because it
graphically demonstrates the tragedies that occur when Christian parents, friends,
pastors, church leaders and youth pastors, no
matter how well meaning, without a well-informed and balanced understanding
of sexual orientation will only regurgitate ignorance and misinformation. The impacts of ignorance and misinformation
have had devastating impacts on gay and lesbian people young and old alike.
Make sure you WATCH and SHARE the video with as many people as possible. Particularly pastors, church leaders and Christian friends who
are yet to understand that being gay or lesbian is not a sin, choice or can be
changed. And that holding on to these
outdated beliefs is devastating individual lives and families.
Find out more about Rob, Linda and Ryan's story here Just Because He breathes
This 35 minutes could change things forever.
PS: if you would like to support
this recent project "The
Secret Mission" then you can see the barometer and details here
© Anthony Venn-Brown
Anthony Venn-Brown is the co-founder and former leader of Freedom2b, Australia’s largest network of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people from Christian backgrounds. He is also an educator and consultant on LGBT/faith issues and leader in deconstructing the ‘ex-gay’ myth. Anthony’s autobiography 'A Life of Unlearning', details his journey from married, high profile preacher in Australia’s mega-churches to living as an openly gay man. Anthony has been twice voted ‘One of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians’ (2007 & 2009) and was one of four finalists for the 2011 ACON Community Hero Award. He is also the founder and director of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International.
Labels: ex-gay, exodus, unwanted same sex attraction