All in all, 2011 was a relatively decent year for the gays. Among other things, we saw the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the passage of legalized same-sex marriage in New York State. Sadly, with every small victory the gay community achieves, the far right becomes more and more desperate to demonize us, so desperate, in fact, that they will blindly embrace and exploit any self-loathing individual who'll tell them what they want to hear, truth be damned. The latest person to qualify for this distinct honor is Janet Boynes.
Janet Boynes is a self-proclaimed "ex-lesbian" and founder of Minnesota-based Janet Boynes Ministries, an organization dedicated to assisting individuals who "wish to leave homosexuality." She is the author of the book Called Out, which tells the story of her own transformation. This has curried her favor from the likes of Michele and Marcus Bachmann, and Joseph Farah, founder of that exemplar for misinformed hysteria, the gay-hating website World Net Daily. In Called Out Boynes details how, at age 13, she was sexually abused by the father of one of her sisters. This triggered a downward spiral into drug and alcohol abuse, fist fights, selling drugs, avoiding bill collectors, stealing from friends, bulimia, and a string of failed, destructive relationships with both women and men. This behavior lasted well into Boynes' 30s, at which time she started going to church and, lo and behold, she is now a happy, healthy, penis-craving Christian woman.
Boynes was recently featured in a segment of Lisa Ling's Our America, which airs on the Oprah Winfrey Network. While Boynes insists that there are "thousands of ex-gays," when asked to produce just one, the best she could come up with was a stereotypically effeminate young gentleman named "Christian" (no joke). Boynes claims Christian as one of her ex-gay successes. Part of the segment shows Lisa Ling on a car ride with Christian, during which we learn that Christian hasn't been sexually active, with men or women, for four years. When they pass a gay bar, Christian admits that he regularly patronizes it because, as he puts it, it is close to his home, and it is the only bar that stays open late. Ling then asks Christian, point-blank, "Do you still feel attracted to guys?" Offering perhaps the only genuine statement of the story, Christian, without hesitation, answers, "Yeah, totally, like sexually, yeah. Like, way more than girls." Later in the segment, Ling and Boynes go shopping together, and we learn that part of Boynes' strategy to abandon lesbianism is to wear dresses to make her feel more feminine. After all, scientific research shows that straight women never wear pants.
Janet Boynes' entire spiel is pure hucksterism. The type of patently false rhetoric she spews appeals to one of the basest components of the far-right agenda, which is their completely unfounded hatred of the gay community. Boynes' own narrative leads me to believe that any sexual activity on her part was, in the past, out of situational necessity. She did what she had to do to get what she felt she needed at any given point in time -- kind of like now, but in a different capacity. She has a very clear goal: to sell her book and raise money for her ministry. There's no doubt that she was a complete mess of a person. She should be commended for eschewing her past substance abuse and criminal activities. However, she has simply substituted her previous reckless behavior for the dangerously irresponsible conduct she now exhibits. In a December World Net Daily article Boynes whines, "[Christians] are being bullied by the gay community by imposing on us to accept what they believe." It seems to me that Christians who, like Boynes, denigrate the gay community and adamantly perpetuate the nonexistent phenomenon of ex-gay reparation, are guilty of that exact same thing, often to the detriment of their victims.
And, the lies continue. In the World Net Daily article Boynes is quoted as saying, "[President Obama] is not in step with the majority of American citizens that believe in traditional human relations, with marriage being defined as one man with one woman; and that homosexual behavior is wrong." In actuality, the most recent independent polls from Pew Research, Quinnipiac, Gallup and CBS News show that there is a trend toward increased acceptance of legalized same-sex marriage, with about half of the population approving of it, and anywhere from 4 to 10 percent identifying as "unsure." Nevertheless, it is an inaccuracy to say that the majority opposes it.
On her website Janet Boynes states that it has been 11 years since she was "called out of the lesbian lifestyle," and she believes that, one day, God will bring a husband into her life. I don't know what God is waiting for, but if this is what Ms. Boynes wants, and she believes that it will truly make her happy, I would be the last person to begrudge her that opportunity. I just wish she had the common decency to extend the same courtesy to my gay brothers and sisters, and to me.