The TV and movie industry recognize artists for acting, writing, directing or an array of other categories. There are also Lifetime Achievement Awards for a distinguished body of work over a long period of time.
I understand that.
And there’s music awards for every genre: country, gospel…whatever.
I can boogie down with that.
Since 1985, People magazine had named their annual “Sexiest Man Alive.” It’s billed as a benchmark of male attractiveness.
I get it…sometimes. (Sean Connery? YES! Johnny Depp…twice. Really?)
The Nobel Prize is a awarded to people for cultural and/or scientific advances in areas such as literature.
While I have never personally had such an austere recognition bestowed on me as a consequence of my aptitude to communicate effectively in prose, I can mentally grasp the significance and am cognizant of the honor it entails. (i.e., I understand, but I ain’t got one.)
Each year, the Hugo Awards for science fiction excellence are presented in more than a dozen categories, and include both written and dramatic works of various types.
It’s logical, and I grok this.
One well-known, tongue-in-cheek website gives the Darwin Awards, which “salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidentally remove themselves from it...” On the site, you see stories of those who did something incredibly stupid, and lost their lives in the process.
Morbid as it sounds, I even understand this.
But in late September (2013), the “ex-gay” organization Voice of the Voiceless presented its first “Courage Award for Former Homosexuals” to Trace McNutt, a self-described former “satanic drag queen” who has now turned into an ex-gay activist.
I don’t understand this!
The award was presented as part of an under attended/over reported event in Washington, DC, the conclusion of “Ex-Gay Awareness Month.”
Author’s Note: Earlier in the month, they’d held a Lobby Day on Capitol Hill, expecting hundreds to gather and proclaim the power of “ex-gay” treatments. Only 15 people showed up, and most of those were either reporters or staff members of the organization.
The “Awareness” month was put together after their “Ex-Gay Pride Month” in July had been a dismal failure, forcing them to cancel the event and issue a press release, blaming “Anti-Ex-Gay Extremist’s Threats.”
From the release: The “Courage Award for Former Homosexuals is presented annually to an individual who displays bravery and resilience in leaving homosexuality despite insurmountable challenges.” (My question: If this is the first time the award’s been given, how can they say it’s presented annually? Oh well, that’s the least of my concerns.)
The word “former” would clearly imply something in the past; the phrase “former homosexual” connotes that one sexual orientation—homosexuality—has been overcome, and (I’d assume) replaced with another—heterosexuality. By using the term “former homosexual,” (six times) one would assume this award is given to a person who has shed themselves of attractions toward the same sex.
Because they identify as “ex-gay” (nine times) and use phrases such as “coming out of homosexuality” and “leaving” (leave, left) homosexuality,” we might assume they are referring to someone who no longer feels sexual desires toward a person of their own gender.
In other words, reading the press release, one would assume that this award goes to those who have changed from gay to straight.
But all of those assumptions would be wrong!
I’ve had several online interactions with Trace, and I know that his life has many challenges. For that, my heart goes out to him. He has wrestled with homelessness, drug addiction, probably sex addition, cancer and AIDS. It’s not that I’m against Trace receiving this honor; I don’t think anyone should receive this award...since I’m convinced there is no such thing as a “former homosexual.”
In accepting the award, Trace admitted he still struggled with same-sex attractions. He’d said the same thing in an interview with the Christian Post. He’s also admitted to repeated “failures” by having sex with other men. On a radio program, Trace quotes one of the over-used talking points of the movement: “I believe the opposite of homosexuality isn't heterosexuality but holiness. I no longer identify myself as a gay man. I am a child of God." (Spoken as if the two mutually and necessarily exclusive.) He asserts that it was past wounds that caused him to be a homosexual, in spite of all scientific evidence to the contrary.
This award once again points to the deception in the “ex-gay” movement: they lie (consciously or not) to themselves and everyone else. They refuse to see homosexuality as part of who they are, but only something they do. They will twist words to avoid taking responsibility for their desires. They not only ignore genuine research, they refuse to allow any other interpretation of Scripture. (I guess that’s where the courage part of the Award comes into play: in spite of insurmountable challenges of science, research and evidence, they will still choose their outdated beliefs!)
Author’s Notes: For every person who stands and proclaim they are “healed” of their homosexuality, I can show someone who once said the same thing…but now admits the truth. Earlier this year, Exodus International, the largest "ex-gay" organization in the world shut down, admitting that people didn't change their sexual orientation.
In a previous post, I talked about how to listen to these “ex-gay” success stories, and I can say that much of Trace's testimony follows the precise pattern I outlined.
- Trace McNutt continues to proclaim he’s not gay, in spite of his attractions toward the same sex.
- He contradicts the expert opinion of every major medical and mental professional organization. He denies the best scientific evidence about sexual orientation change.
- He continues to “fall” (his words) and give into his sexual desires.
- He persists in calling himself an "ex-gay" but continues to have sex with other guys.
And for this, he gets an award?
If this organization needs to give Trace an award, then I suggest they honor his tenacity in the face of all contradictory evidence. They can focus on his perseverance in doing the same thing over and over, even when it obviously is not working. (Though some do see this as the definition of "insanity.") They can present him a plaque for all the effort it takes to deny an important, inherent and God-given part of his identity. They could even applaud him for the way he's turned his life around, which was clearly a mess. And they could recognize his Christian faith. (I would join them in that acknowledgment!)
But for heaven’s sake (literally), don’t lie and call him a “former homosexual.”
And don't give him an award for it!