I LOVE YOU, BUT …. By Michael Bussee
I talk a lot with LGBT kids who grew up Christian. They tell me they pulled away from loved ones (and sometimes abandoned their faith) because they too often heard, “I love you, but…”
From parents: “I love you, but there’s something seriously wrong with you. I love you, but I cannot accept your “lifestyle”. I love you, but I must have done something wrong to make you that way. I love you, but you are doing this to hurt me. I love you, but you have taken away all my hopes and dreams for your future. I love you, but I cannot speak openly about you with my friends for fear they might reject us both.”
From church: “We love you, but you’re broken. We love you, but your love for another person of the same sex is sinful and immoral. We love you, but you must repent or face eternal torture. We love you, but you must try to change. We love you, but if you can’t change then you must remain single and celibate until you die. We love you, but you cannot serve openly in our congregation, take communion, be ordained or get married in the sanctuary.”
What these LGBT Christian kids wanted to hear — what all kids need so desperately to hear — is: “I love you just as you are. Period.”
Michael Bussee was one of the originators of the ex-gay movement. In the mid-1970s, while working as a telephone counselor at Melodyland Christian Center in Anaheim, California, Bussee co-founded the Ex-gay Intervention Team (EXIT) and later hosted an unprecedented conference of ex-gay ministries at which a handful of ministry leaders, along with approximately 60 delegates, voted to form a loose coalition called EXODUS. However, within a few years, Bussee began to doubt the efficacy and ethics of the ex-gay message and in 1979 he left Exodus and eventually began to speak out about the tremendous damage that results from the anti-gay message. Today Bussee is a retired Marriage and Family therapist, who devotes much of his time helping LGBT people heal from the trauma they faced from the Christian anti-gay message.
The private Facebook support group, Serendipitydodah for Moms, is going strong. The group is for open minded Christian moms who have LGBTQ kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBTQ kids. The “Be Our Guest” event series has been particularly helpful to the members. We have special guests join the group for a few days to share their insight, ideas and thoughts with us. Michael Bussee was one of our recent guests. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining the Facebook support group.