I am going to admit something: I have sinned.
A while ago, I worked in the box office for a show called "Late Nite Catechism", which performed inside a church near the theatre district shaped like a brick coffee can, called "The Church of All Nations" (sadly, I believe the church no longer exists).
During our lunch breaks, we were allowed to eat in the small church library sometimes. It was there that I found the book "Growing up Straight: what every family should know about homosexuality" by George Alan Rekers.
I picked it up and read a few random paragraphs and immediately put it in my bag.
Yes, I stole a book.
From a church.
And yet, I would defend this action now and onward. I didn't want anyone to read it, especially a depressed, confused gay teenager trying to cope with coming out.
Because this book was truly one of the most disturbing, backward piles of crap I have ever read in my life. It claimed, among other crazy things, that homosexuality could be "cured".
You know, like the flu?
Oh, and that if you are gay you are "not normal" and a "sinner" and will probably lead a miserable life (if you do not die or get murdered from your disgusting, sinful lifestyle).
Albeit, this book was written in 1982, but here is was, in 1997, laying around for people to read - encouraged even - its passages perused by someone and underlined with a pencil, the way one might underline a really insightful sentence in "Pride and Prejudice".
And it LOOKED so clinical and believable and well-researched and fact-filled: ALL those important looking footnotes after each chapter (until you looked closely and realized that most of the footnotes referenced other works by Rekers) and the author was a clinical psychologist. He had a degree in psychology from SOMEWHERE, it seemed. Or, at least, a PH.D in something. He HAD to know what he was talking about, didn't he?
But the 61 year-old Rekers, who is also the co-founder, with Jim Dobson, of the truly deplorable "Family Research Council", was caught at a Miami airport recently, returning from a 10-day European vacation with a 20-year-old male escort he procured from rentboy.com
That's right. Rentboy.com.
I visited the door of their web-site (you needed to sign a web form stating you were above 18 years of age before entering. But I didn't need to. The shirtless, shackled stud on the web-page pretty much said it all for me.)
There is no mistaking, no accident in Rekers being at the web-site, as he claimed. The very excuse is laughable. So why did Rekers hire, essentially, a male prostitute?
The "rent boy" was there on the trip, apparently, to help the recuperating Rekers with his luggage (though the pictures show Rekers handling the luggage, not the rent boy).
This is all hilarious. Until I remember how miserable, how hurtful, how damaging Rekers has been to gay people and their families for a very long time. It would really take a courageous and patient team of researchers and detectives to figure out just how much damage and destruction Rekers and his disciples have wreaked on gay people and their families, decade after decade.
I found my copy of "Growing up Straight": I didn't destroy it, as I had planned. I kept it. There needs to be a record, a history of the things that were said about us. It would have felt great to destroy it. But it feels even better to throw this history back into the face of the hypocrite who wrote it.