Journey, Interrupted: Part 1

Trigger warning: This post discusses parts of the movie that talk about childhood sexual abuse.

Trigger warning: self injury is briefly discussed. Very briefly, not very detailed. But it still exists, so, take note.

I’m not sure if these next things need a trigger warning or not, but another quick content note: Gender dysphoria correlating with homosexuality, childhood sexual abuse correlating with homosexuality…. in fact, this post just has a lot of “fun” things in general. Sadly, that’s kind of the point of this anti-gay movie.

 

Ok, now that you have decided whether or not to proceed, let’s begin.

 

This is quite long, so I’m breaking it up into parts.

So, the people from the movie, Coming Out Ministries, were actually here. I have prosopognosia, a big fancy word for “I can’t remember faces dammit.” So you’ll have to forgive me if I am a bit confused as to who is saying what. When writing about what they say in the movie I refer to them as “redshirt,” “baldy” “Navyshirt” and the 2 women were easier to keep straight because one was blond and the other was brunette, so I used their real names.

You’ll have to forgive me if I can’t quite match up “redshirt” with his real life self for the Q and A session afterwards.

Anna was not there in person. She is credited as being “a friend of Coming Out Ministries.” She hasn’t quite converted to the religion but it seems like she’s going to any day now.

In any case, Guy #1 in real life (Wayne?) got up and spoke to the church for a bit. He said:

I always say this: If you are gay you are welcome. If you are straight, you are welcome. If you are a child molester, you are welcome here. Everyone is welcome at the foot of the cross.

As the loud amens chorused, I desperately hoped that the child molesters were not welcome here. Did they want their children to get molested?

Coming out Ministries (COM) formed 5 years ago. We wanted to share what god had revealed to us.

Take advantage of the cards you’ve been given to ask any question that comes to mind for the Q and A afterwards.

As the lights dimmed, words appeared on the screen:

This film is dedicated to every gay person who has sought biblical guidance but was met with distancing, alien, and/or rejection.

Sarah G, this movie’s for you.*

I would like to begin with an apology. This was a public screening, and as such I couldn’t pause it and go back. I was typing at speed, and even though I kept up fairly well, I know I didn’t catch everything. So please try and keep that in mind as we go along. I might not have copied down what they said exactly. So if something looks weird, it may be because I missed a few words as I typed.  If something is in quotes, though, it is exactly as stated.

The movie begins with another message:

All are welcome at the foot of the cross.

Ok, I get it. Move on.

Speaker: when I was growing up, no one really talked about being gay, except as a slur. I knew something was different about me, something wasn’t right. The other kids in the neighborhood knew it too, and would call me slurs like “homo” “faggot” and “sissy.” But I couldn’t help what he was attracted to.

I got called “homo” and “faggot” a lot as well, and I wasn’t even gay. I mean, maybe he’s right and the other kids at school did know before he did, but I mean, sometimes these slurs are just hurled at people.

Danielle: there’s so much confusion even in Christianity about homosexuality because for so long no one wanted to address this topic.

When I was growing up in the 90s, this was not talked about at all. It was beginning to be addressed in the 2000s, but people were just beginning to realize they needed to. I guess by the mid 10s it’s been talked about quite frequently in SDA circles.

Man1: in telling my story I don’t want people to think it’s a sad story. There were many good experiences in my life. But there were things that happened in early childhood that really derailed me. When I was born my dad had great plans for me. I was the only son of 4 children. My dad was so happy to have a boy.

Other man: my relatives were around my mom while she was pregnant with me and asked if the baby was a boy or girl. She said she was having a girl. There was no other alternative, she was just gonna have a baby girl, and so, may 6 of a certain year (laughs) I was born…. a baby boy.

Danielle: when I was born I came into a challenged family situation. My sister and brother were already 6 and 8 my parents struggling in their marriage. I Wasn’t planned.

Anna: as a little girl after mom introduced me to Jesus I was certainly stoked about it. I memorized the bible and could quote off bible verses to you when I was like 6.

Anna has gauges and a post in her cartilage. Her ear gauges (do you call them gauges?) are bright green and really pretty. I keep getting distracted by them. In my notes till I figured out her name she was seriously “green earrings.”

My mom was excited about me, sure that I was going to be a missionary.

Other man: my dad had every intention of doing all these macho things with me, like playing football. But Everything dad liked, I hated. I liked playing with dolls.  I had 3 sisters, and dad was gone most of the time because he was in the navy. So most of the time I played dressup with my sisters…. I began gender dysphoria at an early age.

He does know that being a homosexual and having gender dysphoria are completely separate things, right? Because the way these men talk, I’m honestly not sure they all know that. They kind of treat them as synonymous with each other.

Also, playing dressup with your sisters won’t cause gender dysphoria. I’m sure lots of little boys wore dresses when they were 4. I think society needs to normalize boys wearing dresses but that is beside the point.

Older man:  I was 3 years old running around saying “I don’t want to be a boy I want to be a girl.”

Did he want to be a girl because that’s what his mother wanted and so he saw being a girl as more desirable, or did he want to be a girl because he actually was a girl in a boy’s body? These also are two totally separate things.

People didn’t talk about same sex attraction then.

When was this, the 1950s? How old are you, again? I don’t actually care, I just want to know where in the timeline you were when you had these experiences.

Wayne: I knew I’d be caught and punished if I played with my sisters barbies. I knew something wasn’t right but I couldn’t help what I was attracted to.

I’m pretty sure he didn’t actually say he was attracted to barbies…  I think this is one of those times where I’m getting confused by my own notes. Either way, he seems to correlate “being gay” with “I played with dolls as a child.” Can we please let these particular correlations die already? They mean nothing and only serve to stigmatize young boys who aren’t “manly enough.”

I Thought that if I was a girl I could do it better than my sisters.

I don’t know what “it” is, exactly. I don’t recall him ever clarifying. But this is a pretty exact quote.

Navyshirt: I was teased when I went to school. Even my bible teacher would encourage and laugh along with the guys who were teasing and harassing me, one of the most unlikely places that I would think that this would come from.

Most realistic part of the entire movie. Except for it being unlikely, because bible teachers are absolutely not immune to teasing students. Ask me how I know.

I would go home and go into our bathroom and lock the doors and look in the mirror and punch myself in the face and scream at god and say why god why! Why did you create a boy when I was supposed to be a girl?

A lot of people who are teased or harassed turn to self injury as a coping mechanism. I’ve read that the rate is also high among those who are transgender or otherwise experiencing gender dysphoria. Not sure what that has to do with being gay, however.

Redshirtguy: I was only 4 years old, one of 6 children. We lived out in the country. My parents had moved there because they thought it was a safe place to raise children. Dad was a dairy farmer, and we lived on a large farm. It was there, at the age of 4, when I was sexually molested by one of the farmhands and it really confused me

This is the part of the film where I started feeling super bad for all the characters. Childhood sexual abuse is extremely traumatic and confusing. But it can’t make a person gay.

Anna: we had a rough relationship with the extended family. My older cousin started molesting me and I couldn’t tell anybody. This is from age 7-13 and it was every time I saw him, which was multiple times a year. I thought I would get in trouble if he told anyone because he told me that if I told anyone, I’d break the family up

These characters really do have my deepest sympathies, at this point.

However, the correlation between childhood sex abuse and being gay also needs to die. So, while I do sympathize with these characters who went through this trauma, I wish they wouldn’t have brought it up, because childhood sex abuse does not cause one to be gay.

Danielle: This other girl my age, age 7, introduced me to sexual experience. This became an addiction for me very quickly. I told an older kid in the neighborhood one day. He told my sister, who told my mom. Instead of my mom using it as an occasion to sit down and talk to me about sexual purity, my mom and sister used it as a way to poke fun at me. So I figured I couldn’t talk to anyone about this.

Huh. I have to admit, as a parent I wouldn’t know what to do if my 7 year old daughter came to me and said that she and another 7 year old had been experimenting with sex. I almost want to say that I’d call child protective services, because if another 7 year old knows enough about sex to actually do it, there’s probably something going on there. I don’t know, what does everyone else think? Answers? Ideas? Dialog with me? All 5 of you want to chime in?

Man: my dad was scary. He would be loud and his discipline was abusive, he was always angry….dad was in the navy so he either wasn’t there for me or when he was he was abusive and I wanted nothing to do with that. If that was my gender, no thank you.

I have met a lot of people with issues with their same sex parent. And most of these people, if not all, still see themselves as their AAB (assigned at birth) gender. I do not think this could have caused whatshisname’s gender identity disorder. In fact, I’m sure it didn’t.

Man: every child wants to know they were planned for and wanted. My mother was angry that I wasn’t a girl, and she didn’t really want me.

I mean, just because a child isn’t planned for doesn’t mean they’re not wanted.

Redshirt: from the time I was molested, my mind was confused. I had “wild imaginations.” My thoughts were out of control. My fantasies were toward the same type of person (a man) that had molested me. Because that was my introduction to sex, I didn’t know anything else.

He doesn’t say what he means by “wild imaginations.” I can only guess.

I could absolutely believe that being molested as a child confused him. Childhood sexual abuse is very confusing, and that’s putting it mildly. I know it doesn’t cause people to be gay, but I could see where someone who didn’t know better would think it might. Redshirt is pretty old, so this would have happened in an era where neither childhood sexual abuse nor homosexuality were well understood by the general public.

That doesn’t excuse him from still thinking this way, however. At this point in time, Redshirt really should know better.

Anna: As a small child my parents had been very good at telling us what was right and what was wrong. So from a young age, my parents told me: “if anyone ever touches you, you tell us.” When it started happening I was too young to know what was going on. As I got older, I felt guilty that I hadn’t told anyone when it first happened, like that made it my fault. So even after telling someone, there wasn’t closure. There was no understanding and offers of help. My parents just believed that they had failed as parents.

These stories were the parts where I wanted to burst into tears. The thing these people endured are horrific, and I have the utmost sympathy for them. However, part of the problem is their religion. Religion teaches that sex outside of marriage makes one dirty, and that attitude makes it very difficult for abuse victims to come forward.

Redshirt: I knew as a child that it was wrong, but as a victim I did not want to reveal what had happened. I felt dirty, like I had been tainted. I felt very different from that day forward.

 

Baldy: no one ever molested or beat me, but there were many areas of neglect. I was about 13 and I tripped fell and broke my arm. I was lying on the sofa when my mom came back home, and she said, “your arm’s not broken.” And she went out on Friday afternoon and she did not come back till Sunday morning. And Sunday morning I was still lying on the sofa.

Medical neglect is child abuse.

I mean, I suppose it depends on how bad the break was. If it was a very small fracture, sometimes parents can miss that sort of thing. But if it was obvious that the child needed medical attention and the parent didn’t give it, then yeah, we call that child abuse.

Navyshirt: I began to read my bible as a kid and read the descriptions of homosexuality. I found out that being gay wasn’t according to god’s plan and thought “wow, how can it be? I didn’t ask to be like this.”

 

Other voice: my one room mate and I would wrestle, and one night this wrestling turned sexual. I have no idea how it happened or how it got that far. When it was over, there was all this guilt and condemnation and shock that I now was the reality of what all those boys had said for all those years: “a sissy,” “faggot,” “homo,” “gay.”

This is where a little education could have come in handy. Just because someone experiments sexually with someone of their own gender, it doesn’t make them gay. I think we absolutely can differentiate between actions and orientations. Just because a gay man has sex with a straight woman, it’s not going to make him straight. So I believe that this man, as a teenager, would have benefited from a lot of the educational resources we have today.

I think I’m going to stop here for now. Partly because I have a test to go study for and partly because there’s only so much of this nonsense I can take all at once. We will resume the movie… eventually.

 

 

*(Well, this review is, actually. I’m dedicating my review to you because you put up with me as I went through this and because you’ve been through a lot of shit and you’re awesome.)

 

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