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Change is possible: Former ‘ex-gay’ activist Yvette Schneider ‘celebrates the worthiness and equality of all people’
By Jeremy Hooper, Special Projects Consultant | July 28, 2014
Yvette Cantu Schneider has one of the most robust pedigrees of anyone who has ever worked in the so-called “ex-gay” movement. From the late nineties right through to the second decade of the twenty-first century, Yvette managed to find herself laboring for and with just about every top anti-LGBT group and activist you’ve heard of. From her high-profile start at the Family Research Council to her work with California’s Proposition 8 campaign—with many stops, at many different groups and campaigns along the way—Yvette became one of that movement’s most visible faces and certainly one of the most known women in a line of “work” known mainly for its male spokespeople.
To this day, Yvette remains one of the key people who anti-gay voices like to cite in order to prove that “change” works. In a December 19, 2013, press release concerning the Duck Dynasty brouhaha, notorious anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera, who was a colleague of Yvette’s during their shared time at the Family Research Council, cited Schnieder as an example of a person who has “ovecome homosexuality through faith in Jesus Christ.” “Ex-gay” websites continue to list her as among their ranks and push her story as a source of inspiration. The American Family Association continues to sell a video, “It’s Not Gay,” in which Yvette appears as a talking head. They all still claim Yvette as being both an example and a worker bee for their side.
That all changes today. Yvette has reached out to GLAAD, exclusively, to share her story—one that will come as a shock to her former colleagues and allies.
In a nutshell, this lesbian stopped being a hypocrite. Convenient for her, given that homophobia is dying out and gay marriage is becoming more accepted in America.
She would have a lot more credibility if she had changed her tune 10 or 20 years ago. And what really gets me angry is seeing this from her:
“I had entered the Church and become a Christian for a sense of community, to belong to a family that would love and accept me unconditionally, the way Jesus did. I was told, along with everyone else, that I would be used by God to accomplish His purposes, that my life would have purpose and meaning. If I played by the rules.”
What an idiot she was! Why couldn’t she have joined the Unitarian Universalist Association? It has done exactly for decades what she was seeking, unconditional love, even for gays and lesbians. It provides a sense of community for many people, and she could even be a dedicated Christian in it.
Unitarian Universalists hold the Principles as strong values and moral teachings. As Rev. Barbara Wells ten Hove explains, “The Principles are not dogma or doctrine, but rather a guide for those of us who choose to join and participate in Unitarian Universalist religious communities.”
- 1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- 2nd Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- 3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- 4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- 5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- 6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- 7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
I will never understand why so many gays and lesbians who feel attached to Christianity insist on staying in religious institutions that hate their sexual orientation, rather than join one that does not. Even worse, they try to deny what they truly are, making fools of themselves when the truth eventually comes out.
Homosexuality is real, that is disputed by no one. And God may not be. If I were gay, I’d also be a non-theist, unable to buy the notion that a loving god would have made me something the Bible condemns.
Here’s another example:
‘Brainwashed’ Conversion Therapy Founder Speaks Out Amid Backlash After Coming Out as Gay
In the hours after McKrae Game came out as gay, he received support as well as a wave of backlash.
“I’ve had some hate-filled messages,” said Game during a Facebook Live broadcast after he took a run Wednesday. “And I get the hate and lashing out.”
Game, 51, founded one of the largest conversion therapy programs in the country and led the homophobic organization for 20 years, a movement he now calls harmful.
After the program, Hope for Wholeness, fired him in 2017 for his use of pornography, the married father began accepting that he was gay and sought the help of a “pro-gay” therapist, he said during other Facebook Live broadcasts on Tuesday and Wednesday. (Game and Hope for Wholeness did not immediately return PEOPLE’s requests for comment.)
Game, from Spartanburg, South Carolina, came out of the closet this summer after “I had the option of being outed or coming out myself,” he says.
The Post and Courier first reported the story Saturday.
RELATED: Gay Conversion Therapy Made Me Suicidal: The Powerful True Story Behind the Film Boy Erased
Game has responded to some of the hate-filled messages by reaching out and offering to talk and meet local people in person. He said he plans to get coffee with a mother, with whom he counseled her daughter, and he ended up doing a video conference with “one young lady who was so angry.”
Game did a Facebook live Wednesday with local LGBTQ activist Kim Williams, who says on the stream that before talking and meeting with Game, she “came to eat him alive.”
“I had to meet this gentleman,” she says, “and now I understand he was just as abused and brainwashed as the people he wanted to save. He was suffering.”
Game said he is a member of two gay Facebook groups, and “one is just lashing out at me and being hateful.”
“There are people very angry at me for coming out,” he says, later adding: “I am sorry if you have that much hate you want me dead. I don’t have room for hate in my heart… I am not going to stay silent and not use my voice.”
Now working as a landscaper during warmer months, and preparing to work as a ski patroller in the winter, Game says he plans to donate any money he may earn as a speaker or if he obtains a book deal to the LGBTQ community.
To those turning to conversion therapy or a ministry “that is trying to tell someone that what comes natural to them is wrong and harmful,” he told The Blast Wednesday, “it is harmful to that person’s psyche, their sense of peace, sense of well being.”
“I would encourage them to reconsider that,” he says. “They need to reach out to someone not pushing them in that direction.”