As a Gay Child in a Christian Cult, I Was Taught to Hate Myself. Then I Joined the Church of Social Justice—and Nothing Changed

Originally published at: As a Gay Child in a Christian Cult, I Was Taught to Hate Myself. Then I Joined the Church of Social Justice—and Nothing Changed – Quillette

I grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland, in a fundamentalist Christian community called The Lamb of God. What began in the mid-1970s as a small group of born-again hippies who played music, prayed together, and proselytized to whoever would listen about Jesus’s unconditional love and mercy, descended into authoritarianism in the 1980s after…


A lovely article. Full of poignant moments and human frailties. This is what the intersectional pyramid overlooks in its imposition of the postmodern lens- one doesn’t need to be a member of an arbitrary group in order to feel empathy for its members. It also hamstrings young writers out of the gate, because the hallmark of a good writer is to establish empathy between the writer and the reader, and even if one is not writing in the first person, it is still an act of surrogacy.

I particularly enjoyed your occasional interjection of humour. It lightened the piece and allowed for the natural shading of contrasts. The irony of the postmodern approach to writing is that it produces the type of writing no one wants to read. Of course, there is a market for it- for the cool and hip it’s the essential coffee table adornment- but people only bother to read it for the purposes of social media engagement and the artless act of self-promotion.

Have you thought about taking elements of your story and fictionalising it into a screenplay? You could make your character an individual floundering under the new ideology and your protagonist a working-class Black women made good, whose no nonsense style acts as a form of kryptonite to the children of wealthy white people. With the right collaboration, I think there is a real hole in the market for this type of Black saviour movie- most would secretly like to see the supposedly morally superior woke soundly trounced.

You should look up reaction videos to some of Tom McDonald’s more political stuff. At the same time it appears that a lot of Black people are taking real issue with their kids being taught they are victims in school, although it seems that YouTube may be taking active steps to supress such content.

I think there may be a huge market for a screenplay along these lines, although it might be difficult to obtain funding for such a project, so it would likely have to be an Indie movie.


This was a very long and exceptionally boring display of pure narcissism.


Agreed - yet how many people ever preface a statement with - “Speaking as a …… ……” unless they believe that belonging to that specific arbitrary group confers on them special insight, or a ‘right’ to speak, that is denied to those outside the group?

Identity politics means I can’t “really” understand you, I can’t really empathise with you, I’m not allowed to because I am not a woman, or I am not black, I am not gay, I am not a Muslim. If I think I do understand you, or if I volunteer an opinion, then I’m mansplaining, I’m arrogantly assuming that my opinion is valid even though I don’t have the ‘lived experience’ of suffering abuse by belonging to the right victim group.

That “intersectional pyramid” is a hierarchy of victim status. In fact the entire concept of identity politics – which purports to be about inclusivity and equality – is in reality divisive and intolerant. It silos people and silences people. Identity Politics tells us what groups we belong to and that our whole identity is defined by that group and dependent on that group, this drives a wedge between people who would previously have felt kinship with one another. If you don’t belong to the right victim group then you cannot empathise - you lack the approved lived experience. It is hard to retain solidarity with your community when parts of that community are being taught that it is ‘right’ to mistrust the motives of another.

Such are the grisly politics of grievance. God help the young. I consider myself supremely fortunate to have grown up before Id Politics, “Social justice” activism and Social Media.


Bravo Ben a very insighful piece. Whilst many of us have an idea of the social justice culture in educational instiutions these days your in depth account really brought home its toxicity & the potential psychological damage it can bring especially to those who are already vulnerable. Given all your struggles it certainly was the last thing you needed. Thank you for your courageous contribution to its resistance.


That was a a really great comment Geary.

And the inconsistant thing is as exemplified by trans women wanting to compete with women in sports is the insistance that categories are unnecessary. We are either the same or not which is it?


Back when everything was #equality and just before the Supreme Court made homosexual marriage legal in the US, I had an argument with a friend where I asked:

“What are the consequences of adding homosexual marriage to the acceptable structured system?”
She responded with surprise that “nothing bad could happen”
To which I replied “When it is acceptable, and you can’t crusade for it anymore, will they fall into the same category of structures to tear down as heterosexual marriage?”

Apparently the answer is a clear yes! Less than a year after homosexual marriage was legalized, gay friends of mine openly lamented how they fell from their super hero status to becoming part of the condemned ‘normative’ crowd. They weren’t celebrated for being gay, they were blasted for not wanting to have sex or date heterobodied trans.

Their value as friends in the context of ‘I have a gay friend’ became passé. It was now so much cooler to crusade and say 'I have a trans friend!’

Congratulations, they have marriage equality and equality in condemnation. Welcome to the world of privilege.


It’s becoming increasingly clear that the impact of gay marriage has been to normalize gay persons.

And this is in fact NOT good. Reducing the bar to “admitting that you are gay” means that more people’s lives will be ruined. Because, for most, homosexual lifestyles are a disaster. The “relationships” are for most effermeral. There’s really a simple reason.

Marriage is a state designed to produce children. No children, no long term relationship. In childless marriages, there are “child substitutes” like small dogs or cats. In homosexual relationships, there is not much stability, no permanence, no long-term situation.

Of course, everyone knows a long-term homosexual marriage. The issue is not the exceptions. The issue is the majority


One of the key aspects of the “speaking as a …” is that NO ONE can speak for themselves as a Wokie. If you are Woke, individual intellect, individual thought, individual consideration has really no meaning. Your ONLY importance is as a member of a group that you are a part of.

It is a collectivist mentality.


Certainly, you are painting with too broad a brush. I really do know too many same sex couples who have formed very stable marriages and who are indistinguishable from heterosexual couples except that the couple are of the same sex.

The trans crew that the Gay Alliance adopted, for reasons known only to God, are a horse of a different color; as the essay clearly shows. They seem to believe they are in some way transformed (reborn) and have become all genders and sexes and at the same time of no particular gender or sex at all. They are the end result of a radically antinomian culture. They purport to be everything and nothing.

The essay does show that they are children staring into the void of their own future and their own souls. That does seem to be the inevitable result of the radical antinomianism that infects the culture of the West. We cannot save them or even speak to them because they are of a different culture altogether. We don’t even share a common vocabulary anymore.


Yes, and it carries the idea that in order to be transformative – as this antinomianism requires – you’ve got to be weird, the weirder the better. Thee auin;t no room for no cis-.

Not weird enough any more! Can’t slow down for a moment to celebrate an accomplishment, when there is so much more of society which needs to be turned upside down.

And those of us who believe that we are sane are left to wonder, what is the purpose of this onslaught? Why are they so deliberately heading for a bottomless abyss?


Extra ecclesia nulla salus.

A fine confessional piece, rough-edged in places, but that’s OK, given the message and intent.

Deeply ironic what has happened to gay men, especially, after being “normalized.” The whole point of this “movement” was and is to “denormalize” everything, not to gain acceptance and equality for those who are different.

And gay couples do have children.


This is a heartfelt narrative of the writer’s life and I appreciate that he shared with us.

I only started paying much attention to the so-called culture wars a couple of years ago. It seems that a full time career, raising children, and helping aging parents took almost all of my time, leaving little energy for such (what seemed to me) trivial nonsense.

Now that I’ve been paying attention and reading widely on these topics (thank you Quilette) I’m still feeling somewhat shell shocked at what’s happened to my political left: An ideological space as big as the Grand Canyon has opened up between this modern, social justice (woke, I don’t know what to call it) left and the left I came up with. I just don’t recognize these SJW activists and academics as leftists at all. I don’t know what they are. I’m stunned by the level of intolerance and bigotry at play in today’s woke academics, activists, and journalists.

Before I veer off into “get off my lawn” territory, thanks again to the writer.


I believe the term is “purity spiral” or “moral panic”. Throughout history, these occur on a periodic basis: French revolution, Russian revolution, Iranian revolution, English civil war, Cambodia, China. On and on and on. The Social wars in Rome in BCE 87. On and on and on.

So how do we get out of this? WE MUST STAND UP AND OPPOSE THIS SHIT!!! !!!

On the face, it’s hard to imagine why so many people seem to fall in so easily to this Wokeist nonsense, not just as to gender, but as to race and so many other things. But this writer has dared to lay out all the bullying, and the demands for conformity, all the hypocrisies of the academic scene. He has actually given a little bit of hope, suggesting that there are classmates and faculty members who can whisper to each other that they recognize that this is all absurd, though no single one of them, as an individual, is ready to stand up against it. That’s how bullies work.

It still leaves the question, “So who is leading this? Who is expounding these theories, and for the benefit of whom?” As @walkerjones says, it’s not the Left he knows. It’s not a traditional ‘Left’ which is advocating class interests of ‘ordinary’ working people. It is a destructive cabal with a tangled dogma. But why?


The key notion is the “tyranny of the small minority”. If one or two Woke bullies make an example of a person, it’s very difficult to stand against them. Unless people are VERY emphatic about standing against Woke bullies.

This happened to me. I got into a FB discussion with two Woke bitch losers, both of whom used to go to our church. They accused me of mansplaining, sexism, racism. They brought me to the Safe Congregations Committee. They wanted an apology. I refused to apologize, and stated that we needed to have a conversation. They refused to talk. I had made copies of all FB dialogues, and so I was ready. Well, it went on for about 3 months, and finallhy they both left the church. They were stupid Woke assholes who everyone hated but did not know how to deal with.



Hoo boy - great article, flipping back and forth between tragedy and comedy.

My favorite line:

“I think the most disturbing part of the whole experience was hearing “y’all” and “folks”—parlance that seems to be common to all of these new puritans—uttered in a thick German accent.”

When I was growing up there were bullies, but there were effective counters - someone bigger or tougher who’d stand up and say, “You want to try that on me?” Bullies thrive when no one stands up to them.

There are two very important words in the English language: “Fuck you.” We all need to give ourselves and our kids permission to use those words when confronted by the Woke. And kids should be taught from a very young age that, as my dad used to say, “there is huge strength in not caring what other people think.”


I’ll have to admit, that grown men describing their experiences in such a emotional and vulnerable way makes me very uncomfortable. This speaks to the lack of my personal evolution I guess, I took the DNA test, I have verified that I really am part Neanderthal. This authors brutal honesty points out how often I overlook the real emotional struggle that individuals have with validation of their identity, most times I don’t even consider it when I contemplate these issues.

I grew up in a similar situation as the author, raised in a very fundamentalist Christian Church, and there is certainly no room for living or believing in a way that is contrary to orthodoxy. Great social pressure is applied to make sure that conformity is enforced. When all your friends, family, and entire life is engrafted into this orthodoxy, if you cut down that ideological tree, your identity dies with it. Maybe I should consider this before I take a chainsaw to someone’s “Woke” ideology.

When someone’s identity and ideology is the same, how do attack one without hurting the other? This will be the great challenge going forward, and I’m glad the author so eloquently brought this to my attention.