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The Gay Agenda

Claiming Space, Identity, and Justice

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Edited By Gerald Walton

The «gay agenda» is a rhetorical strategy deployed by the religious right and other social conservatives to magnify fear and hostility of queers. Queers are accused, among other things, of strategizing to recruit children into sexually deviant lifestyles; dismantling family and marriage as cornerstones of civilization; and forcing the entertainment industry and court systems to do their bidding. Queers certainly do have an agenda but it is not the one that the religious right claims it is. It is to assert their presence in the public space; claim and name their identities; and strategize for social justice in law, schools, and workplaces. The Gay Agenda: Claiming Space, Identity, and Justice claims and reclaims the language of «agenda» and turns the rhetoric of the religious right on its ear. The contributors provide insightful and sharp commentary on gay agendas for human rights, marriage and family, cultural influences, schooling and education, and politics and law.

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INTRODUCTION "TIME IS RUNNING OUT": Lessons I Have Learned as a Recovered Fundamentalist "Ex-Gay" Christian, by Gerald Walton 1

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INTRODUCTION "TIME IS RUNNING OUT": Lessons I Have Learned as a Recovered Fundamentalist "Ex-Gay" Christian Gerald Walton Run For Your Lives or the Homosexual Steamroller Will Crush You! It was 1989 when a full-page public notice appeared in the Van- couver Sun newspaper, announcing in capital letters one-and-a-half inches tall that "TIME IS RUNNING OUT." The Gay Games were scheduled to take place in Vancouver, British Columbia, the following year. The notice declared, also in capital letters, that, " ... BECAUSE THESE GAMES WILL BRING GOD'S JUDGMENT UPON US ALL IN THIS CITY, WE THEREFORE FORBID THEM IN THE NAME AND AUTHORITY OF JESUS CHRIST. WE BELIEVE THAT THEY SHALL NOT TAKE PLACE ... " The "WE" is specified only as "Christian leaders ... who love this city and its people." As many people did at the time, you might be wondering what these Christian leaders meant by "judgment." The notice included a sentence that spelled out their exact meaning: "History provides abundant evi- dence of cities and nations destroyed by internal moral decay," of which they considered homosexuality to be one form. Putting two and two together, the claim was that Vancouver, and even Canada, would be destroyed by God if the Gay Games were to take place. Despite the dire warning, the event was held in Vancouver in August 1990. More than two decades later, Vancouver remains a growing and thriving metropolis. As a member of a fundamentalist Christian church at the time, I heard plenty of worry expressed by fellow congregants in...

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