Things are changing for LGBTI Christians. Isolated gay churches are now being joined by large evangelical churches that have become inclusive and embracing of LGBTI members. Gay and lesbian bishops are being consecrated. Evangelical theologians are turning to their academic peers and telling them to rethink their positions.
Outside the church, laws are changing. International media organisations from traditionally homophobic contexts – like Al Jazeera English – are promoting favourable views of LGBTI people to their viewers and legislated homophobia in other countries is being exposed.
Alongside the 20 countries that have embraced marriage equality, American states such as New Jersey and California have passed laws banning ex-gay therapies to minors. Australia has not yet passed either of these types of laws, however times have changed and hundreds of discriminatory clauses have been removed from local laws while anti-discrimination lobbyists have been pushing to make it harder for religious organisations to justify entrenched homophobia.
Take a look at some of the new developments taking shape around the world.
The curious case of dr Robert spitzer
Dr. Robert Spitzer led a movement of psychiatrists and psychologists that sought to have homosexuality removed from the DSM (the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders). The movement’s success in 1973 was a major achievement for LGBTI rights.
So it came as a shock when Dr Spitzer delivered a 2001 paper that supported the ex-gay idea and effectively supported the claims of hundreds of ex-gay organisations around the world. In 2012 however, Dr Spitzer admitted that the methodology behind the research was deeply flawed and prone to influence from interested parties such as ex-gay organisations. He retracted the paper, denounced it, and apologised to the LGBTI community. The website that was created to promote the study is still active (see here) despite the study having lost the support of Dr Spitzer and all peer-reviewed journals – including the bulk of conservative evangelical journals.