Published in: November-December 2014 issue.


Keep the Well in Greenwell  There was once a country singer named Josey Greenwell who had a following and was openly gay (as reported by But then he sort of dropped out of sight for a while—it happens—and after six or eight months his fans noticed that even his Facebook page and Wikipedia presence had evaporated. Meanwhile, there’s a new country singer on the block named Nate Green, nate and joseywho’s totally heterosexual and… it didn’t take long for someone to notice that Josey Greenwell and Nate Green are one and the same. In fact, Nate did surprisingly little to alter his appearance, but now that the jig is up, he’s threatening to sue anyone who asserts that he’s gay, and he’s aggressively banning gay men from interacting with him on social media. What makes this presto-chango odder still is that Greenwell had come out very publicly and proudly just a few years ago, and the Internet is rife with photos of the handsome hunk cavorting with his boyfriend (Brazilian model Rodiney Santiago) in his underwear for DNA magazine. Green/well’s total denial of his former self leads one to wonder if he knows what century he’s living in. Dude, we know what you look like, and those photos aren’t going anywhere!

Prophesy Fulfilled  Antonin Scalia is often cited by circuit judges when they’re striking down state bans on same-sex marriage—a huge irony in that Scalia is a staunch opponent of marriage equality. It was in his dissenting opinion to 2003’s Law- rence v. Texas case, which struck down all anti-sodomy laws, that Scalia couldn’t resist issuing a dire warning that the floodgates were now open for all manner of pro-gay decisions. Acknowledging that the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause must apply to gays, Scalia argued in Lawrence that the only thing separating gay people from full equality was society’s moral disapproval. This is the argument that preserved anti-sodomy laws in Bowers v. Hardwick in 1986, and the very one that the majority rejected in 2003. Wrote Scalia in Law-rence: “State laws against same-sex marriage … are likewise sustainable only in light of Bowers’ validation of laws based on moral choices.” This is the passage that has repeatedly been cited by judges ruling against gay marriage bans—most recently by a U.S. District Court in Florida. In this respect, Scalia has all the trappings of a biblical prophet, not only predicting doom but enumerating the exact sins for which the Hebrew people are about to be punished. One always wonders, maybe if these guys had just kept quiet, God might not have noticed. Too late now!

Demonic Circle  The “ex-gay” movement has collapsed as a therapeutic concept, but that hasn’t stopped a rump faction of NARC and Exodus International from lingering at the trough, as there’s still funding to be had. Virtually all of the leading evangelists of “reparative therapy” have repudiated its efficacy, admitting that no one was ever “cured” of being gay, much less transformed into a practicing heterosexual. And now the American Association of Christian Counselors has quietly revised its Code of Ethics to advocate not reparative therapy but simple abstinence for gays. So the ex-gay groups are re-organizing with slightly modified names, claiming not that they can make you heterosexual, but merely celibate. Um… isn’t that what Christian churches of all stripes have been preaching about illicit sex—whether premarital, adulterous, or homosexual—from pretty much the dawn of Christianity itself? So we’re right back where we started from before all this “ex-gay” nonsense began. Still, this movement probably did more than anything to demonstrate that sexual orientation is pretty damn stable, if not immutable. Those of us who had lingering doubts, who held fast to some Freudian notion of universal bisexuality, have to be impressed by the stubborn resistance of sexual orientation to change, however strenuous the effort.

Putting the X in Ex-Gay  We can’t report on every run-of-the-mill sex scandal involving a fundamentalist preacher or anti-gay politician, but every so often one comes along that seems to harbor a deeper meaning. Take the case of Steven Barnes, a former teacher at the Bethel Baptist School in Wills, Mississippi, who stands accused of raping a student once a week for three years starting when the kid was fourteen. Jeff White is suing the teacher, and his accounts of what happened are pretty specific. One thing he remembers vividly about the weekly ordeal is Barnes’ insistence that the rapes were an “ex-gay” technique designed to cure the boy of his homosexuality by causing him “to hate men.” And perhaps Barnes truly believed this line: his explanation is consistent with other reports that there’s something suspiciously homoerotic about ex-gay therapy itself, whose practitioners are mostly gay men claiming to have been “cured” of homosexuality. Or not.

File under Poetic Justice  Pundit and lobbyist Jonathan Saenz had always been stridently anti-gay as president of the group Texas Values, whose mission it is to fight gay rights and promote traditional marriage (reported by Thus it was a major blow to his creds when his wife Corinne walked out on him in 2011 and filed for divorce. But the fact that she left him for a woman was another kind of humiliation. Saenz’ all-too-human response was to seek revenge against his ex-wife: he tried to have her jailed for failing to undergo a psychological evaluation, attempted to bar her partner from being near their three children, and filed a counterpetition for divorce accusing Corinne of adultery. But he also shifted his anti-gay crusade into overdrive, forming an extremist group called Liberty Legal Institute that seeks to re-establish anti-sodomy laws and to fund “ex-gay therapy” in Texas. In interviews, he always recites the mantra that all gays are pedophiles who prey on children, and he claims that gay activists want to put Christians into concentration camps. It’s as if Ahab had determined to destroy not just Moby-Dick but all of whaledom.