By Wayne Besen (Original Report, Aug. 4, 2011)
In summer 2011, Truth Wins Out infiltrated Bachmann & Associates to see if the clinic’s therapists practiced “ex-gay” (aka reparative) therapy. We launched this operation after presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s husband, Marcus, claimed that his business did not take part in the discredited practice of converting homosexuals into heterosexuals. TWO’s investigation discovered incontrovertible evidence that “ex-gay” therapy did, in fact, occur at Bachmann & Associates.
Included in our trove of evidence was a notorious book by Janet Boynes, Called Out: A Former Lesbians Discovery of Freedom, stacked high and sold at the clinic. Prominently displayed above the pile of books was a personal endorsement from Marcus Bachmann:
“Janet is a friend. I recommend this book as she speaks to the heart of the matter and gives practical insights of truth to set people free. – Marcus Bachmann, PhD”
Boynes reciprocated the love in the “Acknowledgments” section of her book:
“Marcus and Michele, when we met, our friendship was instant, and you never left my side when things got tough. To watch your walk with God gives me strength, courage, and hope.”
In 2005, Marcus Bachmann gave a presentation, “The Truth About the Homosexual Agenda,” at the “Minnesota Pastors’ Summit.” The City Pages reported that Boynes was one of three “ex-gay” activists Bachmann trotted up on-stage during his PowerPoint.
While at the pulpit, Boynes said, “If I was born gay, then I’ll have to be born again.” An eyewitness said, “The crowd went crazy,” when she delivered her signature line.
Given her close ties to the Bachmann family, many people are clamoring to know: Who is Janet Boynes?
The quick answer is that she is the Religious Right’s “ex-gay” du jour, embraced by leaders of Southern Poverty Law Center-certified hate groups such as Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, and Peter LaBarbera, founder of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality. Anti-gay activists from Bishop Harry Jackson to Gary Bauer tout her alleged conversion as proof that sexual orientation can be changed. In her book, Boynes claims that she met George W. Bush at a fundraiser in 2006 and that the president “told me I was a beautiful person.” (p. 67)
Boynes is also the Exodus International contact person for Living Word Christian Center, located in Brooklyn Park, MN. For the unacquainted, Exodus in the largest “ex-gay” organization in the world and is dedicated to, “Freedom from Homosexuality through Jesus Christ.”
The Religious Right’s “ex-gay” flavor of the moment (many others have either come out or been scandalized) is also the founder of Janet Boynes Ministries, which runs a prayer line and support group. It appears that Boynes is also the driving force behind the National Ex-Gay Educators’ Caucus, a politicized anti-gay front group that hosts a booth each year at the National Education Association’s annual meeting. The goal of this campaign is to promote the notion that “people deserve to hear all the facts so they can make their own decisions [on sexual conversion]” and to let students know that “for those who truly want change, change is possible.”
Recently, Boynes has become a media darling – she graced the cover of Charisma magazine in June and her tale of conversion was featured in a much-maligned Lisa Ling special on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) in March. The entrepreneurial Boynes was also interviewed on HLN’s Dr. Drew Show in April. Rev. Pat Robertson’s 700 Club aired a segment in which they called her alleged transformation “an amazing story.”
Given her level of celebrity and access to powerful political connections, one would think that Boynes might be an impressive individual of great accomplishment.
Instead, what Boynes represents is the desperation of the Religious Right to find anyone willing to claim that they have successfully gone from gay to straight. This often leaves the Right with little choice but to scrape the bottom of life’s barrel and prop up anyone agreeable to parroting its party line. These useful charlatans are inevitably professional “ex-gay” activists who often have products to peddle and appear to be motivated by media fame and relative fortune.
For example, prior to her magical “transformation,” Boynes was a strung-out, drug-dealing housekeeper who lived an existence of dishonesty, dysfunction, and disaster. She snorted and stole and swindled and skirmished and engaged in skullduggery virtually her entire adult life. Well into her 30’s, Boynes lived so irresponsibly that she “avoided paying bills all throughout my drug dealing days” and “had no idea how to even balance a checkbook.” (p. 37)
[One hopes that now that she is a born-again Christian, she will pay back all the people she had previously stiffed.]
Somehow, this reprobate’s résumé was good enough for the Religious Right to almost instantly propel her into the spotlight. In a nation of 300 million people, could anti-gay activists not do better? Could they not find at least one credible so-called “ex-gay” activist who comes from a more respectable background and had achieved at least some measure of success or prestige prior to “conversion?”
It appears not, so what we are left with is the elevation of Janet Boynes, who has willingly become a useful tool for anti-gay activists efforts to promote discrimination and persecution.
It is not Boynes’ sordid past, however, that disqualifies her as a plausible spokesperson. It is her current penchant for distorting the lives of LGBT people, misrepresenting the facts, blatant self-promotion, and inability to demonstrate even a modicum of success in her job as a sexual engineer – which undermines her credibility and believability.
One does not even have to crack the cover of Boynes’ book to find misinformation. From the get-go Boynes falsely identifies herself as a lesbian, when she is very clearly bisexual. One does not have to be a sexologist at the Kinsey Institute to understand that the definition of a lesbian is a woman attracted to the same sex, while not attracted to the opposite sex. Meanwhile, a bisexual is attracted to both men and women. Clearly, Boynes fits the latter and flat-out says in her book, “I was not born homosexual. I made a decision.” (p.131)
In fact, Boynes’ attraction to the opposite sex appears to emerge during puberty prior to any signs of lesbianism. According to Boynes:
I was interested in boys, as most little girls are, but my masculine features and the fact that I beat them up kept most of the boys away from me. I had crushes on boys…I set my sights on boys at least two years younger than me and we snuck into the hallway to make out and smoke. (p. 6)
An unmistakable pattern of bisexuality is a constant throughout much of Boynes’ life. Based on her stated desire for men, it appears her hetero feelings denote a genuine sexual orientation rather than simply a lesbian engaged in situational heterosexual behavior. For example, on page 15 of Called Out, Boynes begins a relationship with a male dealer named Donald, “who provided me with all the attention and drugs that I wanted.”
After the collapse of this unseemly relationship, Boynes began attending Concordia Bible College, where her bisexuality was on full display: “…a girl named Lenna began to catch my eye. I still associated with guys and was attracted to them, but I could feel myself changing.” (p. 16)
Although she claims that she could feel her sexuality shifting, it did not stop Boynes from entering yet another heterosexual relationship with a man named Laurence.
Laurence and I hit it off well and we soon started dating. I still had thoughts about being with women, but I managed to control them and didn’t pursue anything….I fell in love with Laurence and wanted my family to meet him…Laurence proposed. I accepted and we began our engagement. (pp. 20-21)
[Laurence was eventually dumped for a woman Boynes was cheating with.]
In yet another relationship, this time with a woman named Haley, bisexuality is fully demonstrated. According to Boynes: “We found ourselves having discussions about our sexuality and about wanting to be with men. We both wanted to marry a man someday and have families with children, but our relationship with each other prevented either from happening.” (p. 49)
Boynes’ bisexual nature was reiterated when she wrote, “I knew that I didn’t want to be just a sexual object, so I decided that a heterosexual relationship wasn’t enough for me and I began seeking women. (p. 73)
Janet Boynes is a fraud when she subtitles her book, “a former lesbian’s discovery of freedom.” The truth is, the “ex-gay” minister has absolutely nothing to offer real lesbians in terms of developing their attraction. towards men. She has no clue how to cultivate such sexual feelings, because she had them all along. Of course, claiming bisexuality would not help Boynes market Called Out to actual lesbians, so she deceives potential readers with her book cover and often obscures this inconvenient fact when she appears in the media.
Boynes is equally disingenuous when she claims that, “Having said that homosexuality is a sin, I do not believe that it is a special sin. (p. 76)
That’s a fascinating observation from a woman who basically committed every “sin” imaginable (and probably invented a few), yet dedicated her book and career to gay bashing. Called Out’s subtitle does not mention that she was a former crack smoker, drug dealer, liar, manipulator, fornicator, street brawler, amoral hustler, unfaithful girlfriend abuser, and bill-stiffing cheat who “discovered freedom.”
No, the only so-called “sin” singled out for the book cover is lesbianism. If Boynes is troubled by the degrading treatment afforded LGBT people in fundamentalist churches, she can look no further than her own book and rhetoric, which clearly singles out sexual minorities for special attention and ridicule.
Insincerity percolates throughout Boynes’ entire book with her rants often incoherent and contradictory. The “ex-gay” guru claims, for instance, that she “does not believe there is a general acceptance of homosexuality in our culture.” (p. 176) However, when it suits her political agenda, she easily reverses course and claims that, “you think you are doing the best thing for yourself because that is what society says, that you were born that way and you just need to accept yourself.” (p. 184)
Boynes, an African American, forcefully makes the case that gay rights should be rejected because she believes homosexuality is not inborn, while race is. “The color of my skin is an immutable quality of my being while my lesbianism was a deliberate series of actions resulting in a lifestyle choice.” (p. 164) The activist goes on to say, “The difference between black skin and homosexuality is that black skin is a physical characteristic while homosexuality is a behavior.” (p. 165).
Of course, her impassioned argument comparing race and sexual orientation is little more than a sophistic sideshow. If scientists actually were to definitively prove that being LGBT was genetic or biological, it would mean little to Boynes.
Would the discovery of a gay gene legitimize the homosexual lifestyle? This question seems to be driving the research, but in my opinion, it doesn’t really matter. (p. 133)
So, why bother making a case that she really doesn’t believe in? It seems her real intent is to rile African Americans and mobilize them politically against LGBT equality.
I want to encourage every black person reading this book to make it known to your government officials, to your churches, and to society that trying to make homosexuality seem normal is not and never will be the same thing as our long and hard struggle for civil rights. (p. 167)
While Boynes is correct that the Civil Rights movement was a different and unique struggle, she flippantly dismisses the real injustices, indignities, tragedies, and suffering endured by LGBT people. Boynes admits lobbying in Washington, DC against a federal hate crimes bill (p. 166) and sinks to new depths when she falsely reduces the grisly anti-gay murder of Matthew Shepard to an “isolated incident” that was merely the result of a “robbery” gone awry.
Unfortunately, hate crimes are far from “isolated incidents” as the appallingly uninformed Boynes suggests. A 2010 Intelligence Report by the Southern Poverty Law Center puts the problem in perspective:
The reality is that homosexuals or perceived homosexuals are by far the group most targeted in America for violent hate crimes, according to an Intelligence Report analysis of 14 years of federal hate crime data. The bottom line: Gay people are more than twice as likely to be attacked in a violent hate crime as Jews or blacks; more than four times as likely as Muslims; and 14 times as likely as Latinos.
In an effort to inflame prejudice and increase class resentment, Boynes also pushed the meme that LGBT people are primarily white and wealthy:
Employment and educational opportunities, as well as standards of living, are much higher for homosexuals as they are for blacks. (p. 165)
Here are a few facts provided by The Movement Advancement Project that Boynes conveniently ignored:
Data from the National Survey of Family Growth shows that 24% of lesbians live in poverty, compared to 19% of heterosexual women; and 15% of gay men live in poverty, compared to 13% of heterosexual men. Transgender Americans are four times more likely than the general population to have household income of less than $10,000 per year, and 27% of transgender Americans live in poverty.
The median household income for the average same-sex couple with children is 23% less than that of a different-sex married couple with children.
Additionally, Boynes never informs her readers that many black people do not share her backward views on homosexuality. She could have mentioned many notable supporters of LGBT equality including: the late Coretta Scott King, President Barack Obama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), basketball icons Charles Barkley and Grant Hill, football legend Michael Irvin, Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA), former Gov. David Patterson (D-NY), and entertainers ranging from Oprah Winfrey to Whoopie Goldberg.
The bungling of facts and disjointed logic continues when Boynes brings HIV into the picture to warn against homosexuality:
Let’s look at the search for fulfillment that drives the homosexual from one sexual relationship to the next. Let’s look at the resulting dangers from such promiscuity. Let’s look at the way HIV and AIDS destroy so many precious lives. (p. 126)
If Boynes were truly concerned about not contracting HIV, she would still be having sex with women. According to the CDC, the rate of new HIV infection for African American women is nearly 15 times as high as that of white women and nearly 4 times that of Hispanic/Latina women. The majority of these infections occur through intimate heterosexual contact. She also makes no reference to the worldwide AIDS epidemic comprised mainly of heterosexual men and women. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, August 3, 2011)
The double-talk reaches a crescendo when Boynes says “God is not consumed with outer appearance, however, but looks first at the heart.” (p. 88) This statement is squarely at odds with the great emphasis she puts on her stereotypical makeover (or is it a “fakeover”?) from “butch lesbian” to superficial born-again Christian:
In the years since those early first steps of faith, I have gradually gained confidence as a woman. I know that I have made a fool of myself trying to learn how to walk in heels and there are definitely days when I feel more comfortable in a sweatshirt and blue jeans, but I have been learning little by little. I have grown my hair out and regularly get my nails done. (p. 67)
[blurry picture of Boynes pre-fakeover below]
I’m sure many Christian women will be surprised to learn that they may be on the road to lesbianism by wearing sweatshirts, blue jeans, and sneakers. But, fortunately, they will have Janet Boynes Ministries available to set them back on the right patriarchal path.
Not surprisingly, Boynes is rather creative when it comes to twisting the Bible. She goes to great lengths attempting to prove that Scripture condemns homosexuality, even though many biblical scholars disagree and Jesus never mentioned it.
“I will not mince words or make excuses. The Bible says that homosexual behavior is a sin….The Bible leaves no wiggle room on the issue of homosexuality.” (p. 75)
However, she wiggles like a worm and isn’t quite so strict when Scripture directly affects her livelihood as an “ex-gay” activist:
“Scripture teaches us very clearly that the leadership roles should be given to men,” says Boynes, who obviously has the leadership role in her eponymous ministry. “The Bible teaches in Ephesians 5 that the man should be the head of the household and that the woman should be in submission to him….Many have taken this passage to mean that women should be enslaved to the wills of their husbands, unable to do or say anything without his consent. This is simply not true and it is not what the Bible is saying….As the leader, he should make the decision in matters concerning family according to Godly principles, though this does not mean he can or should make final decisions without first discussing them with his wife.” (pp. 97-99)
Clearly, Boynes has little trouble brushing aside her fundamentalism and copiously consuming from the biblical buffet. She meticulously and conveniently cherry picks and selectively interprets verses that suit her needs, while maintaining a literalist pose when using the Bible to bash LGBT people.
While these contradictions and little white lies are troublesome, it is ultimately her “Big Lie” that is most disconcerting. The plaudits, praise, and unexplained swooning by social conservatives masks a hard, unsettling truth: despite the high-profile national media appearances, testimonials from Religious Right leaders, an affiliation with Exodus International, and a flashy website that promotes a splashy book, Janet Boynes Ministries has yet to produce even one verifiable “success story.” The activist blithely claims that there are “thousands of ex-gays,” but offers no proof other than her personal tale – which, coincidentally, one can learn about by purchasing her book. (p. 152)
The only client Janet Boynes has ever publicly introduced is a young man named Christian whom she brought on the Oprah Winfrey Network’s, Our America with Lisa Ling. Her poster boy was noticeably effeminate, so Boynes’ sage advice was to suggest that he join a gym and lift weights, which would supposedly butch him up. (Because, as we know, gay men don’t belong to gymnasiums.)
During the show, Ling reports: “He says he hasn’t been sexually active in over four years with men or women. The temptation is on every corner.”
Ling: “Do you really struggle with it? Because I know sometimes you call Janet late at night and…”
Christian: “I describe it as bleeding out of my eyeballs, like this sucks.”
Ling: “Do you still feel attracted to guys?”
Christian: “Yeah, totally, like sexually, yeah. Like, way more than girls.”
This is far from a ringing endorsement, yet Christian is the star pupil that Boynes proudly parades to represent her ministry’s glowing achievements. Seriously, if this is her poster boy, what hope is there for readers of Called Out?
If this is the best she can offer, why is she still in business taking people’s hard earned money, and why has the Religious Right – including the Bachmann family – embraced her as a model of success? Where are the “thousands” of former homosexuals she boasts of in her book?
The whole charade stinks and very well may constitute consumer fraud.
Speaking of which, the aforementioned “Ex-Gay Educators’ Caucus,” which is often fronted by Boynes, has all the hallmarks of a scam. Having personally visited the group’s booth in Orlando at the National Education Association’s annual conference, I saw not a single real educator. Instead, I saw Boynes and a batch of hardcore, anti-gay activists – including Greg Quinlan of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX). This so-called organization is no more than an Astroturf campaign — with virtually no grassroots support across America or in the NEA – designed to push “ex-gay” propaganda in schools.
Is there any aspect of Janet Boynes’ professional life that isn’t smoke and mirrors?
The single most remarkable part of Called Out is that it accomplishes the opposite of what Boynes sets out to prove. Her goal is to portray homosexuality as sick, sinful, undesirable, unfulfilling, and a path that will lead to destruction. Here is a typical excerpt from her book:
I know from experience that there is a very ugly side to the homosexual lifestyle. I was often lonely and empty. I tried to find fulfillment in smoking, drugs, and relationship after relationship. I did things that I never thought I would do and became someone I never thought I would become. I know that many of my gay and lesbian friends suffered through the same despair and loneliness and they also did things they never thought they would do. (p. 115)
Instead of making a lucid and convincing argument against homosexuality, however, Boynes singlehandedly proves that family rejection combined with severe spiritual abuse can destroy the mental health and wellbeing of otherwise healthy LGBT people.
In January 2009, the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics published a study by San Francisco State University’s Caitlin Ryan. The researcher found that LGBT teens that experienced negative feedback from their families were eight times as likely to have attempted suicide, six times as vulnerable to severe depression, and three times at risk of drug use.
It seems that Boynes is a textbook case of how LGBT people can become beaten down and messed up when they do not have adequate support during the coming out process. In her tome, there are numerous examples of negative reinforcement, a theme so critical and important to her story that the opening sentence is a demeaning quote from her mother: “Janet, I don’t want you growin’ up to be no lesbian. I don’t want you to end up like any of them other neighborhood girls.” (p. 1)
The alleged anti-gay browbeating, and sometimes actual beating, continued throughout Boynes’ formative years:
My mother and family constantly yelled at me about being too masculine. I was told to act more feminine because they didn’t want me to grow up to be a lesbian. (p. 104)
When I was a child, there were a few girls on our street who eventually became lesbians. I remember my mother warning me about them, but I still felt curious about what made them different. (p. 106)
I’m no psychologist, but based on the latest research, I believe that if Boynes would have been hugged, instead of hounded, by her family, she may have led a productive life that wasn’t undermined by guilt and shame.
Perhaps even more detrimental to Boynes’ psyche was her introduction to hardcore fundamentalism, which reinforced her negative self-image about her bisexuality. Boynes attended Concordia Bible College in Minnesota, but soon dropped out to enroll in a live-in program called Parkhouse. While there, she made a move on another woman, who rejected her advances and tattled to the house parents.
“After talking with the house parents for a while longer, I repented and they prayed with me,” wrote Boynes (p. 19)
This event must have been distressing for a young Boynes who had already been harshly condemned by her family. Given the tragic trajectory of her life, it appears as if she developed a self-loathing complex and never overcame the anguish caused by humiliating episodes such as this one.
Indeed, the real Janet Boynes story is one of a young bisexual woman who was traumatized by society’s homophobia. The outcome was the creation of a deeply neurotic, severely damaged individual who acted out in mind numbingly self-destructive and wildly extreme ways. Here are a few vivid examples (there are many more) of Boynes’ spiral out of control and her general lack of character:
- “After high school I enrolled at Cheney State University College in Pennsylvania. I wanted to play basketball at Cheney, so I tried out for the team and made the roster. I played well, but had a hard time keeping my grades up because I used too many drugs and stayed out late partying too often….When my drug use made me ineligible to play basketball…I knew something had to change.” (pp. 15-16)
- “Linda [a woman on her carousel of girlfriends] and I tried cocaine and I decided that I wanted to make money as well….I had people calling me at all hours of the night, needing to get high. After several months I was making a lot of money as a cocaine dealer. I started using coke myself and soon I was addicted to it as well….My cocaine addiction started having serious side effects on my body, especially combined with the eating disorder I had developed. I had become bulimic…On my thirtieth birthday, as I lay on my couch smoking crack, I remember wondering what had happened to my life.” (pp. 28-33)
- “I was constantly getting into fights because I had discovered ways to rip people off when I sold the cocaine. I started skimming a little bit off the top of each order, thinking I would be able to get away with it, but people noticed and I soon had a number of people who wanted to kill me.” [Apparently, Boynes did not even have honor among thieves] (pp. 31-32)
- “It didn’t take much for me to avoid paying bills and so the bill collector also began looking for me.” (p. 32)
Just when the reader thinks Janet Boynes has reached rock bottom, they realize that she has only fallen onto a plateau and awaits another harrowing plunge further into the stony abyss.
- Boynes ends up storing cocaine in her apartment closet for some friends and frequently rips off their supply. One evening, Boynes had her home raided by police: “I found my door torn off the hinges and lying on the floor…Then I called the police, and when I found out there was a warrant for my arrest, I told them that I was turning myself in. [Boynes claims she was released because one of the police officers who raided her house saw Bibles and other Christian books, which persuaded him that she was innocent] (pp. 39-40)
- “I started having affairs and cheating on Haley while she was at work at night. I had an affair with a woman at a party, which Haley found out about. When she confronted me about it, I promised I would stop, but immediately broke my promise by being with a woman a little while later. I was getting out of control and grasping at straws. (p. 51)
- “I had switched jobs because a company had offered to pay me more money, but two weeks after I started, they fired me because they claimed I was trying to steal their business.” (p. 51)
- “I was laid off from my job so I applied to work at Ford Motor Company…when I was told I had to give a urine sample, I got worried. I had a friend urinate into a cup for me and I passed her urine off as my own when I went to get tested…My trick worked and I was hired to put clips onto gas tanks, but it didn’t take long for my job at Ford to go poorly as well. My co-workers and I worked high most of the time, snorting cocaine and smoking pot on our lunch breaks or in the bathroom. (p. 32)
Several pages could be filled with examples of Boynes’ breathtakingly depraved behavior, lack of moral compass, and absence of personal integrity, but the general point has been demonstrated.
Called Out does not persuade intelligent readers that homosexuality is wrong or evil. Instead, it presents a tragic portrait of a tormented empty vessel and lost soul trying on new identities like most people try on jeans at the mall. The predictable result was a tumultuous and tempestuous lifestyle that produced a nihilistic nightmare of frustration, fulmination, and failure. No matter what Boynes did, she took it to the extreme.
When she began going to lesbian nightclubs, she went out every night and became a barfly. Instead of simply experimenting with drugs, she became an addict and a dealer. When she went to rehab and allegedly cleaned up Boynes said, “Over the next ninety days, I went to ninety AA meetings.” After she was sober and started working out, it did not take long before she transformed herself into a full-fledged bodybuilder. (p. 43) Boynes claimed to be “a perfectionist” that liked to clean her house “so it looked as if no one lived there.” (p. 48) Finally, when she became a Christian, she rode busses zealously handing out Bible tracts and eventually remade herself into a profitable “ex-lesbian.” (p. 36) Given this unstable history resembling a wild, swinging pendulum, all bets are off on how long Boynes’ latest incarnation as an “ex-lesbian” will last.
While it is easy to dismiss her corrosive conduct as simply addictive behavior, I posit that much of the maelstrom could have been avoided had Boynes not been consumed with self-hatred as a result of the negative messages she received because of her bisexuality.
Undeniably, the single worst decision that Boynes made as a young woman was walking into the Jesus People Church where she “went to the altar and received Jesus Christ into my heart as my Lord and Savior.” Whatever version of religion she imbibed that fateful day reinforced her family’s anti-gay invective and made acceptance of her natural sexual orientation nearly impossible. As a result, Boynes spent a lifetime lost in suffering and sadness. (p. 17)
While plugging her book in a slick video on her website, the “ex-gay” activist disingenuously says that her autobiographical work “…honestly tells the challenges of breaking free after years of being fully persuaded that this [homosexuality] was an acceptable way to live.”
The incontrovertible truth is that Boynes was never remotely comfortable with her sexual orientation, nor fully persuaded that she was anything but a lowly sinner in need of punishment from God. As the record unambiguously proves, Boynes was a tortured soul and cauldron of internal conflict. Instead of helping, her biblical baggage hobbled, undermining every solid relationship and possibility of happiness that Boynes encountered.
After one of her first sexual experiences with a woman named Ruth, Boynes said that she had a “deep feeling of shame” and “couldn’t feel the presence of God” with the result being that “He didn’t love me anymore.” (p. 23)
At one point, Ruth’s busybody parents confront the couple: “We need to tell you that what you are doing is wrong.”
Instead of defending the relationship, Boynes sheepishly agreed with the meddling scolds: “I tried to ignore what Ruth’s parents said, but their words stuck with me…I knew that I had walked away from God, but I didn’t want to give up my new lifestyle…It was a constant push-and-pull battle that waged inside my head and within my heart.” (p. 27)
Even as a barfly and fixture of lesbian nightlife, Boynes was consumed with self-loathing due to spiritual abuse:
A strange thing began happening while I drank and talked with people in the bar: I started talking about God. I didn’t mean to do it and often didn’t realize what I was saying until someone would call my attention to it.
“What are you talking about?” they would ask me.
“Oh, nothing,” I always said, a little embarrassed and wondering what exactly had caused me to start preaching. Whenever this happened, I got mad at God because I felt as if He were preventing me from beginning relationships with women at the bar. He was trying to get my attention, but I ignored him because I was trying to have fun. (p. 26)
Boynes was correct that her fundamentalist conception of God, not homosexuality, was the culprit for repeatedly sabotaging potentially healthy relationships.
Case in point, Boynes eventually found herself in a relatively normal lesbian relationship with Nina, a mother who had a successful career. The couple settled down with Nina’s two children in a nice home. According to Boynes, “I had dreams of our non-traditional family being like Little House on the Prairie, where everyone loved each other and all the problems were worked out by the end of every episode.”
So, why didn’t stability come as it does for so many married LGBT couples? Part of it was Nina’s gambling problem. But it also had much to do with Boynes’ proselytizing and internal shame.
I tried to convince Nina that she needed God and even told her that I would one day return to him.
“I feel like what I’m doing with you is wrong,” I confessed to her during one of our conversations about God. “I feel like God doesn’t approve of our relationship.” (p. 42)
Over time, Boynes’ inner turmoil escalated to the point where she was emotionally terrorized:
I wasn’t ready to leave the lesbian lifestyle, but I was afraid of what might happen to me if I didn’t. Sometimes, I became so terrified that I couldn’t go to sleep at night because I didn’t want to die before I had the opportunity to return to God. (p. 38)
One can now begin to see how brazen a lie it is when Boynes says in her website video that she had once been “fully persuaded that this [homosexuality] was an acceptable way to live.”
The pathological dance with religion was never more evident than in Boynes’ relationship with a woman named Haley. In a nutty effort to appease God, Boynes nearly turned to gender reassignment surgery:
I considered the sex change operation more seriously….thinking that it might be less sinful somehow if Haley and I were more like a heterosexual couple sexually. (pp. 49-50)
There are many good reasons for legitimate sex change operations. However, the extreme religion-fueled shame articulated by Boynes is not one of them. After reading this passage, one can’t help considering the possibility that there is something seriously fanatical, if not delusional, about Boynes’ thinking.
As she gravitated towards fundamentalism, Boynes’ behavior became increasingly bizarre. She began handing out Bible tracts while still going to lesbian bars, and sought out Christian strangers in odd and unsettling ways.
I knew I needed God and so if I saw someone walking down the street, carrying what I thought was a Bible, I literally ran after them. “Hey, you’re a Christian aren’t you?” I would ask. “I’m a Christian too, but I’ve backslidden. I’m living a lesbian lifestyle.” (p. 37)
One can only imagine the perplexed look on peoples’ faces. It was probably the same uncomfortable stare she received when she finally returned to the pews:
Every time I went to church, I met someone new. I greeted every new person I met with the same introduction. “Hi, I’m Janet. I just came out of the lesbian lifestyle.” (p. 66)
Sadly, instead of getting the help she desperately needed, Maple Grove Assemblies of God exploited her situation. Boynes wasn’t remotely “transformed” – she was still in a lesbian relationship – yet the church inexplicably agreed to let her speak from the pulpit about “praying away the gay.” In fairness, though, it does appear that the boldfaced opportunism was mutual. Boynes, a frustrated maid, wasted no time hamming it up and looking for greener career pastures:
I knew that God had something planned for my life. Two nights in a row I had visions of myself preaching and sharing my testimony in front of thousands of people. I was still cleaning houses and I began to practice preaching in the mirror with a broom handle as my microphone. (p. 57)
In perhaps the book’s most delusional passage, Boynes has the nerve to ask her girlfriend to attend her “ex-gay” sermon debut at Maple Grove.
“I invited Carrie to come and listen to me speak, but she absolutely refused. Even though we still talked to each other, she didn’t want to hear anything more from me about leaving the homosexual lifestyle, especially not in the middle of church.” (Pg. 57-58)
Imagine that. It does seem a little like a man inviting his wife to the baptism of a child he fathered with his mistress. But the remarkable solipsism of the upwardly mobile Boynes prevented her from comprehending her girlfriend’s grief.
According to Boynes, a key part of her transition to heterosexual church lady was taking the extraordinary step, at age 40, of selling her house to move in with a Christian family for an entire year. The experience seemed very controlling and cult-like:
Living in Jenny’s house was like a second childhood for me and there were definitely growing pains. When Jenny found out that Carrie and I still talked to each other on the phone, she told me flat out that I couldn’t talk to her anymore.
“You have to leave those things behind, Janet,” she told me. “Otherwise you’re going to fall back into temptation and maybe even back into homosexuality.”
I didn’t want to stop calling Carrie, even though I knew Jenny was right. (p. 60)
[Boynes eventually did cut off contact with Carrie]
Incredibly, such live-in relationships with host families are the centerpiece of Boynes’ odd strategy to convert the world’s LGBT population:
I believe nothing will demonstrate the love of Christ more than if we open our homes to those in the homosexual lifestyle who sincerely want to leave it behind. (p. 153)
What planet is Boynes living on? The church can’t even find enough anti-abortion Christians to adopt cute little babies, yet she thinks legions of Christians will open their homes to forty-year-old homosexuals, bisexuals or transgender folks? This silly “solution” reveals how outlandish and disconnected from reality Janet Boynes truly is.
Another one of her wacky theories is that marriage equality will lead to a mushrooming of homosexuals unlike any the world has ever seen:
The vast majority of today’s families are heterosexual, whether they are single-parent or not. What would happen to our society if, over a period of time, half of all families were made up of two individuals of the same sex? (p. 157)
And what would happen if half of all horses suddenly turned into unicorns? Seriously, her inane question is barely worth addressing. There are now six states and ten countries where marriage equality is a reality: New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina.
What concrete evidence does Boynes possess that leads her to believe that the number of gay couples has dramatically spiked (or will increase) in states or nations with marriage equality?
Once firmly ensconced as a useful tool for the “ex-gay” industry, Boynes confuses stereotypes with science and parrots easily refutable rubbish. For example, she says: “I believe that homosexuality is a search for love and acceptance.” (p. 103)
And exactly how is that different than heterosexuality?
Here is another gem from Boynes:
My mother only came to a few of my basketball games, even though I played in both high school and college, and I think if she would have been able to be more involved in my life, things may have turned out differently for me. (p. 103)
Well, I also played high school and college basketball. My mother and father never missed a single game. I’m still gay. The false causation and phony correlations that are cobbled together as “evidence” are little more than theatre of the absurd.
When not blaming her mother Boynes is misplacing blame on her father and stepfathers:
I cannot begin to think of how my life would have been different if my father or even one of my stepfathers had taken an active and healthy interest in my life. (p. 96)
To be sure, Boynes’ life was tragic – growing up poor with an abusive mother in a seven-child home with four revolving fathers. She claims a relative abused her at age twelve and a few months later an altar boy in church sexually assaulted her. (Given her interactions with heterosexual family life and the church, it is amazing that she saves such venom for LGBT people)
Boynes life certainly could have been different, but there is not a shred of evidence to suggest that a better family or strong male figures might have influenced her sexuality. There are countless LGBT people who grow up in idyllic homes, who seem to debunk Boynes’ unscientific hypothesis that gay and lesbian orientation is the result of neglect, abuse, or bad parenting.
One also wonders if Boynes is familiar with former Vice President Dick Cheney (R) and former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt (D) – both strong father figures who have lesbian daughters. Boynes spends much of her book going on a futile fishing expedition or engaged in a fruitless blame game for the etiology of her sexual orientation. She never figures out real answers, but that doesn’t stop her from very confidently pretending she has.
Although Boynes works hard to present a loving façade, her comments reveal tremendous antipathy towards openly LGBT people:
- “For those reading this book who may be considering the homosexual lifestyle, let me tell you the truth: it isn’t fun. It isn’t glamorous. It isn’t trendy. It doesn’t fill the emptiness inside. It doesn’t help you find your identity. It doesn’t give you peace – and it never, ever will.” (p. 183)
- “You see, every day I lived as a lesbian, I knew I was living a lie. I knew God had created man for woman and woman for man. I knew homosexuality was a sin.” (p. 183)
- “Although homosexual activists will vehemently deny it, recruiting into the homosexual lifestyle or into supporting their goals is going on.” (p. 181)
- “Homosexuality, by its nature, seeks to push boundaries.” (p. 114)
- “Homosexuality, same-sex marriage and homosexual adoption are but a few of the many ideas that are seeking to replace our traditional and biblical ideas of family, church, and society.” (p. 182)
- “I knew I was living a dirty and shameful life and there were better things out there, but I thought I was doing the best I could with what I had been given.” (p. 185)
- “Handing out condoms to teenagers in case they want to experiment is a little like handing out loaded guns in schools and telling the students how to use the safety without teaching them the responsibility of when, where, and how they should safely use the gun.” (p. 123)
- “The media certainly doesn’t do homosexuals or homosexuality any favors either. The ugly, lonely nature of homosexuality is never shown and the way homosexuals are portrayed is ridiculous.”(p. 126)
- “What is an honest look?….Let’s look at the search for fulfillment that drives the homosexual from one sexual relationship to the next. Let’s look at the resulting dangers from such promiscuity. Let’s look at the way HIV and AIDS destroy so many precious lives.” (pp. 126-127)
- “Church, if you embrace homosexuality as a valid lifestyle choice, you are not helping anyone. Instead, you are actually hurting those who come to Christ and wish to escape the bondage of homosexuality. God has warned you in his word, do not think there will not be consequences for your actions and teaching.” (pp. 145-146)
- “As much as any gay rights activist may want to change this fact for the future, the truth is that society in general, and our society in particular, has always had marriage between one man and one woman as a foundation throughout history.” (p. 155) [I guess she somehow missed the parts in the Bible that sanction polygamy or is unaware that women were considered little more than property throughout most of the history of marriage. History also has many examples of same-sex unions.]
- “The gay lifestyle is glorified as being glamorous and is rarely shown as it really is – a lonely and painful search for love and identity.” (p. 160)
- “Many claims of homophobia are intended to create a victim mentality within the homosexual community and a belief that homosexuals are oppressed in society at large. This tactic has played well in media circles and in political arenas and has gained many supporters for the normalization of the homosexual lifestyle and the campaign for same-sex marriage. However, the desire for the legitimization of a lifestyle does not equal a struggle for existence and equal rights. Homosexual rights are not, nor should they be considered as, a civil rights struggle.” (p. 166)
- “If same-sex marriage is legalized, one of the next groups to seek societal approval will be pedophiles. The North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) is one such group that wants to further redefine sexual norms and eventually marriage. NAMBLA promises to work closely with GLBT activists to draw attention to the issue of ‘ageism,’ which is discrimination based on age.” (p. 168) [Boynes noticeably failed to include the names of specific activists or mainstream LGBT advocacy groups involved in this grand conspiracy. Perhaps that’s because this drivel is pure propaganda that exists only as a figment of her vivid imagination]
- “While it may seem ridiculous, bestiality, or sex with animals, will also try to make its way into the ever-expanding definition of marriage and relationships. Perhaps, discrimination of those who wish to have sex with animals will be called ‘specieism.’” (p. 170) [Yep, Janet, it is ridiculous.]
- “While pedophilia, group marriage, incest, and bestiality are all currently illegal, considered taboo, and may seem incredibly far from being legalized or even normal, remember that fifty years ago homosexuality was also in a similar situation. However, the success of homosexual activism will pave the way for all of these other issues and will make it much easier for them to make their way into our society.” (p. 171)
- “Based on my own life, I would never be able to advocate for the cause of homosexual adoption…How will two lesbian women teach their daughter to date men? Or how will two gay men be able to guide their daughters through puberty and the onset of all the changes in their body?” (pp. 173-174) [Maybe because it isn’t rocket science? Perhaps Janet could have interviewed the many adults who actually grew up in such households before making such ignorant assumptions]
If these quotes sound mean-spirited, don’t expect it to bother Janet Boynes or her colleagues. In an interview with hate group leader Peter LaBarbera, Barb Anderson of the Minnesota Family Council and Vice President of Janet Boynes Ministries said, “I think it’s becoming perhaps a badge of honor to be called a hate group.”
Who knows what the future will hold for Boynes and how long her “conversion” will last. As she admitted in her book, she’s somewhat of a chameleon: “Even though I smiled at the people around me, I was miserable inside.” (p. 30) Does that also hold true today as she professes great happiness, even though she said on the Christian television show Celebration with Marcus and Joni, “I’m still tempted today.”
No matter how Boynes genuinely feels, the enterprising entrepreneur clearly has an incentive to remain in the closet:
God has been opening up many doors for me to share my story and I believe there will be many more opportunities. He has allowed me to share in churches, colleges, on the radio, and on Christian television. (p. 67)
[It certainly beats the heck out of scrubbing toilets, as Boynes did prior to her “transformation.”]
Boynes’ toxic, if not profitable, views would mean little without her direct link to Marcus and Michele Bachmann. At the moment, Michele is dodging questions on the campaign trail about Bachmann & Associates. The media keeps hounding her on what she and her husband truly believe about “reparative therapy.”
Isn’t it clear?
Of the copious number of books written about homosexuality, the only one on this topic sold at Bachmann & Associates is Called Out: A Former Lesbian’s Discovery of Freedom. The Bachmann family’s admiration and adoration of Janet Boynes is all you really need to know about their radical and dangerous views on LGBT Americans.