Michael Aaron

People change

So many controversies are in the news about behavior people have done in their distant past. They are being vilified for doing and saying stupid things decades ago, while in college or high school or in their adult-formative 20s.

Half of Virginia citizens are calling for Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam who was published in his law school yearbook either dressing in a Ku Klux Klan hood or painted up in blackface. He now says he is a changed man.

“I have learned from this,” he said on CBS’s Face the Nation. “I have a lot more to learn.”

Kevin Hart stepped down from hosting the Oscars after people balked at his past homophobic statements. He apologized for his past remarks and worked to move on with his life. What struck me were his remarks in his apology.

“If the fight from the LGBTQ community is equality … I’m riding with you. I understand it. But in the fight for equality, that means that there has to be an acceptance for change. If you don’t want to accept people for their change then where are you trying to get to the equal part?” Hart asked.

If it is a change in people’s thoughts, feelings , nd behaviors, and someone shows that they have changed, is that not what the LGBT movement is all about?

One of Equality Utah’s slogans is that they are here “giving the community and their allies the necessary tools to effectively change hearts and minds.” When that happens, can we not celebrate it?

For me, this came to my mind’s fore after my first reaction to “ex-gay” therapist and organizer David Matheson announced that he was leaving his wife and sought a relationship with another man. I even posted that he and others like him would likely end up in his religion’s version of Hell.

But then I talked to a number of people who know the man. They say his intentions were always good, to which I balked. But they also said that he has slowly come to the place he is now: a (hopefully) healthy gay man.

While I never would have done a “hit piece,” I think by talking to those around him, I was able to at least do a balanced piece. As a teller of the whole story, we can’t gloss over the damage he has done to those who sought his help. But, I have to give him the benefit of the doubt when he says he will work to make change in his former profession.

And hope that he has, indeed, changed.

Michael Aaron

Michael Aaron is the editor and publisher of QSaltLake. He has been active in Utah's gay and lesbian community since the early 80s and published two publications then and in the 90s.

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