Yvette Cantu Schneider has one of the most robust pedigrees of anyone who has ever worked in the so-called "ex-gay" movement. From the late nineties right through to the second decade of the twenty-first century, Yvette managed to find herself laboring for and with just about every top anti-LGBT group and activist you've heard of. From her high-profile start at the Family Research Council to her work with California's Proposition 8 campaign—with many stops, at many different groups and campaigns along the way—Yvette became one of that movement's most visible faces and certainly one of the most known women in a line of "work" known mainly for its male spokespeople. To this day, Yvette remains one of the key people who anti-gay voices like to cite in order to prove that "change" works. In a December 19, 2013, press release concerning the Duck Dynasty brouhaha, notorious anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera, who was a colleague of Yvette's during their shared time at the Family Research Council, cited Schnieder as an example of a person who has "ovecome homosexuality through faith in Jesus Christ." "Ex-gay" websites continue to list her as among their ranks and push her story as a source of inspiration. The American Family Association continues to sell a video, "It's Not Gay," in which Yvette appears as a talking head. They all still claim Yvette as being both an example and a worker bee for their side.
That all changes today. Yvette has reached out to GLAAD, exclusively, to share her story—one that will come as a shock to her former colleagues and allies.
In a nutshell: Yvette no longer wishes to identify with the "ex-gay" or anti-LGBT movement; is sorry for the pain she caused as part of that world; is highly questioning of the idea of "ex-gay" itself; and is now fully supportive of LGBT people, our truths, and our families. Yvette has made her sincerity clear to me, saying "as opposed to when I was doing things for the Christian Right out of duty and obligation, I'm doing it because I want to and feel it's the right thing to do." She hopes that by speaking out, she can start to undo any damage she might've helped to impart.
\Go to this link to read the first of a two-part story in which Schneider explains how an encounter with the child of a gay man and her own daughter's illness led her to question the path she was on.
But first, a little note. There are some who will probably say "f#ck her," or "she hurt too many people to be begging forgiveness."
To those folks, I would like to quote Tyler Perry as Madea Simmons and say shut the hell up!
Forgiveness is a good thing. Not just for the piece of mind of the person you are forgiving but also your own soul.
Who wants to hold on to bitterness when it's so much easier - and healthier - to forgive and open your heart?