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Loves God Likes Girls: A Memoir Paperback – May 1, 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
Gary recounts her upbringing in a devout but dysfunctional Church of Christ home. An overprotective mother and a distant, volatile father planted what Gary calls lies about relationships, her value, and identity. These lies, such as believing that no man would ever want her or that women were the source of all comfort and consistency, eventually gave rise to same-sex attraction. Gary first realizes her sexual orientation in college, but maintains that a gay relationship is contrary to God's will. Through extensive counseling and supportive friends, Gary continues to live in the tension between same-sex attraction and her belief that she should not act on those attractions. Her adult life appears only briefly, though, with the bulk of the work focusing on her younger years up through junior high. The work offers an alternative view to more gay-affirming Christian approaches at the same time it avoids invective against LGBT individuals or promises that same-sex attraction can be removed. While not offering any clear solutions, Gary provides a glimpse into how Christians can more compassionately reply to same-sex attraction without admitting full expression of that sexuality. (June)
From the Inside Flap
No other issue has been more divisive in families and in faith communities than homosexuality. Rather than providing "cookie-cutter" answers as to why someone experiences same-sex attraction and how to "make it go away," "Loves God, Likes Girls" simply explores one woman's perspective on the multitude of experiences over a lifetime that impact the development of sexuality.
Sally Gary's story offers hope and redemption for families torn apart by this issue. Through stories, Sally shares some of the painful and confusing lies she grew up believing about herself that shaped her views of femininity and her ability to form healthy relationships with both men and women. The book emphasizes that those who experience same-sex attraction need safe places to explore questions, to find community, and to grow deeper in relationship with God.
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Coming clean about her own situation, Gary opened the door wide for church-of-christers to have open and honest discussions about these issues. Her book Loves God, Likes Girls: A Memoir (Leafwood, 2013), released in time for the lectures, is an introduction to what most Christians would see as a completely foreign world of homosexual desire, even if they’ve experienced many of the same sorts of things that apparently drove Gary in that direction: a male-oriented church, a father who despised any signs of weakness or femininity, a learned sense of shame about one’s female sex organs and menstruation, etc.
In Gary’s childhood world, men were abusive and incompetent, yet got all the perks in life. To make it worse, as a maturing young woman, she believed herself ugly, undesirable to the opposite sex, and unable to succeed at “womanly” things. As Gary notes, sometimes it’s easier to live a “masculine persona” than to fail miserably at being a girl. Her fantasy of a perfect life took shape: life would be better if she could just be a boy. However, Gary has concluded that an active homosexual lifestyle is not the direction in which God wants her to go. So she aims to live virtuously even while continuing to struggle with loneliness and “same-sex attraction.”
Gary is not dogmatic. She doesn’t try to present her experience as the “typical” one. Nor does she recommend any “quick fix” solutions. (She admits to hot having them.) She merely wants to share her story and, through her ministry CenterPeace, create opportunities for discussion and community. Many people face the same temptations she has. Families and churches are continually being torn apart over homosexuality. While Loves God, Likes Girls: A Memoir isn’t the smoothest read – Gary is a better speaker, in my opinion – the book has cleared the way for more confession and greater acceptance in the churches of Christ.
Alan Cooper, Shepherd
Northside Church of Christ
San Antonio, Texas