On a city street, not far from the city center, two school chums meet, quite by accident.
"Jasper, old chap. Don't you recognize me?"
"Oh, certainly I do, Alan. I simply wasn't paying attention, mate."
"What has you in such a twit?" Alan asked.
"I'm going to be converted today," Jasper explained.
"Converted to what?" Alan asked, not understanding what conversion meant.
"I favor being a dog. I shouldn't like being a cat? Dogs have their way chasing cats. I simply wouldn't like that," Jasper thought aloud.
"My word, what is this conversion business anyway? I've never heard of such a thing, Jasper. You look perfectly fine the way you are, to me anyway. You were always a good fellow."
"Well," Jasper said thoughtfully, "I'm gay you know. That is the G in the LGBTQ, you know?"
"Yes, I"m familiar with all the letters, and I didn't know that you were gay, but why would I. That's not my business. It's yours. I suspect that being yourself is the best track to take. I can't imagine being anything but myself. Why do you think you should be converted?"
"People say, 'Being gay isn't proper," Jasper said.
"Proper what, old chap. Who in the hell is proper, anyway. You are properly yourself, and it was good enough back where we came from. Who gets to say what we are? What we are is what we make of ourselves. What we are is the thing that separates us from the others."
"I shouldn't like being separated, Alan," Jasper said.
"Separates, makes us an individual. Each of us is uniquely ourselves, Jasper. I shouldn't like being like someone else. This conversion thing sounds like a really bad idea. What happens, if you convert, and you end up worse off than you started out. Is that a chance you want to take. Learning to be ourselves takes a lot of years in order to get it done. Now, just like that, you intend to change who you are?"
"I had a friend, Alan. Steven Smithson. HE became Stephanie Smithson. Just like that. He put on a dress, and those dreadful high heels, and he started calling himself Stephanie."
"Wasn't Steven Stephanie the entire time. He knew who he was, now he dressed the part. That's a totally different conversion than you've mentioned. Steven is who Steven had always been, but he decided to make it public," Alan said.
"I suppose. They say I need to convert if I don't want to go to hell, you know? I hear all the time. I even hear it in church. I certainly want to be right with God, Alan. You wouldn't recommend I get on the wrong side of God, would you," Jasper said.
"Who in the hell created you, Jasper. You may question God's wisdom. Question why he does the things he does, but you are what God made you. You surely don't doubt that,"
"No, but the people at church say I must convert if I want to get right with God," Jasper said.
"And what do they plan to convert to?" Alan asked, angry now.
"They aren't converting. I am. I'm just not clear on what will become of me once I do," Jasper said.
"What is good for the goose, is good for the gander, if they're so keen on having you convert, why don't they do a little converting of their own. Say they could convert to being more tolerant. They could convert to being nicer people, and not demanding other people be something other than what they are. Jasper, some of my best friends are gay. I didn't know you were, but I find that the gay people I know are some of the nicest people I know. Gay people tend to be more considerate of the way other people are. Before you convert, Jasper, go to your church. Tell those people, I'll convert right after you convert to being nicer and more considerate of others," Alan said.
"They shouldn't like that, Alan. They're the ones telling others how they should be. They think they're fine and dandy," Jasper said.
"I have a suggestion for you, and it is way simpler than changing who you are, Jasper."
"What is that?" Jasper asked.
"Convert to another church. The friends who can't accept you, as is, aren't your friends. Church folks come in every stripe and category. You need to find nicer church people. You need to associate with people who respect and cherish the differences we each bring to making a far more interesting world. Jasper, I like you just the way you are."
"I always regarded you as one of the nicer people I've known. Don't change that, Jasper."
"To change, or not to change, that is the question." Jasper said.
Be yourself. You do it so much better than anyone else, not to mention all the years you spent becoming who it is you are.
Peace & Love,
This story was prompted by a petition to outlaw Gay Conversion "Therapy" in the UK in May 2021.
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