‘Diary of an exgay Girl’ explores relational concepts
Charlette Tall is a married attorney and mother living in Pennsylvania who’s written a new book entitled Diary of an exgay girl [website], a memoir chronicling her perspective on internal family conflicts, homosexuality and unhealthy relationships. In this exclusive interview with GCM Watch, Tall shares an unconventional definition of being “gay” and how purposeful living reflects the image of God.
Gay Christian Movement Watch: Your book is written in diary style. I’ve not seen many, if any, stories of this genre written like this. Why did you decide to go with the diary format?
Charlette Tall: I used a diary format so that readers can understand how my sisters and I, from early childhood, were geared up to disregard men and not to expect a healthy well-balanced marriage relationship. We were on track to be gay in the broader meaning of the word so that the foundation to lesbianism was laid out for all of us. I think I needed to do it like a diary so that my sisters could understand how their behavior at college really confused me, and that their behavior later in life confirmed that I hadn’t imagined what I saw in college.
GCMW: Tell me about your thought processes leading up to you finally beginning to write. Was it an internal struggle? Self doubts?
CT: The book flowed all at once in about a 10 day time period. It was all I worked on from the time I woke up until I went to bed for 10 days straight, My husband was patient with me because I explained to him that I felt like I was in labor and had to get it out – quick! In that 10 day period I gave rough drafts to my sisters, my mom, my husband, and my two good friends whose opinions I really trust. They helped me to tweak it so that the reader can understand my transformation and that I wasn’t just observing my sisters’ affairs. I also used their questions to do the question-answer segment at the end of the book for Freedom from gay/disorderly thinking.
GCMW: Its interesting to note the “breadwinner” turnover at home between your parents. That’s happening more and more today. What’s the significance and effect on family dynamics?
CT: I think the breadwinner turnover in my family was more problematic than what I see nowadays where the women are the breadwinners from the very start. To have the roles reversed between my parents without having a corresponding downsizing of the family’s lifestyle was almost catastrophic for us, because my dad had a very poor communication style and he lived off of an unmet hope that he would soon resume his old career track as a pharmacist. This fueled his depression and also fueled my sisters’ disdain for him.
GCMW: So now things are different?
CT: Nowadays I think the role reversal from the traditional breadwinner model does not have to be catastrophic IF the parties have a very strong communication line. I don’t think there is an inherent wrong in the wife earning more, but I do think it’s inherently wrong to think that the decision making or the authority flows from the ‘money-source’.
GCMW: In 1987, you backslide. Do you think its hard for young Christians in college to stay focused on serving Christ?
CT: I do think it is hard, but not impossible, for college students to stay focused on serving Christ. First of all, there are so many freedoms: your parents/guardians are nowhere around while your peer group tries to set the tone for what is acceptable college behavior. Second of all, I think it can be difficult to find solid bible studies or mentoring relationships for young Christians who could benefit from a guide during this turbulent time period.
I personally faced a choice of the sinner’s traditional college lifestyle vs. an emotional religiosity that was trying to portray itself as Christianity. It was very disturbing for me, because both of my sisters began long term sexual relationships with their ‘prayer partners’ or ‘spiritual mentors’. I think this is where my book can be helpful in shining a light on people’s strong desire to ‘hide’ this underground homosexual life when, in fact, it needs to named for the wrong that it is.
GCMW: In the book, you assign a broad definition to gay as being “sexist, deceptive, manipulative, rebellious, and selfish.” Does that include sexual activity?
CT: I used the definition in a broader sense to help the reader understand that I was just as gay as both of my sisters, even though I had not had gay sex. We all had gay mindsets, so it is an unnecessary distinction as to how we expressed our sexuality; my sister’s gay mindset was fueled even stronger by their disappointment in our dad and then their universal expectation that all men will disappoint. The sexual act is what I call the ‘last door’ of a gay/disorderly mindset. But to answer your question; Yes, being gay does include the sexual act as well; although you can be celibate, and still be gay.
GCMW: You admit that you have never engaged in same sex behavior, so for those who have, how can they “relate” to you and vice versa?
CT: I can relate to someone who has had gay sex from the perspective that we both have to renew our minds to the woman (or man) that God has designed us to be and the commitment to allow God to heal our emotions for healthy interactions with the opposite sex. One of my favorite scriptures is one that my dad used to quote: Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity…..For there the Lord commands the blessing; Even life forevermore. [Psalms 133;vs 1 and 3b] I think this passage of scripture summarizes the strength that God designed for the body of Christ to draw from in healthy interactions with the opposite sex. Gay sex is an expression of total disregard for the opposite sex.
GCMW: In your opinion, can homosexuality be prevented? If so, how?
CT: Yes, I believe there are preventative measures against homosexuality.
I believe that the enemy tries to bind us with the yoke of bondage with different tactics. In reading Donnie McClurkin’s testimony [Eternal Victim, Eternal Victor] he explains that the door to his former gay sex lifestyle was opened for him (by force) through sexual molestation by a male relative. So, one preventative measure is protecting the sexuality of our children through appropriate oversight.
GCMW: I read Donnie’s book. Good reference. Is there more insight you can share?
CT: Well, another preventative measure is nurturing strong self-esteem in our children. I remember that my oldest sister came home from school one day complaining that the boys had teased her about her crooked teeth. My dad’s response was ‘you tell them not to worry about it, because your daddy’s going to get you braces and get your teeth fixed’. Well, that response did nothing for my sister’s self esteem. I think she wanted to hear my dad say that he thought she was beautiful. By the way, he never said that to any of us. A poor self-esteem makes our children vulnerable to the wrong types of people who are willing to show them a world where they finally fit and truly belong. The feeling of being the outsider or feeling rejected, before you even have a shot, makes children vulnerable to all types of seductive forces. A healthy self-esteem is like taking a vaccination shot against the temptations our children will face when they are older. The more confident they are about who they are and their destiny in Christ, the harder it is to be pulled by temptation.
GCMW: Talking about sex and families is a very difficult terrain for most black families. What’s the best way to approach it?
CT: From my perspective, it is absolutely necessary to discuss it in order to prevent this bondage from attaching to the next generation. It is an urgent passion for me to get this out and, hopefully, others will find my passion contagious to shed light on their own families past . Silence gives the darkness the authority to grow and spread.
For me, I’m in the early stages of parenting. My oldest is 10 and the youngest is 2. So the focus right now is strong self-esteem; appropriate oversight; educating the boys not to go with strangers or allow any inappropriate touching. As they get older, I think the focus is on who they are as young men in Christ. That their sexuality is a gift from God that should only be expressed in the context of marriage with their wife. That they have to step aside from all seductive forces. That they have been bought with a price and they are not their own. People have to acknowledge that we are stewards on this earth. Your sexual organs don’t belong to you. You are a steward of the sexuality that God gave to you which the Bible tells you how and when to use it.
GCMW: And what does that sexual stewardship look like?
CT: Heterosexually, after marriage.
GCMW: What advice can you give for married women who are experiencing same sex attractions but keep it hidden from their husbands?
CT: I think transparency with our husbands helps us to maintain our freedom. For instance, I tell my husband that I’m vulnerable to rebellion so I can’t be around those who would foster it. So he helped me to make the decision to switch from a black muslim hairdresser to a Christian one. In regards to a private attraction, I think preventative measures need to be reinforced like reading Myles Munroe On Relationships which helped me a lot to see God’s design for me as a woman. Before I advised, I’d want to know if this were a carryover from opening the door to gay sex. If so, does the husband know that fact? Because being transparent about our past lives absolutely helps us reinforce our relationships with our husbands and gives them the aided tools to help us maintain our freedom.
GCMW: Thanks for this very thought provoking book. Finally, let me ask what you hope readers remember most from your book?
CT: You’re welcome! I think most important is how we have to walk in forgiveness to prevent negative echoes from the hurts that have been committed against us. Even more importantly, believers have to be very diligent in the commitment to renew our minds to God’s word. The enemy tries to use our weaknesses against us in order for us to falsely believe that we are destined for an alternative lifestyle. We are made in God’s image for His purpose.
Contact Charlette Tall cpughtall [at] gmail.com