Let me tell you the story of a guy named Ned.
Everything about Ned was gay, from his actions to the way he looked and carried himself to the very things he said. By the time he hit his 30s, he had settled in a remote city where he was able to become a well-known local public figure and gay activist.
Ned was loud, rude and obnoxious, but he got attention, and soon he found himself at the top of his game in this small city. Through the city, and even the small, remote state, most people knew him. If they only knew one thing about him, it was that he was an outspoken gay activist.
But Ned had a dark side. His longtime partner - also a public figure, who was much more widely liked than Ned - accused Ned of physical abuse in court. Once the partnership was separated, Ned's partner remained in the public eye, but never uttered Ned's name in public again.
Ned also liked to drink, and occasionally had public incidents where his belligerent behavior got him into trouble. Very few of his coworkers had anything nice to say about him, either, especially the ones he got fired.
By the time he hit his mid 40s, Ned realized there was no where left for him to go. He wanted to be known on a national scale, but there was too much competition, and he offered nothing that 10 other gay activists were already offering.
So Ned decided to make a radical change. He announced he was no longer gay, and became an anti-gay activist. He got married to a woman. He wrote a highly idealized book about his conversion that, in later years, would be taken as 100 percent truth by the national media.
Within 10 years, Ned was not only a national figure, he was among the most famous anti-gay activists in the country. Not only was he making far more money than he ever would have in his small city, he had a national pulpit every weeknight.
I lost touch with Ned a few years ago. But Ned and I still have many friends in common, including a few who remain very close to Ned today.
I don't believe one word of what Ned says today. I think he's the same person he was 20 years ago, he's just working for the other team.