A performer at RuPaul’s drag race on Thursday opened up about his youth onstage, saying that his conservative Christian parents resorted to exorcism in order to stop his same-sex attraction.
Dustin Rayburn, a gay man originally from Kentucky who performs as the drag queen “Dusty Ray Bottoms,” recalled being forced to “come out” when his parents “found something” on his computer.
“They lost it. They took me to church,” Rayburn said Thursday. “They got me exorcised because they thought I was possessed by a gay demon,” he recalled, according to Pink News. The drag queen did not describe the alleged exorcism, but he did explain his experiences in the church.
“I had to list every person I’ve ever had a sexual encounter with,” Rayburn recalled. “I was so confused after the whole thing went down because … was I straight now? Was I? I had to go through therapy and I was on a track to go to straight camp.”
At this camp, the drag queen said he reached his breaking point. “I was meeting with this pastor, and he was like: ‘In a homosexual relationship, you’ll never find success, you’ll never find love.’ And I stopped him, and I went upstairs, and I packed my car. I said: ‘I can’t do this anymore,'” he recalled.
“It was the most humiliating, awful thing of my life, ever,” Rayburn said. He moved to New York City to start an acting career, and later met his romantic partner, Mark. “Now I have a wonderful fiancé,” he said. “We have a beautiful life together.”
While some Christian denominations do practice exorcism, the practice is mostly confined to Roman Catholicism, and the Roman Catholic Church has stringent rules around it to prevent potential abuses. There are many horror stories from exorcisms, mostly outside the purview of Catholicism.
From Raymond’s account, which may not be entirely trustworthy, it sounds as though the church he attended was more focused on encouraging heterosexual relationships than on urging him to maintain sexual purity. If so, that church was not following the Bible.
The Bible teaches that sexual activity should be restricted to marriage between a man and a woman, meaning that even heterosexual sex outside of marriage is sinful. Indeed, Jesus infamously set the bar extremely high, saying that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has committed adultery in his heart (Matthew 5:28).
Many Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction do not “come out” as gay, but embrace lives of celibate faithfulness, without trying to become “straight.” The biblical Christian goal is obedience to God, not an insistence that every person get married.
Furthermore, Jesus told Christians to love one another, even their enemies. Blanket statements such as “In a homosexual relationship, you will never find love” arguably go too far. While homosexual relationships may be sinful and arguably involve a perversion of romantic love, “love” in the Christian sense refers to willful actions done for the good of another person, and this kind of love is essential for all friendships. Such statements are unnecessarily harsh, and arguably untrue, even from a conservative Christian perspective.
From this account, it sounds like Dustin Raymond was abused, and Christians should not stand for that. This story does not mean all attempts to encourage people to reject same-sex attraction are abusive, however. Raymond’s parents may have arranged an exorcism for their son, but most Christian parents do not resort to such extremes.
Interestingly, some outlets referred to Raymond by his stage name, “Dusty Ray Bottoms,” and referred to him using the pronoun “she.” This does not mean drag queens are transgender, however.
Ironically, RuPaul Andre Charles — the founder of the drag queen show — himself got into trouble with the transgender movement last month by suggesting that his show would ban men taking hormones or undergoing surgery to affirm a transgender identity and become more like women. Drag queens are, by definition, men dressing up like women.
If men alter their bodies to become like women, they would look less like men dressing up like women. Transgender activists might be expected to welcome this exclusion, as it affirms the idea that men who identify as women are truly women.
In any case, Christians should not resort to exorcism in order to remove unwanted same-sex attraction. Stories like the one Dustin Rayburn told Thursday only undermine the Christian witness and encourage the LGBT suggestion that opposition to LGBT identities is grounded in bigotry and ignorance, when in fact it is not.
Click “Load More” to watch a video of Raymond in character as “Dusty Ray Bottoms.” (I wouldn’t recommend it…)