Philly Writer Explores Gay Community and Homophobia in Novel and Bible Blog Project

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Brad Windhauser and I are enjoying happy hour at Tria, the popular wine and beer bar on 12th and Pine in Center City.  He tells me about his experience attending college in California, and how the gay “community” there was strong, passionate, and supportive.  However, Windhauser claims there has been a shift, that the LGBTQ community’s increased visibility and acceptance in mainstream culture has inadvertently loosened the close-knit connection in the gay population.

“Pride was huge,” he says, in-between sips of a beer.  “It was ‘us against them.’  Now, the community isn’t as tight as it used to be.”

Windhauser, a Temple University writing instructor and current Philadelphia resident, explores this juxtaposition of the gay community in his novel, Regret.  Originally published in 2007, Windhauser recently released his work in e-book format, available on both Amazon and iTunes.  The novel is based loosely on the practices of the now defunct Exodus International, the controversial “ex-gay” Christian ministry.  In it, Windhauser considers, amongst other things, how the gay community would react if a deeply religious organization tried to “cure” gays based on biological research.

“I really wanted to explore how the [gay] community would rally against it,” says Windhauser.  Inspired by the religious fervor in the late 90’s, Windhauser crafted his novel around the notion that a lack of honesty with oneself is the ultimate deception, and that “it is okay to be who you are.”

No doubt, times have changed since the initial setting of the novel—Windhauser points to the current success with gay marriage in America and the fact that organizations, such as Exodus International, have dissolved.

“[Exodus International] essentially realized, ‘Ooops—we may have screwed up some lives here,’” says Windhauser.

Nevertheless, Windhauser’s fascination with the baseless religious suppression of gays doesn’t end with his novel.  Windhauser, who holds multiple degrees in English, thought it was time that he read the entire Bible, with a particular emphasis on studying passages that anti-gay advocates use in their arsenal to defend their homophobic arguments.  His project, The Bible Blog, explores how out of context these religious arguments are with the physical text.

“Anti-gay people constantly say, ‘The Bible says this, the Bible says that,’” states Windhauser.  “If you are going to engage in intellectual debate about something, you should actually read it.”

He claims that the reaction to the project, which will consist, in total, of 140 posts, has been interesting.

“We have to combat [homophobia] by understanding it,” he says.  “The problem isn’t the Bible; it is the people who misinterpret the Bible.” 

As a writer, The Bible Blog has helped Windhauser in countless ways: it provides him a way to process what he sees as a piece of literature.  It has helped him communicate and relate to his father, who is deeply religious.  It requires focus as a writer (after all, if printed, the blog would be over 300 pages).  However, the most important part of the project, and any of his writing, according to Windhauser, is the ability to produce art that helps shape the community at large.

“Some people say we are living in a post-homophobic culture,” he says.  “We might be getting better, but we aren’t there yet.”

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