Ex-Lesbian Linda Jernigan Tells Pastors That Alcohol and Drug Addiction Are Part of the ‘Homosexual Lifestyle’

The Illinois Family Institute recently hosted former lesbian Linda Jernigan at an event for pastors. (I’m deeply offended that they didn’t send me an invitation.)

What did she say to the crowd? You have to hear this to believe it:

I was with this young lady for nearly 15 years, but I was battling alcohol addiction and drug addiction which comes with the homosexual lifestyle. And I’m telling you that most homosexuals that you see, they do have issues with substance abuse. Have you ever asked yourself why do they have so many problems with alcohol, with drugs…? ‘Cause you need to be inebriated to do the things that the homosexual lifestyle calls for you to do.

The average person in their right mind cannot do that in their right mind, so you need to go into another realm with all of these other substances that will take you into another spiritual realm, so that you can do the things that you needed to do. So I was not exempt. I had an alcohol problem. I had a drug problem…

… I’m talking to the Lord and I told him, I said, “God, there’s no way that you and I could be together because I was born this way.” And I clearly heard the voice of the Lord. He did not tell me, “Linda you weren’t born that way. He didn’t tell me, “Naw, I ain’t created you that way.” He said, “It doesn’t even matter how you think you were born, I have the power to make you be born again!” And that is the issue that we need to be telling homosexuals today…

Incredible. Jernigan suffered from alcoholism and drug abuse… so other gay people must be just like her!

The logic is airtight. And if it’s not, I guess alcohol and drugs can fix that problem.

(via Joe. My. God.)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Ugh. I haven’t had any “akahol” for 31 years, but those three minutes of dedicated, hard-working ignorance, self-agrandizing, fraudulent penitance, and stilletto hatred sheathed in velvet “forgiveness” is enough to make me want a drink.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ trivialknot

    As I recall, health surveys show higher use of alcohol and other drugs among GLB people, but I don’t think it’s for the reason Linda Jernigan thinks it is. My first guess is that it has to do with many of them not getting along with their parents. We could flippantly joke about how we actually drink because we have to listen to people like Linda Jernigan, but I suspect there’s some real truth behind it.

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    Normally I wouldn’t doubt her claim that she was a lesbian… but if she needed to drink herself into a stupor in order to suffer through some gay sex, I have a feeling she wasn’t entirely gay.

  • icecreamassassin

    Why bother with root cause analysis when the master of the universe can just *tell* you what the problem is?

  • icecreamassassin

    I wonder what other baggage she is throwing into ‘the homosexual lifestyle’ beyond ‘being physically and emotionally attracted towards those of the same sex’?

  • Mandy

    I gay people are resorting to alcohol and drugs more than the general population, my educated guess would be that it’s more like to be because they are trying to self medicate their feelings of guilt and shame put on them by the homophobics in their lives and society in general. I mean, according to Linda’s logic, all alcoholics and drug addicts should be homosexual.

  • Mandy


  • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

    Presumably there’s at least one ex-partner out there somewhere who knows, and who may not be best pleased right now.

  • Fargofan

    It’s sad because you know many straight Christians will believe her. Actually talking to a non-closeted, self-accepting gay (and not “formerly gay”) person is far outside their experience. What else do they have to go on?

  • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

    Apparently I am totally dropping the ball on developing a cocaine addiction and getting trashed every night of the week. I’ve let my gay community down.

  • eric

    Meh, every born-again fundie seems compelled to have an “I was so low” story, and the community seems to reward those with the worst stories. Its a situation ripe for confabulation. To hear them tell it, they were all alcoholics who sold the family dog for crack. Somehow, I doubt it.

  • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

    There’s some truth to the drugs and alcohol statistic, and for the reason you state. Many of us have parents who, if they didn’t outright reject us or throw us out of the house when we came out, treat us like biohazards. Alcohol isn’t used to enable “behavior.” It’s to dull the pain that comes from knowing that the people who are supposed to love and accept us unconditionally lied.

  • Anon

    Hmm, all that beer I drink doesn’t seem to be affecting my hetero-ness. I better test her hypothesis and drink more beer.

  • jdm8

    Are these paid speaking gigs? I bet there is plenty of money in reinforcing what people already believe. She has a book for sale too.

    Correlation =/= causation. I think it is more plausible that drugs and alcohol are an escape for having to hide who you are for fear of being fired, ostracized, etc.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

    And apparently when I was younger and fooling around with the same sex I was doing it wrong because I was never drunk or on drugs.

  • Sven2547

    I think she’s badly conflating “the Linda Jernigan lifestyle” with “the lesbian lifestyle”…

  • Tyler

    The irony of a black woman standing up on a stage and relaying this bigotry to an audience. A bit comical when you consider the unjust persecution of people based on their skin color that occurred less than 100 years ago. Live and learn, eh? The only thing we can choose to do for ourselves is to not breed this kind of hatred in our own lives.

  • C Peterson

    It can be hard to be gay in the U.S. You either lead a secret life, or you subject yourself to all manner of negative social pressure. It’s hardly surprising that the incidences of substance abuse, suicide, and other harmful things are higher among homosexuals. Nothing to do with homosexuality, and everything to do with the damaged society they find themselves in.

    Perhaps this woman had it hard. How hard does she have it now, I wonder, pretending she’s not a lesbian anymore?

  • Miss_Beara

    What about drugs and alcohol hetero people use/drink? Is that part of the “heterosexual lifestyle”?

    These people…

  • McAtheist

    lol….alcohol and drug addiction are as much a part of the straight ‘lifestyle’ as the gay ‘lifestyle’…..party monsters in both camps.

  • curtcameron

    I’m picturing one of those pastors asking her “Uh, can you share with us those things that the homosexual lifestyle called for you to do, you know those things that you had to use alcohol and drugs for?”

  • Ronlawhouston

    OK Richard, if you insist, I’ll have one in your honor.

  • Stev84

    Not just problems with the parents, but pressure from society in general. It’s called “minority stress”

  • Antinomian

    A good Chardonay or single malt scotch always brings out the raging lesbian in me.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Feel free to have one for me too :-)

  • coyotenose

    Who, Skeletor?

  • coyotenose

    Alcoholics who sold the dog for crack… but not crackheads. Did they then trade the crack for liquor?

    I kinda like this story! It just needs more complications.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Cheers! :-)

    But be careful, Ron. Too much “akahol” and suddenly you’ll want to be despised, reviled, condemned, slandered, beaten, and even killed, yet somehow loved (?) as a person, just because all that is so much fun.

  • Rain

    She’s got it all backwards. Alcohol and drug addiction cause gayness, not the other way around. She’s confusing correlation with causation. If you smoke a lot of weed and drink a lot of booze, then you will get the “booze and gay reefer madness”.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    If the drugs were a means to get through teh gay, then I’d like to know what the incentive was for the gay in the first place?

    “I really don’t want to do X, but if I get high enough, I can stand it.”

    Ok, so why did she do X if it meant she had to do a bunch of drugs to get through it?

  • Carpinions

    She’s another concern troll looking to profit in some way off of being one of the “converted” homosexuals. What her story is code for (likely, IMO) is “I was raised in a repressive religious household, so when I came of age I lashed out and did all things I wasn’t supposed to do (whether they were actually bad or not), and now my religion tells me I should hate myself for it and seek redemption.”

    I’ve heard enough of these “harrowing” stories to know that just a tiny bit of scratching reveals a person who is essentially blaming others for their irresponsible behavior by scapegoating an “other” group that is most often defined as an opposition force to the person’s religion, by that same religion.

    I think all the homosexual people I know would be quite offended that she insists they are booze-a-holic drug addicts who also can’t (insert any and every solitary thing religious conservatives claim homosexuals are incapable of). someone should tell Ms. Jernigan she is a sham of a human being, wasting her life on spreading lies about people she doesn’t know, never did, and never could.

  • Carpinions

    The “me so low” story is the tried and true hook for the professional huckster. It’s emotional blackmail, but this time the audience wants to be blackmailed, because it just confirms everything they’ve been raised for literal decades to accept at face value. It’s often telling that these “me so low” stories are often filled with life events that aren’t even negative unless viewed through the very skewed frame of religion, and especially sin. So Ms. Jernigan had one or more lesbian relationships…AND??…What’s the problem? That’s not an automatic negative in the land of reality.

  • fsm

    I had a Great-aunt that was gay and a psychiatrist. She also lived in Salt Lake City and was a direct decedent of the hand-cart Mormons. She ended up moving to Seattle where she didn’t have to deal with the rampant alcoholism and drug abuse that was a direct result of women being figuratively raped by their church and sometimes literally by their husbands. She was not able to help these women because they could not talk about the real reason they were drinking.

    By the way, she lived monogamously with her female partner for over 40 years.

  • Houndentenor

    I only made it through a minute of that. Yes, there has been a long history of substance abuse in the gay community. Part of the alcohol issue was that the only meeting places for gays that were even remotely safe were bars. It will be interesting to see how/if that changes now that bars are less the focus.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    “they do have issues with substance abuse.”

    Yes, I think it’s time that I admitted my addiction. Hello, my name is adam and i’m addicted to coconut curry chicken. I know, I’m a monster.

  • Rain

    This video will cause people to turn gay if they watch it.


  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    “We could flippantly joke about how we actually drink because we have to listen to people like Linda Jernigan, but I suspect there’s some real truth behind it.”

    It’s funny because it’s true.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Depends on what “X” is. I mean, if it’s a dentist appointment, yeah, gonna need the drugs to get through it. But, um… sex is supposed to be pleasant, why would anyone need to be drugged up to get through a presumably consensual act? (Barring instances where a person is deliberately drugged up or plied with alcohol by a rapist, of course.)

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    I do in fact know an alcoholic who had a crack habit. He’s 100% clean, now, and much more pleasant to be around… when he’s not talking my ear off about all the little things he did today and now I’m watching blah blah blah, hey, [asks for game advice], [more nowhere stories].

    I’m thinking he needs to get a hobby, and get out more, because I am going out of my way to find excuses to hang up the phone.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    That’s nothing. I’m addicted to… Tetris.

  • roberthughmclean

    This inebriated lifestyle enjoyed by this turncoat probably led her to her “encounter” with god and the baby jesus, drink enough and you’ll believe anything. The baby jesus used wine to attract victims and as a prop for some magic tricks so perhaps a wee drink is a good thing.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Oh, look. Another lying christianist.

    I’ve never had to be drugged or in any way chemically “enhanced” to have a sex life. Maybe she’s projecting, and that’s what she has to do to fake being heterosexual?

  • JD929

    I might be wrong, but drugs and alcohol figure a lot into the ‘heterosexual lifestyle’ too.

  • smrnda

    You can find a lot of psychological research on how personal narratives get distorted and exaggerated given the right prompts, and how frequently retelling the story can make a person pretty much over-write their initial memories with the exaggerated false story they’ve been encouraged to tell. Christian ‘testimonies’ definitely fall under this, so whenever I hear a testimony I wonder what the person was saying ten years ago.

  • Edmond

    I’ve known plenty of gay people who are “clean and sober” as the saying goes. How do these geniuses explain THAT?

  • TiltedHorizon

    “Cause you need to be inebriated to do the things that the homosexual lifestyle calls for you to do.”

    As a man I’d bet that I “do” much, if not all, of the things a lesbian lifestyle calls for. Odd, that I have never needed to be inebriated to “do” these things.

  • amycas

    This video made me cry. Hard. I used to think like that. I used to be religious and try to convince myself that “Jesus” could take away my “unwanted” sexual feelings. It doesn’t work that way. Maybe her orientation can, or did, change (it happens, sexuality is fluid), but mine didn’t. Just because she changed hers doesn’t mean that everybody’s will, and it doesn’t mean that everybody’s should. I tried the prayer and pleading and groveling to god–all it did was make me feel guilty and dirty and terrified for my soul. I can’t stand that she’s attributing her drug and alcohol problems directly to homosexuality. This maybe pisses me off more. I’ve suffered from a drug problem, and I have major depressive disorder (as well as anxiety). When I was a teenager, I was sent to a pastor to talk about my problems, and all it did was make me feel worse. They would say I just didn’t have enough faith, I needed to pray harder, I needed to *try* harder. Fuck it. Depression is not simply a matter of will. Now, as an open atheist and (semi)open bisexual, when religious people find out I also have a mental health issue, they will often attribute it to my atheism (or my sexuality), and they have the nerve to ask me if I’ve tried god or Jesus. Fuck them I say. I’m better off now than I ever was when I was religious.

  • Jim Jones

    IIRC, there’s high usage of drugs in Utah, also porn and a high level of teen suicide. Maybe being a Mormon is worse for the psyche than being gay.

  • ben porter

    my aunt is a lesbian her and her wife bout have jobs they have an adopted son who is very well rounded and loves video games. they are not in any way shape of form drug abusers the lady who said this is just a hateful person and its a shame anyone listens to her

  • rustygh

    The idea that no one in their right mind could be gay and do “those” things is really a common view for anything a religious person doesn’t understand.
    I guess that’s part of a thinking system that relies on blind faith.

  • TicklishMeerkat

    You probably don’t wear near enough sequins, either. Get with it! The Christian community is counting on you!

  • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

    Grrrl, you know it! Uh-huh!

  • http://profiles.google.com/davydd.norris David Philip Norris

    Your problem is that you didn’t have a fully stocked liquor cabinet next to the bed. How else are you going to ensure a continual buzz while you get your freak on with a total stranger?

  • TicklishMeerkat

    I used to be involved with church leadership in a very evangelical denomination. I can tell you you may rest in 100% certainty that just about every one of those stories is made up out of whole cloth if not vastly, hugely, visible-from-orbit exaggerated. Look up Mike Warnke for a classic example of a fabricated conversion sob story. The worse the pre-conversion life, the greater the conversion miracle, and the higher the convert will soar in his chosen denomination. In my day, the best stories involved Satanism, witchcraft (typically both, since the convert only had the fuzziest notion of what either entailed), and child abuse (suffered, not given, obviously). Nowadays evangelicals are scared of different things, so the best stories will involve gayness and drug abuse.

    The normal Christians who lived mostly banal lives, then got “saved” and lived more or less like they had before except 10% poorer and with 50% less weekend, they didn’t get nearly as much press. It’s not hard for an outsider to see why, or to notice that the people with the most dramatic conversion stories are rarely just pew-sitters.

  • Lori – MN

    Just reading her comments made me sick.
    Shall we make the comparison that violent, abusive alcholics are actually gay?
    That woman is full of crap. What is most annoying is that I’ll bet none of the pastors probably questioned her line of thought. They just called out “Testify!” and “Amen!”

  • allein

    You mean I’m not the only one?!

  • allein

    A whole minute? I’m impressed. I didn’t get past the first 10 words.

  • Carmelita Spats

    She’s hearing voices…

    “He [god] said, “It doesn’t even matter how you think you were born, I have the power to make you be born again!”

    I guess mental illness is acceptable within the context of religion. What if she had said the exact same thing with but a slight change, “He [god] said in a low contralto voice through my hair dryer, “It doesn’t even matter how you think you were born, I have the power to make you be born again!”

  • 3lemenope

    Speaking from personal experience, mild alcohol intoxication and moderate cannabis intoxication can be quite pleasant adjuncts to lovemaking. It changes the immediacy and texture of the experience and intensifies emotional lability while decreasing inhibition, tension, and neurosis of rejection. So long as it doesn’t become a crutch or expected and necessary element of the experience, it can be a healthy way to share intimacy in a new way, just one more tool in the toolbag, like toys or massage oil or what-have-you.

    Being fall-down drunk and zotted out of one’s gourd, on the other hand, that doesn’t so much modulate the sexual experience as obliterate it, not least because alcohol makes performance a problem. Not to mention it makes it awfully hard to remember what happened the next day. I don’t know how that could be pleasant. In my experience this sort of behavior has two causes; a prior substance abuse problem that simply intrudes into one more area of life, or an attempt to avoid dealing with unresolved issues of sexual guilt or self-loathing.


  • Kimpatsu

    “The Illinois Family Institute recently hosted former lesbian Linda Jernigan at an event for pastors. (I’m deeply offended that they didn’t send me an invitation.)”
    I didn’t know you were a former lesbian, Hemant…

  • John the Drunkard

    Jee, and I spent the last 14 years of my drinking as a celibate heterosexual! God must be amazingly stupid.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    True, but a pleasant high or mild beer buzz is totally different to “drugged up”. (I’m rather pleasantly high right now, myself, and find that shutting down neuroses and anxiety is a good thing when you’re delving around inside your head, trying to fix things.

  • coyotenose

    That one has been on my playlist for a while :)

  • baal

    The older I get and more life experiences like these that I see, the happier I am that I ‘woke up’ around 11 years old and decided that most folks are only out for themselves and I needed to look out for myself and question everyone else’s rules. I was done with religion (never that far in) pretty shortly there after.
    FWIW, I’m also openly atheist and (semi)open bisexual.

  • MattD

    What’s next, a speech about how depressed people cry a lot?