Thursday, April 07, 2005

Ex-Gays, Do They Exist?

The answer to this question, obviously, is of course they do. Getting down to what actually constitutes an ex-gay person and a gay person gets a little more hairy, though. Is an ex-gay person just a gay person that now chooses not to act on his/her same sex attractions? Is an ex-gay person now feeling attractions to both men and women but only acting on one of them? Or, is an ex-gay person now no longer attracted to the same sex and only attracted to the opposite sex?

I guess the answer depends on who you ask. Lots of moderately well-known ex-gays will fully admit that being ex-gay is a struggle that may never end. Others claim that they no longer feel any attractions to the same sex.

In the end, the consensus for most fully enlightened people that have actually been through the struggle of being gay or ex-gay is that whatever the definition is, this really is a struggle that won't happen overnight for the huge majority of people. This school counselordoesn't seem to get that though when he says, "There is a middle ground, where children who need support and protection from harassment can receive it, while Christian children are also protected form false teaching about orientation issues. But some children and their parents need to hear a message of hope that orientation is indeed changeable, and that there is help for them if they wish to change."

To me, this kind of statement is really dangerous. It makes uninformed parents that don't want a gay child think that change is out there and the solution to all of their cures. Do some people change? Probably? Do all? No. Telling people that sexuality is indeed changeable without any type of caveat mentioning that many people do not change or at least mentioning how long and hard of a struggle it is is really dangerous to me.

This is the problem I often have with a lot of straight conservatives. The answer is always too simple for them. Don't want to be gay- change! Want to marry- change and marry a woman! Don't want to sin- change! Most that I have talked to never have really sat down and listened to the whole story. Besides listening to the Exodus leaders of the world who will tell them how change is out there, have they ever talked to a gay person that has tried for years and decades to change but has not? Have they ever talked to someone like me that prayed every night for this all to go away? To someone that spent his teenage years trying to hide and avoid his deepest secret. That has now grown up to decide change hasn't worked, so maybe acceptance isn't all that bad. For so many, it's all about this "evil" group of gays. This lump of gays that are trying to indoctrinate our kids. Who cares if they are individuals with their own struggles and stories? After all, why listen to them, they are trying to recruit our kids!

4 Comments:

At 8/4/05 8:32 AM, Anonymous TristanRobin said...

The only study the ex-gay proponents use to back their argument was taken out of context.

Anti-gay activists can cite only one study (by Dr. Robert Spitzer) to support their contention that gays cans become straight.  The problem is that the author of that study has come out and said that the ex-gay proponents misinterpreted his work:

"I anticipated some misuse of the study results but I did not anticipate that some of the media would say such ridiculous things as that the study raised the issue of homosexuality and choice.  Of course no one chooses to be homosexual and no one chooses to be heterosexual.  I did anticipate, and in my presentation warn, that it would be a mistake to interpret the study as implying that any highly motivated homosexual could change if they really were motivated to do so.  I suspect that the vast majority of gay people - even if they wanted to - would be unable to make the substantial changes in sexual attraction and fantasy and enjoyment of heterosexual functioning that many of my subjects reported.  I also warned against the study results being used to justify pressuring gay people to enter therapy when they had no interest in doing so and I have already heard of many incidents where that has happened.  That is what troubles me the most about this controversy." - Dr. Robert Spitzer, May 16, 2001

much more about the ex-gay movement on
http://www.hatecrime.org/exgay.html and
http://www.anythingbutstraight.com/learn/reptherhist.html

 
At 8/4/05 9:18 AM, Blogger Brady said...

Tristan-

I agree. Spitzer is an interesting guy. He's been discussed a lot in many gay and ex-gay blogs. While I appreciate his clarification (I have also seen it before), I don't feel that he makes that clarification enough when he speaks to the conservative side. He likes the attention of going back and forth from one side to another to clarify himself.

In the end, ex-gays that once were only attracted to the same sex and now are only attracted to the opposite sex probably exist. But, the ex-gays out there and ex-gay groups should be more forthcoming about the general success rates and the struggle that this type of movement actually entails instead of being so adamant that gays can and should change.

 
At 19/4/05 1:26 PM, Blogger Brad said...

I'm glad that there are no ex-gay groups in my town. At first, I was kinda bummed by that fact, but now I've been able to look for an authentic, diverse body of Christ. I don't have to be labeled an ex-gay. I can just be open about my struggle and have my brothers and sisters pray with me and hold my hand.

 
At 19/4/05 2:20 PM, Blogger Brady said...

Hi Fuelguy,

Thanks for posting. I've stopped by a few times on your blog too, and I have enjoyed reading it.

I am glad you are happy with your church community now. A question for you, I know you no longer identify as gay, and I am pretty sure you are not actively gay (as in the sexual part of things), but my understanding is that you still have attractions to the same sex?

This is pure curiosity, no alterior motive at all, but have you ever been attracted to the opposite sex? Is your attraction to the same sex diminishing?

I personally have never been attracted to females and have been attracted to males for a long time. I don't really see this changing, and one of the things that I considered in my life was celibacy vs. love and what that meant for me. Have you had to sit down with that decision and decide which road to take? (I ask because I think some bisexual people may not have to deal with this aspect of SSA, they can ignore or supress SSA and find someone of the opposite sex that they fall in love with).

Anyay, I would love to hear your thoughts if you are willing to share.

 

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