Jon Rowe has been blogging recently on the nature of bisexuality. Jon’s a very smart guy and his posts always provide interesting reading–and there are some implications there for the gay/ex-gay conversation.
Even the most optimistic ex-gay proponents and researchers acknowledge that reparative therapy has a modest success rate. Few ex-gays report a true "conversion" experience; the remainder simply learn to cope by maneuvering around their natural sexuality.
Following Jon’s breakdown, it’s possible that some Kinsey 4’s and 5’s (people who ordinarily would not "flourish in any other relationship than a homosexual one"), are able–through force of will–to suppress their natural instinct for sexual and emotional fulfillment because they are capable of at least some heterosexual attraction.
But what about people who are true 6’s on Kinsey’s scale? What does reparative therapy hope to offer these people? A life without any sexuality at all? They never quite answer this question… When I was in the ex-gay movement, the answer was essentially, "Tough. It’s your fault that you can’t change, because see? One guy in Akron and one woman in Tucson are Real Heterosexuals now–so it’s possible."
It’s true that a tiny fraction of highly motivated gays are able to manipulate their sexuality into some semblance of hetero-normality. However, the ex-gay movement uses that fact as a weapon to bash the majority of gay people: those who have no ability or inclination to change.
We get into a losing argument the moment we start to debate whether or not change is possible, and the theoretical merits of reparative therapies, etc. Someone, somewhere will always have an example of an ex-gay who is truly ex-gay, and happy about it. But that mere fact proves nothing.
The only winning strategy is for us to take up the banner of personal liberty–and not just as talking points. We have to mean it.
You want to live as an ex-gay? Great! Get down with your bad self. We will never interfere in your decision to pursue your happiness. Meanwhile, please mind your own business while we pursue happiness for ourselves.