There’s a quite interesting article in The Independent about David Akinsanya, a British man who is seeking to change his sexual orientation from gay to straight.
He spent four days in Love In Action before leaving ‘realising that without the religious conviction of the other participants, he could go no further.” However, the article is peppered with terminology that suggesting that in just four days, LIA is able to inculcate their clients with a number of terms and beliefs. For example:
“She had me in secret and, hours after I was born, I was taken from the hospital to the children’s home. I don’t believe that I was necessarily born gay – I think it’s more likely to be something I learnt growing up in that strange environment. It wasn’t desperately unhappy, but it certainly wasn’t a normal childhood. We were cared for by one very dominating woman and I’m aware some studies show a link between a matriarchal mother figure and homosexuality.
“My first sexual experiences also took place in that house – usually playing doctors and nurses with older boys. Also, I idolised my father, a university lecturer. His visits were irregular and when I knew he was coming, I would sit on the front doorstep waiting for him. As a result, I believe I grew up craving male attention.”
It is clear that Akinsanya bought into the LIA pseudo-psychological distant father, dominant mother argument. And he also seems to have absorbed the “some studies show” language of the anti/ex-gay movement.
His observations about LIA’s “success” seem fairly consistent with what those who do not go to work for the ministry say:
“Even the course organisers, who claim to have been converted, admitted they still struggle with homosexual feelings,” he says. “They seemed to be in some strange no man’s land.”
But still he seems to accept celibacy, the reduced goal of LIA, without recognizing the irony that it put him in the same category as the LIA organizers:
But he says his time there wasn’t wasted. “I have more control over the choices I make. I feel empowered to choose celibacy as a result of the course, at least for the time being.
Interestingly, he put the distant father, dominant mother theory to the test with Dr. Rahman (the co-author of Born Gay) and found:
Once back from the United States, Akinsanya pursued another line of investigation: that his sexuality was determined before he was born, and that the unusual events of his childhood were incidental. He attended the laboratory of Dr Qazi Rahman at the University of East London, whose work on foetal development and testosterone levels is renowned. Akinsanya underwent a number of tests, including measurement of his response to sudden loud noises and assessment of such spatial skills as his ability to rotate cubes conceptually. Both types of tests differentiate strongly between heterosexual and homosexual subjects. Akinsanya says he came out as “gay, gay, gay!” in every test.
For the time being, Akinsanya has accepted that changing his sexuality may be impossible, but is open-minded and optimistic about the future. “It will be a real sadness if I don’t have a child. But I have to accept that you can’t have everything in life.”
It seems to me that Akinsanya is a very conflicted man. Whatever measurable analysis is available shows that he responds as a gay man. His observations of the ex-gay ministry he attends suggests that those touted as a “success” are living in a “strange no man’s land” and that the best they can offer him is celibacy, and yet he hopes against hope that he can be straight and father a child. He parrots the ex-gay “studies”. It really is sad.
And it becomes clear how cruel it is of LIA and others to encourage this man. He is clearly in need of therapy, but not of the sort they have to offer.