On his personal blog, Exodus Executive Vice President Randy Thomas recently complained about an interview with a Florida newspaper. He took issue with the interviewer’s use of the word “alleged” to describe what he reported as a change in his sexual orientation:
You say that you left behind homosexuality fifteen years ago and three years into it you had this alleged sexual orientation shift away from men and sexually attracted to women?
To this Mr. Thomas responded:
I said that there was nothing “alleged” about the sexual orientation shift. It is my sexual orientation and it changed. There is nothing “alleged” about it…
… I told her, I hope kindly, that I thought her question revealed an inherent bias. For example, if someone told her that he was gay, you wouldn’t state that they are “allegedly” gay. You would think that if they say that about themselves, they would know.
This struck me as incredibly hypocritical considering Mr. Thomas’ own habitual use of the word “identified” (as in “gay identified”) when referring to individuals who have stated that they were gay, just as suggested in the hypothetical. To quote Mr. Thomas’ own words, you would think that if they say that about themselves, they would know. Yet he insists on interjecting this little bit of ex-gay newspeak as if those who report they are gay are not really, but only playing a role – something like gay house perhaps.
I would like to submit the obvious in the interviewer’s defense. Saying that one is gay, even today, is basically a statement against interest – people don’t seem to do so unless it’s true because they have nothing to gain and often a lot to lose. On the other hand, those suggesting that they were once gay, but now are not, are relatively rare, often paid to speak about it (Mr. Thomas himself), connected with scandal, or just move on. In other words, give the interviewer a break, she has good reason to distrust your statement Mr. Thomas. If you are still uncertain as to why, try Shakespeare, though this quote seems more appropriate to me.