In a recent post on his blog, Peterson Toscano explains why he describes himself as an ex-gay survivor but not as a victim:

In the nearly 20 years of ex-gay/anti-gay/de-gay treatment I endured, no one ever forced me to do any of it. I chose to submit myself to the unsound and potentially damaging practices designed to demonize and annihilate my sexuality (and much of my personality and gender differences along with it). I elected to go into these programs. I paid for them with my own money (except for when I turned to my parents or others to help with the expenses). I put myself into the ex-gay/anti-gay mess and I KEPT myself in that mess for nearly two decades.

While there are certainly exceptions to this rule, the truth is that most of the GLBT individuals who have gone through ex-gay programs (including this writer) did so voluntarily.  Admitting that does not diminish the harm that churches, peers, family members and the attitudes of society in general caused in leading us to believe that we needed to change who we were in the first place, but it does empower us to take control of our own stories.

We may not be able to change the past, but we can change how our past affects our present, and in so doing free ourselves to live fuller, healthier lives.  In the process, we may just inspire some of those who now face the same pressures to be “normal” to avoid making the same mistakes.

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