Exodus International Lays off Staff, Cuts Benefits
Minutes ago, Exodus President Alan Chambers announced the following on the organizations Facebook page:
Dear friends, please pray for us at Exodus. We have experienced an unexpectedly low giving season this summer coupled with much higher expenses (insurance, utilities, etc). Sadly, we have had to let several staff go. Your prayers are appreciated. For those who are also having to endure this unfriendly economy, our prayers are with you!
On his own page, Chambers adds that they have cut benefits as well. Exodus left a modest set of leased offices in the Spring of 2008 in favor of their own building, complete with million dollar mortgage. Servicing that debt can’t be helping now that funds are scarce and the demand for ex-gay referrals appears in decline. The first indication of financial difficulties came with the layoffs of two staff members late that same year.
Where does one go with such a resume?
Edited 8/23/2010 to include archived image of Facebook entry which was blocked from general view after post.
I understand the Marin Foundation is undergoing some growth at the moment.
I also understand the Exodus model is still considered valid in places like Uganda, Nigeria, Jamaica etc. Places where gay people really are (set) on fire for Jesus.
There you go Alan, a few hot leads right off the top of my head. Gratis.
The numbers started turning sour for Exodus 2 years ago — still awaiting release of 2009 Form 990, which will be fascinating. That mortgage was very ill-timed, and it would be poetic justice for Exodus to be sunk by the Worthen Legacy Group Inc.
Yeah, sinking Exodus would be a very appropriate final act in the name of Frank Worthen.
Urgh, dang. Why is that annoying auto-bible-ing feature still on 😐
I don’t understand. i thought god was on their side. Maybe they can ask their good friends the mor(m)ons and the kathliks to gimmem some dinero.
I’m not religious, but I am tempted to pray for them—pray that they go out of business!
This is an interesting development, because Alan said in a recent interview with CNN that their ministry is still as alive as ever.
I do not relish people being laid off from their jobs. I know what that’s like. I will send up a prayer that those people and their families will be able to survive. Humans are humans – they may be misguided at Exodus but I believe very few might be called truly “evil.”
Ben somewhat has a point; the Mormons and Catholics have deep pockets – why not turn to them?
Possibly because Exodus is too closely wedded to the Southern Baptist Convention and Assemblies of God, with a few fundamentalist Anglican and Methodist leaders providing token diversity. I think they boxed themselves in through years of association with Focus on the Family, with local SBC megachurches, and with SBC anti-gender leader Bob Stith.
Do not the megachurches have money, then?
I am not sad to see layoffs at Exodus. While it might bring some short term financial difficulties, it will probably move people in a more productive direction.
Exodus has been living off the profits of selling the sexual orientation change through their “ministries” snake oil for years. It would be nice to see fewer people victimized by this particular fraud.
I’m sure part of it is the general economy, but not all of it. To remain useful to the culture wars, Exodus would need to become more shrill and extreme. I disagree with their general premise, but if anything (and to their credit, frankly) Exodus has moved farther away from the extremes of that world. The deep pockets only open for the true nuts these days, the ones holding on to the fear and hatred necessary to wring money from the choir. I’m pretty sure we have seen the peak of Exodus, and ex-gay ministry in general.
Delicious schadenfreude. Let the liars atrophy.
I have no sympathy for either EXODUS or anyone financially affected by their monetary problems. Their programs only reinforce dated stereotypes about the LGBT community and do great damage. May they decline and fade away – SOON!
It’s always so easy to be gleeful when difficulties befall those with whom you disagree. Exodus Ministries will likely prosper because people like me who have benefited from the ministry will increase our gifts. The results speak for themselves. There are many men and women who make a personal decision to seek information and support for their own desire to challenge what they see as unwanted same-sex attraction in their lives. We are free to choose. Every ministry should go through occasional belt-tightening and self-examination. The end result is usually a leaner, more productive, more focused ministry that is clear on its priorities. I pray that will be the outcome at Exodus, a ministry many appreciate for its truthfulness and compassion.
On the trip across the Atlantic on his way to the conference in Uganda, Schmierer was summarized as saying the following by a fellow traveller:
One might guess that after all the fallout over Uganda and Exodus forced to make more moderate statements on criminalizing gay sex if Exodus not only lost contributions because of the economy, but also because of the forced moderation of views in the organization. Those ultra-conservatives who formerly might have happily aided Exodus may no longer be so inclined.
Howard Ahmanson, if ancient memory serves, was once a reliable source of funding for Rev. Rousas John Rushdoony’s Christian Reconstruction movement, which was anti-democracy…anti-most everything, for that matter…except for the John Birch Society, the Gold Standard, and slavery. (Rushdoony even instructed future slave masters on how to mark their permanent slaves…with pierced ears to show that they were in a state of permanent subjugation, like women. I have read his ‘Institutes of Biblical Law,’ ages ago, and I think this is from that.) However, old age seems to be mellowing Ahmanson a bit, I’ve heard. Perhaps he’s decided that God doesn’t really care if someone is Gay?
oh, just leave people alone. the world is so complicated and yet you have to try to “change” others. i suspect there’s some change needed within your organization. why do you fear gay people? they just want the same basic human rights as anyone else. often those wanting to change other people are exactly like those people they are trying to change. it’s a way of deflecting away from one’s own struggles or inability to face who they really are. i wish you happiness and health but not at the expense of other people. embrace who you are. work on who you are. be who you are. leave other people’s business alone.
I’m not sure where you found glee in my brief post. Chambers has made the statement a number of times that his perfect end-game would be a world where Exodus was unnecessary. As evangelical Christianity stops flipping out over homosexuality, especially at the church level, where will be the need for even a benign Exodus?
Even the venerable Focus on the Family is divesting itself of it’s ex-gay, and even gay focused divisions. I suspect that sites like this one will be unnecessary as well within another 5 years. Society does not turn on a dime, so the negative effects will carry on for a time. But it will soon be almost impossible to get the rational, moderate middle to put any stock in the need or the ability of anyone to change their sexual orientation — as you said, the results speak for themselves.
So I will have to disagree with your outlook on Exodus’ future.
I’ve attended a number of Exodus conferences and I’ve heard Alan make that statement. I agree with it myself and blog constantly about the need for the local church to respond with compassion and truth to those who struggle with sexual brokenness — not just same-sex attraction, but pornography addiction, heterosexual lust, idolatry — and help them resolve their issues within a supportive church body. Churches are everywhere; local Exodus ministries are scarce in some areas of the country. If the church were responsible — not flipping out and not hiding out — organizations like Exodus indeed would not be necessary. As for Focus on the Family, it is good for resources, but I still believe this should be a local church issue and I hope churches will assume the responsibility for their church family.
My comment about “glee,” really was intended to deal more with the whole of the comments being made and not yours specifically. I hope I did not offend you; that was not my intent.
I think the rational, moderate middle is waking up, but it is to the need to help people understand and make personal decisions regarding their perceived sexual orientations. As a result, more and more people will likely be able to make reasoned decisions based on faith and personal belief, not peer pressure or fear. I, for one, believe that God’s plan for me did not include acting out sexually with someone of the same sex, even though I was attracted. Surely you would not quarrel with my desire to please God? It has nothing to do with Exodus. It has to do with me and my creator. Still, Exodus and my local Exodus ministry have been very helpful to me in my pursuit of freedom. They did not lure me in; I looked for help and they were there.
I hope the support for Exodus grows for the time that it is needed.
Wow. Unwanted same-sex attraction. Is that because of your religious brainwashing as a child or did you just choose to believe in fairy-tales because it’s easier than dealing with you sexuality?
Exodus pushes the fraud of sexual orientation change. They have never shown that they can change anyone’s sexual orientation. Alan Chambers himself admits to daily struggle, not consumating his marriage for over 9 months and that he “can never be as he never was” or some such nonsense. Randy Thomas is equally still as gay as he ever was. It is all just a fraud, and at this point almost everyone in America has caught on to the fraud.
I realize that there will always be some who will stand up and say that Exodus is a force for good despite all the evidence to the contrary, including the deadly mix of hate and violence they deliberately stirred up in Uganda. Just as you can probably find someone to say that Bernie Madoff was just misunderstood, you’ll find people who will say good things about Alan, Randy and Exodus. But really, they are just parasites that derive their livelihoods from taking money by perpetuating the self-hatred that some gay and lesbian people grow up with, and promoting the hatred and discrimination that their right wing friends like to inflict on gay and lesbian American citizens (as well as some even more vulnerable gay and lesbian people in other parts of the world).
This is no noble endeavor. It would be really nice if an outsized mortgage serves as the undoing of the outsized egos of these two charlatans and their organization.
Unfortunately, this is a Red Herring. The ex-gay equation has never been about denying an individual’s desire to please their God — quite the opposite in fact. But to protect such rights for everyone, including those with no particular faith at all, faith can’t be used to force a stamp of approval on practices and theories which are otherwise unfounded, unscientific and ill-advised. And when organizations try to do that, there must be a healthy counter-point available.
The denial of rights has flowed in the other direction. The Church has tried to use the force of law to mold others in the image of a narrative contrived by some, and repeated by others. No lie has been too despicable, no catch-phrase too hateful, no amount of money too great to impede the Church from destroying itself over a fools errand sold as a righteous cause. I suspect the people paying those bills have just about had their fill.
And yet after all that there is still no one coming after your rights, Thom. Oh yes, there are a bunch of vipers selling the nebulous fear that such a thing is coming, that the destruction of religion or marriage or the family or whatever is the real goal. But in truth, equality is still the only thing on the table. And since ex-gay ministries aren’t of the same value to that fight as they once were, don’t expect a lot of money to prop them up.
Huh? Where does that come from? I was not making a statement on my or anyone else’s sexuality. I certainly accept that I am gay.
I was commenting on Don Schmierer, who is a board member of Exodus as well as a Program Officer for Howard Ahmanson’s Fieldstead & Co. (last I looked him up on LinkedIn). Fieldstead is the company by which Ahmanson hands out the primary portion of his charitable contributions. In simpler words, Schmierer is (was?) the person channeling Ahmanson money into Exodus. In March 2009 on the eve of the conference in Uganda, Schmierer was quite confident of the financial future of Exodus despite the economic downturn, Obama presidency, etc. (that is if the post by his companion on the plane is accurate).
Furthermore, Schmierer, despite how Exodus has tried to paint him, exhibited a rather homophobic view when he stated that ‘the Nazis were all gay.’ That statement is also indicative of Schmierer’s knowledge that Scott Lively would be at the Uganda conference and his tacit affirmation of Lively’s revisionist work on the Nazis. Those are just some of the ultra-conservative viewpoints which during the year 2009 Chambers and Exodus were forced to repudiate. Heck, they’ve even had falling outs with PFOX and LaBarbera. Thus my final point that in committing to a more moderate line, Exodus may have lost some of its major funding.
Some people believe that they are pleasing God by flagellating themselves, by wearing spiked bracelets round their ankles which lacerate their flesh, and by other, similar sorts of self-abuse.
If you choose to believe that you are pleasing God by denying yourself a sexual relationship and by attempting to reject your natural sexuality, then I think that that’s a bizarre idea, but it’s entirely up to you. Fortunately the number of people who are prepared to take such notions seriously grows ever fewer, so the days of Exodus (and of like organizations) are numbered.
No doubt some people do come up with odd ways to demonstrate what they believe is pleasing to God. For me it’s not an issue of lacerating the flesh or abusing self. It’s merely an issue of accepting Him and following Him where He leads. Such following has not denied me a sexual relationship . . . perhaps a bit of sexual release here and there with people I did not have a relationship with . . . but that would have been the case even if I were totally heterosexual in expression from the point of puberty. I know we could easily get into arguments we have all been in before, which would likely convince no one in this forum. I have found — as the Bible says — that the burden is light when Christ bears it . . . and I have no need to subject myself to bizarre remedies that bring attention to me.
You may think my pursuit is bizarre, but I have been on the flip side of this pursuit as well and take the notion ever more seriously now. And I am far from alone. As the issue of sexual orientation becomes more discussed, people find themselves better able to make informed decisions rather than just being persuaded by those who have accepted themselves as unable to change. Exodus is just an organization; freedom from sexual brokenness is a higher goal. Regardless of what happens to organizations, individuals in pursuit of God’s plan for them will not find Him turning a deaf ear. Those of us who understand that this is a process of turning to Him and away from sexual brokenness will endure because of Him and no-one else. Anyone who believes anything other than a commitment to Christ will set them free is misguided.
This is not a rights issue at all. We all have the right to be what God intends us to be . . . and the right to reject that right.
I’ve known many women with anorexia, Asians who sought or underwent eye surgery to change the epicanthic fold of their eye, Jews from Soviet Russia who disliked being Jewish and many blacks who went through all kinds of expense, pain and intense self esteem issues to change anything from their hair to their noses, to their rejection of associating with other black people.
We could say all this is a result of unwanted, undesirable curvy bodies, almond shaped eyes, cultural Jewish heritage and black physical and cultural realities.
But neither ex gays, nor the industries that exploit the unwanted desires of homosexuality don’t discuss, is why it’s unwanted to begin with. However normal, natural and inescapable one’s situation is.
The ex gay industry indulges in stereotypes, and undercuts pride in one’s individual character and potential.
Being a member of an undesirable group, with undesirable characteristics isn’t new and homosexuals are hardly the only people.
But it being unwanted is a symptom of the unhealthy and demeaning ways culture attacks uniqueness and normalcy and requires commitment to an unrealistic, if not impossible ideal.
In other words, Exodus profits from ignorance, fear and the damaging environments of systemic bigotry and discrimination. Sells heterosexuality as moral and spiritual reform (regardless that heterosexuals don’t require any such thing to be accepted without challenge).
And heteros ARE accepted without challenge, where gay people are exhausting themselves to be.
Homosexuality is not sexual brokenness any more than curves are bodily brokenness, but when one is confronted with how successful heteros and the thin are, with no need to prove anything moral or talented about their character, then Exodus’s claims are tempting and a seemingly welcome relief from the alternative.
You’re selling greener grass. But exacerbating something more sinister and less healthy than full acceptance of homosexuality.
B******t grows greener grass too.
Honesty and accepting one’s life as gay and moving towards not only greater self determination, but helping one’s brethren to get their too, carries FAR more courage and strength of character than being ex gay ever could.
So it’s much more than a matter of opinion since ex gay groups insert themselves in politics and educational standards.
It’s maintaining the age old tradition of supremacists and validating bigotry. Not new.
And I’m speaking as a black woman, seeing much damage done to perfectly normal people from the likes of you who embrace those hypocritical supremacist values.
Those ex gays who strain to convince how holy and happy they are now, are hollow and empty vessels.
Because one action cancels the other out, especially the action of validating systemic discrimination and supporting policies that maintain prejudice. Making honesty and trust impossible.
It’s a lot like a light skinned black, passing for white to escape the brutality of Jim Crow, supporting Jim Crow laws or anything else that keeps their darker brethren from realizing their full potential.
What would YOU think of someone like that?
That’s right. Not much if you were truly moral and concerned about the happiness and well being of your fellow man.
I think that you’ve made your position clear. You believe that being gay (or same sex attraction, as some people prefer to call it, as though the use of an alternative jargon can somehow change reality) is a form of “sexual brokenness” from which we need freedom; that a commitment to Christ will bring about this freedom; and that God intends everyone to be heterosexual.
It is precisely this way of thinking that more and more people find impossible to take seriously. Some still do, of course, but they are a shrinking minority. That is why I think that ex-gay ministries are an idea whose time has come and gone.
I have spoken about myself and my beliefs, not of others and theirs. I haven’t belittled anyone for their own personal decisions, though I do disagree that, as you say, homosexuality is a normal, natural and inescapable situation. Perhaps I will always feel the twinge of temptation. We are not promised to be temptation-free and there are ways to deal with it beyond just indulgence.
The reason I describe this as a personal decision is that, in reality, society is making it easier to actually be good personally with the whole gay persona. It’s a smokescreen to continue talking about all the “systematic discrimination” and prejudice. I’ve long realized that I would find greater, albeit — from my perspective — hollow, support from the gay community as a professed gay person than I do from the heterosexual or Christian community as I do as a professed struggler. Churches are still considerably confused about how to approach strugglers.
I think the comparison you throw out regarding light-skinned blacks trying to escape the ignorance and brutality of Jim Crow laws is not at all valid. Your claim that our country’s restrictions on those who claim a homosexual orientation keeps them from realizing their full potential does not rise to any level of comparison to the racial discrimination that haunts our past. You cheapen the battle of those who came before you when you compare it.
Do I want people to be happy? Of course, I do. But I am not as concerned about my own happiness or anyone else’s as I am concerned about our pursuit of wholeness and holiness. We can please ourselves and everyone around us in any way we choose and still fall far short of what God intended. And we can define morality in any way we wish, but it won’t mean a thing outside of His will.
In our world, pretty much anyone who has half-a-brain inserts themselves into politics and educational standards and we do so because we seek change based on what we believe. That is a freedom we all share. For you to discredit any group for doing so discredits your own group.
I don’t feel supreme over you, nor bigoted towards you. I want the freedom to pursue what I believe is right and good for me based upon my decision to follow Christ and nothing or no-one else.
I’m not trying to convince you of either my holiness or my happiness. Only God knows clearly the state of either. However, for you to declare that someone is hollow and empty just because he has chosen a route to peace that is different than yours is judgmental and dismissive. And perhaps maintains a reverse prejudice on your part.
I do not ascribe to your view that honesty and trust are impossible unless we all line up with your understanding.
I use the “jargon” of same-sex attraction because that is realistic to me. I don’t label myself as gay, I found myself to be a man who, for reasons we needn’t debate here, found himself with a physical attraction to people of the same sex. My beliefs regarding what God intends are based on what God says in His word. I don’t consider myself worthy to re-write it to suit my personal attractions. He was clear about the one-man-one-woman monogamous relationship design. His idea; not mine. But, being God, His idea trumps all of ours or whatever efforts we make to fit it into our plans rather than we into His.
I’m not sure how you validate your claim regarding a shrinking minority. I see more and more people these days who are trying to discover the truth about their sexuality. As a result, many are coming to the realization that the struggle is worth it. It may be that it is a minority in a sense that, as we address it through truth and compassion, more men and women reject the notion that we are bound by our temptations and unable to find our way back into God’s design. Not everyone who finds freedom bears a trumpet; some move on in relief.
Ex-gay ministries’ time has not come and gone. Perhaps they will evolve and the once timid church will rise to so what it should already have been doing.
Are you a professional ex-gay? On your website, you advertise yourself as available to talk to groups. Has anyone taken you up on your offer and paid you or otherwise compensated you for showing up to talk?
One of the problems with using your own special language is that it makes discussion more difficult because there lacks a common meaning. It can also be rather insulting to have the intimate relationship with the love of one’s life reduced to “acting out of sexual brokenness.” I do get it, you have started with an interpretation of Christian scripture which necessitates modifying the established language of science and social understanding into something that fits the narrative of your life and outlook on the world. I’ve ignored it in your discussion here because I’m just not interested in that level of discussion at this point — it doesn’t get us anywhere. But I would be lying if I said it didn’t sound at the very least gauche.
Concerning Regan, I would not dismiss her considerable knowledge on the subject out of hand. Civil rights struggles are not restricted to race, and the negative effects of the thoroughly uncivil treatment of gays and lesbians will affect us for decades to come. Who could seriously deny the lingering affects of racism on our society, long after the major legal battles were won. Humanity has a deep, resilient collective memory.
Thom, you are free to believe as you wish and certainly to live your life as you see fit as long as it does not prevent me from doing the same. You should expect, however, that fewer people will share your version of the facts. There is a fundamental intolerance to intolerance in our population, deriving from a basic sense of fair play. I had a client not long ago interject his belief in the basic inferiority of certain races. After short debate illustrated that he was both serious and dedicated to that opinion, he became an ex-client. There are many issues for which I am willing to accept, even invite, divergent views. That was not one of them.
For an increasing number of people, your views on homosexuality will get the same reception.
Actually, it’s not a website, but a personal blog. I’m not sure what a “professional ex-gay” is. I am a professional, but that comes from my career in journalism and public relations and as a professional writer, not my sexuality. I’m not ex-gay. I was pretty clear that I consider myself someone who has struggled with unwanted same-sex attraction. And, even though the terminology I use is uncomfortable to David, I can’t envision calling myself gay or ex-gay just for his comfort or ease of conversation.
No, I have never been paid or compensated for talking about sexual brokenness or my journey to find wholeness. I would like to share that testimony with groups and I do share it openly on my blog, but there has been no compensation.
I am not trying to prevent you from living your life as you choose. As I’ve stated repeatedly, I believe it is a personal choice and I would not force mine on you. As for your advice that I should expect fewer people to share my version of the facts? I have no such expectations. Indeed, I have found the opposite to be true. However, I write for those who are still searching for the truth. My goal is not to convince you.
I dropped in here primarily to voice my opinion regarding the future of Exodus. I believe the impact to its finances are just an expression of the difficult and hesitant economy we are all experiencing, with pinched cash flows and difficult decisions. If you apply your sense to it, then you would have to assume that other ministries hurting financially — everything from feeding children to caring for the elderly — are being pinched because somehow we have all come to believe that those are not things we should be doing.
We should also keep in mind that the chances that someone now claiming to be ex-gay (or the alternative terms floating around) reversing their view on this to a substantial degree are very high. Even by Exodus standards it’s quite precarious, little better than a crap shoot.
Only time will reveal for certain the destiny of these organizations, but I wouldn’t advise investing in one 😉
I can’t produce any hard statistics, and I don’t know where I’d find them anyway. What I can see is the way that the world around me has changed. True, things are still not as they should be. Gay people who come out can still be rejected by their families; they can still lose their friends, or those who they thought were their friends; they can still be regarded as mentally ill or perverted and be nagged at to seek “treatment” of some kind. But these things are happening far less often than they used to. Out of all my gay friends, I know only one who is not out to and fully accepted by his family. Straight people have openly gay friends with whom they socialize openly and whose relationships they accept calmly without any ridiculous fuss or bother. These things would have been quite exceptional, if not unthinkable, when I was a teenager; they are now well on the way to becoming the norm.
Recently, researchers in Britain discovered that a minority of mental health professionals were still willing to attempt to change a client’s sexual orientation. Alarming? Yes, certainly, but at one time it would have been the majority. One of the UK’s most prominent ex-gay ministries has changed direction, after its founder and director finally faced reality, and has become instead a support group for gay Christians. Furthermore, the ex-gay movement generally has suffered a vast loss of credibility, owing to defections and scandals.
At one time the revelation that a well-known public figure (politician, writer, broadcaster, entertainer etc.) was gay would have been the subject of sensational front page headlines, especially in the tabloid newspapers. Nowadays, if such “news” is reported at all, it is more likely to be relegated to a small paragraph in the inside pages. Why? Because now the predominant public reaction is, “Well, so what?” That more than one member of the UK government is openly gay is a matter of little or no importance to most people.
In short, whether or not the world has moved on, Northern Europe certainly has. Has this had no measurable effect in depressing the demand for “therapy”, religious or secular, to change people’s sexual orientation? It defies all knowledge of human nature to think so. Things may be different over on your side of the Atlantic, but I can’t believe that you’re that far behind. No doubt ex-gay ministry will survive, but as a fringe eccentricity which attracts a few rather odd people.
Do NOT try that dodge (it’s just me, and I’m entitled to what I want) as if there aren’t whole systemic POGROMS to eradicate gay people, or at least make their lives so impossible to live independently, freely and enjoyably, that they might as well prefer NOT to exist.
You are part of a LARGE group who do act politically at the ballot box, and through their elected officials, who demand that school kowtow to denying the very educations about homosexuality that would reduce school and street violence and harassment.
It’s that same old infuriating disingenuous statements that is repeated by ex gays all the time. As if it’s just your ‘opinion’ or private behavior that’s in play and has no effect on anything else whatsoever.
When heteros are asked about homosexuals, the first thing out of their mouths is that gay people can change, so therefore not required to be accorded any accommodation when it comes to civil rights and equality.
This is what they are taught. It’s what you KNOW happens.
And I think it’s cowardly in the first degree to act as if what you do is harmless and doesn’t effect anyone you don’t want it to.
And your assertions that these ministries are strictly compassionate and there for compassionate reasons doesn’t align with reality.
Because no one feels an obligation to civil equality, fighting against any discrimination or Jim Crow like laws that leave gay people vulnerable to the hostile whims of millions.
When a Christian involves themselves in working towards true equality and full citizenship for gay people, then I’ll believe they are acting for compassionate reasons.
Any indulgences that deny that, including claims of no longer being gay, then all bets are off and anything you have to say is HOLLOW and WORTHLESS.
Oh and Thom,
The comparison I make to light skinned blacks not at all belittles the issue of gay people and theirs.
For these reasons:
1. The impetus of Jim Crow was mainly because of the myths and misinformation fomented around black SEXUALITY. That black males were immature, promiscuous, immoral and unnaturally attracted to and without sexual restraint about white females.’ ***just look at their out of wedlock births and low marriage rates, blacks have no respect for marriage or their own children’s welfare.***’.
Were the latter used to this day as moral reform and a means of denying marriage to blacks, Jim Crow would still be in effect. Indeed, segregationists DID use the only statistical information available birth and marriage info to ban marriage for blacks in LA, MS and AL between the years 1952 and 1962 who had cohabited or had children out of wedlock.
2. Discrimination against blacks was utilized as moral reform, Christians such as Mormons, Southern Baptists, Presbyterians and so on…pooled their considerable resources to deny integration.
3. Light skinned blacks were still black. Just as gay people are still gay. Abandoning the social, political and professional networks that would mark your identity is PASSING, not CHANGING. Celibacy does not test the quality of a relationship, and sex lives lived heterosexually are not scrutinized as to THEIR quality by heterosexuals. Passing is possible, change is not. And the price to maintain the fiction is dishonesty, unfair and hypocritical expectations and what remains is the most unhealthy aspect of all. Bigotry and discrimination. Because the assumption, the PERSISTENT assumption is that homosexuality creates an inferior, untrustworthy and worthless person.
Just as the assumption of inferiority conferred on gay people is.
I know what is demeaning to the process of the civil rights movement: people like PFOX, NOM and ADF claiming THEIR rights are compromised because they are restricted from damaging their freedoms and protections.
Especially if they are called out on their LYING about the intentions, motives and character of gay people.
Lying, character assassination and punishing for demanding equal access is something that gay people share with blacks.
Color was an easier means of achieving segregation, but marital status is another means of achieving the same against gay people.
Any there were many gay people on the front lines fighting for the civil rights of their gay peers. So don’t YOU belittle the heroism and commitment of gay people’s compassionate responses to some utterly impossible and cruel laws.
And this you heard from a black woman, the daughter of staunch civil rights activists.
I am a volunteer or member of the following institutions.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (since it’s founding).
The Simon Weisenthal Museum of Tolerance
My family name is on a precedent in Constitutional law in California.
YOU don’t EVER tell me what diminishes or cheapens the civil rights battle.
Although a different group, the urgency of the battle for gay equality is no LESS than what other groups like Jews or women have endured.
Because anti gay sentiment is rooted mostly in misogyny, but has a brutal imprint and always has on millions of lives.
YOUR way is past it’s shelf life. And has no positive results worth mentioning to continue it.
Being ex gay is defined by something very bad and it keeps gay people at a distance from validation with the dominant culture.
Essentially it’s time ex gays got off the floor and let someone else have their time to speak for themselves.
Ex gay ministries have been at it a long, long time and should have the grace to step back. Their time is OVER.
I meant to say the assumption of inferiority is conferred on gay people, just as it was on blacks.
It’s ALL bad to do that.
Because it’s not true and never was.
THAT is what gay people have in common with a culture that’s been determined to dominate them and treat them both like bad children.
Blacks were never expected to live, contradict or challenge the status quo of whites and were spoken of and to as if children incapable of self reliance and self determination.
There is a great deal of the same condescension coming from heteros when they speak to and of gay people.
Gay people should not be permitted to have sex, enjoy adult relationships, raise children, have the professions that talent and interest dictate, live where they want to, serve in uniform or be rewarded for exemplary contributions to the welfare of society.
Gay people are not expected to be trusted, speak on their own behalf, be believed or expected to be fully responsible, challenge heteros or show anger, pain or sass back.
In other words: live and respond to anything as if they are children and heteros are their parents.
Gay people feel a serious and legitimate empathy with blacks for a good legitimate reason.
THEY have more in common WITH blacks, than heterosexual Christian white males EVER could.
@Thom: Your use of the term sexual brokenness is, from my point of view, an ideological point, not a scientific one and certainly not a religious one– it appears nowhere in scripture, nowhere outside of the tracts of the exgay industry. you may be sexually broken, but I suspect you are really just broken by self hatred, no matter how much you wish to dress it up in its Sunday-go-to-meetin’ drag. To me, it just reflects the obsession of the conservative wings of Abrahamic religions with sexual “sin”, practically to the exclusion of all other “sin”, and certainly to the exclusion of what Jesus seemed to be concentrating on in his ministry.
When someone tells you that you are dirty, sick, unclean, and especially, sinful and in need to salvation (which they offer, of course, at a price) it is the biggest mistake in the world to assume that 1) it’s true, and 2) that they are telling you for your benefit, and not for their own. The concept of sin, especially YOUR sin, becomes the expression of their will and their way of seeing the world, and if it is making you unhappy, or interfering with your life, then that is probably a good test of its truth value. Likewise, you pay the price with happiness in your life, while they reap the benefits– or, validation– and the “glory”.
It is your choice, of course. But since lots of gay people are Christians, and quite happy as Christians, and don’t share your beliefs, since ex-gay therapy has never proved to be anything other than snake oil– complicated, difficult, ambiguous snake oil– to quote some of its more honest proponents, since the anti-ex-gay industries also peddles a great deal of fear mongering outright lies and distortions and hate-filled propaganda in its attacks on gay people…
…well, frankly, I would have a great deal of difficulty accepting anything say, including the benevolence of their motivations– especially that.
But here is where you lose me, and betray YOUR motivations:
“I think the comparison you throw out regarding light-skinned blacks trying to escape the ignorance and brutality of Jim Crow laws is not at all valid. Your claim that our country’s restrictions on those who claim a homosexual orientation keeps them from realizing their full potential does not rise to any level of comparison to the racial discrimination that haunts our past. You cheapen the battle of those who came before you when you compare it. ”
Of course they compare, but it is to the ideological advantage of anti-gay people to pretend that they don’t.
Many people can’t hide it, and more than some black people can’t lighten their skin. Kids get beat up on the playground for being gay, long before anybody’s gaydar goes off, long before they could announce themselves.
There is not an exact correspondence for oppression suffered by black people and gay people– a better comparison would be gay people and Jews– but there are a lot of similarities, because oppression is oppression. And no black kid ever got kicked out of his family or his church for being black.
Here are a few good comparisons:
Murdered for being gay or black. Matthew shepherd. check.
Denied a promotion for being gay or black. Check.
Denounced and maligned for being black or gay? Check.
Maligned as a danger to normal people. Check.
Laws specifically aimed at keeping you down and unequal? check.
Oppression justified by conservative Christianity? Check.
Law against being black or acting black. Not as far as I know. A Law against being gay? check.
Political campaigns directed at black people and gay people? check.
Owned as slaves? I’m sure there were black slaves.
Assumed superiority of black over white, as straight over gay, with laws designed and social policies designed to make sure you know it, learning to hate yourself, have low expectations of your life? check.
See, if you think about it, we have a lot of similarities. Actually, I have a BETTER thought for you. Maybe you’ll understand this, and then multiply it by centuries.
What if we long ago made it a law that it is ILLEGAL to be black. If found to be black, you could be imprisoned if you were lucky, executed if you weren’t, That is what gay people have faced for centuries– murder, imprisonment, vilification, torture.
And in any case, you would be ostracized and marginalized from non-black society, and perhaps denied employment in a number of fields. No white jury would convict a white person of killing a black man, just like Matthew Shepherd was killed.
Does that sound like anything familiar? Oh, wait a minute. It IS familiar. It has happened consistently to black people in this country, and still happens.
At least as a black person, you have the right to live your life OPENLY as a black person. there are black people to support and nurture you, and give you strength against a prejudiced world. That is something that has been denied to gay people until very recently, and is still the case in much of the world.
Prejudice is prejudice. Oppression is oppression. It is exactly about civil rights– the right to be treated without discrimination by your government, and the insistence by our government that society reflect and support the principle of equal treatment before the law.
Gay people were not enslaved for being gay. but if you want to start totaling up the oppression and see who has the bigger balance…
Black people that were enslaved were subject to about 500 years of slavery by the western peoples. Gay people have been the subject of unrelenting hostility– pogroms, burnings, imprisonment, torture, vilification, campaigns of lies and fear and hate, for about the last 1700, a veritable jihad against our right to exist, and at the hands of the very people who claim to represent the god of love and truth, and how claim to love us but hate our sin. Certianly it makes them feel better about it, but it’s not love at all. It is narcissismm.
It’s just a different kind of slavery, where not merely your body, but your heart, your soul, your will, your faith, and your life are subject to the questionable religious interpretations of people whose motives have very little to do with the truth of scripture, and just about everything to do with their own dark hearts and secrets.
I forgot to add– i know this is aout slef hatred becuase people who hate themselves usually have a great fondness for drama, and for involving other people in their dramas.
If being gay is just a behaviour, as the anti-ex-gay industry claims, and not something inherent in the human psyche, then…
WHY ALL THE DRAMA?
It’s very simple to be no longer gay then: just don’t have sex, and you have satisifed Jesus, Paul, and Hashem himself. But that isn’t what ex-gays do. The sin, they fall, they overcome, they sin again, they strive, they pray, they go to meetings, they sin and strive and pray all over again. It’s like an alcoholic who hasn’t had a drop in 20 years, but still goes to AA meetings weekly. His life and his drama is STILL about alcohol.
Maybe it is time to consider that it isn’t really about being gay at all, but that is a very convenient hook to hang your other person-problem hat on.
Thank you Ben and David.
And as different as we are, we know history, we are empathetic WE want to stop the long sad anti gay legacy.
Ours is the moral fight, the hard one…the better one. Because as said, oppression is oppression and it should always be stopped wherever it is.
I give you a pass for at least saying please. However, much of the rest of what you say is just typical stereotyping and broad assumption designed to shut out and shut down a belief that differs from yours. It’s like bullying. My beliefs are shaped in part by my experiences, as are yours.
Rather than take any offense at the things you direct at me personally, I’ll just pass that off as due to the fact that you really know nothing about me at all. I truly do understand the ramifications you face. I was twice disciplined and removed from churches myself and have felt clearly the sting of rejection from people I thought would always accept me. If anyone ever had a reason to shift into a gay identity, it would have been me. I lost everything, including a very professional job. Still, I knew clearly that I am not gay. Just as clearly as you apparently believe you are. I remain thankful, as a Christian, that I could turn to others who understood from my perspective. Perhaps your preference is that your perspective be the only guide?
That is why it is so important to me that I put the gain of following God’s will above all else, including my personal satisfaction.
I appreciate your stamina. We just happen to disagree on a core issue.
I am not working politically anywhere to deprive you of your right to choose your identity. As a former lobbyist for one of our nation’s largest companies, I understand the politics of persuasion quite well. Again, I prefer simply to stand on personal belief based on biblical truth.
You have an incredibly parochial point of view, Thom, marvelously naive and arrogant all at the same time. It appears you have found people who will tell you what you want to hear. They have given you a way to explain your desire for men that you can live with. And you’ve even been able to incorporate that into a method to please God in a nice, tangible fashion. If your past behavior was as out of control as it seems is the case with so many ex-gays, more power to you.
Yeah, right Thom. Again with the ‘I don’t work politically anywhere to deprive you of your right to choose your identity.’
As if millions of people don’t and don’t use people just like you to do it.
And I didn’t choose my identity to be a black woman. I didn’t choose to be heterosexual.
And most gay people aren’t given the choice to be GAY or HET, but are denied their civil rights AND humanity unless they affect heterosexuality to the dominant culture’s satisfaction. Whatever the HELL that is.
It’s not a BELIEF that differs from mine. It’s socio political action that has damaged millions.
It’s not a simple disagreement, but systemic prejudice that drives gay people underground, away from informing the culture on their TRUE identity and what to do with it.
There are people with differing beliefs from mine all over the place AND in my life.
It’s using that belief to oppress and maintain supremacist hierarchies that I object to.
And there is little if any diversity among ex gays. You do all sound alike and defend your position in such a condescending manner.
The offense given, is yours. The tone is definitively holier than thou.
And we all know what you tend to do to join the big ex gay club.
I’m hetero. And being hetero isn’t something you CAN effect. The stereotyping of women AND men by the ex gay community is what’s offensive. To the point of caricature sometimes.
Especially the training videos and disciplines and so on to be heterosexual.
One doesn’t need training for one’s sexual orientation.
And if you were the real thing, you wouldn’t need to change at all, for anything, for any reason.
And no heterosexual EVER has to.
You giving me a pass? Or you’ll do what?
Your experiences and how you were shaped by them?
Let’s examine that.
When a Jew experiences anti Semitism, disparate treatment in the workplace…sure the best thing they can to is change their cultural and religious heritage (especially since Jews are fewer in number and are constantly besieged and some wish them obliterated) and believe that it’s for THEIR benefit this should happen.
That makes a lot of sense. Jews and gay people share the longest hatred from mankind, are diasporic and have the distinction of being murdered wholesale and en masse. So of COURSE it’s all well and good that YOU believe it too and that it’s for YOUR own good and that of gay people that by affecting heterosexuality, it’s the more desirable and better PERSON to be.
The other distinction is that this desire and animosity against gay people wouldn’t exist except that it’s TAUGHT.
I seriously doubt that anyone would naturally and without prompting this kind of ignorance and hostility about gay people except that so many gay people are threatened into silence and capitulation…and conformity.
That YOU think such actions are healthy and rightful, regardless of the terrible outcomes of this thinking just shows that YOUR experience made you accept it. It doesn’t make you special, or brave or deserving of respect frankly.
Because what you’ve done is give validation to the long, sad hatred.
Not the truth or reality that gay people are normal, distinct from cultural or ethnic influences and have the same healthy potential as hetero people.
I wouldn’t give someone who felt it right that a black woman is an inferior person any validation of THAT belief.
It would mean that I was finally SUBMITTING to my own oppression.
And that of my brethren.
The evidence of the moral and equal potential of gay people has never been BAD for them.
YOUR beliefs in their moral and other forms of inferiority, ARE.
Bad for a lot of other people besides gay people alone.
And I have enough experience with the words directly out of the mouths of ex gays to recognize intellectual, physical and political cowardice when I see it.
And with not enough or any exceptions really, to think otherwise.
If your past behavior was as out of control as it seems is the case with so many ex-gays
Oh, Lordy. How to put this in few words.
OK, Thom’s somebody I would NEVER seek advice from. The man’s life has been an utter mess — starting with a hideous childhood he’s not responsible for, but clearly doesn’t seem to have resolved as an adult; through to living the sort of life you would expect a religiously conservative and dishonest bisexual to be able to have.
One day Thom got arrested. (You can safely assume what for.) Life fell apart, helped in no small measure by the ugly reaction of the anti-gay people around him.
Shortly thereabouts Thom rather predictably discovered the ‘benefit’ of being on public ex-gay journey. The usual orgy of confession, and wailing and pulling of hair, and promises, … promises now with the new and improved “hope of change”. As claimed by Exodus. See, now he can be trusted again. Pleeease.
Thom — none of us were born yesterday. Perhaps the saddest part of all your nonsense is your complete failure to understand how much damage has been done to you in the name of the anti-gay attitudes that you continue to promote.
(To John: does that help answer your question about motivation? Thom’s not a professional ex-gay, but he certainly has very personal reasons for promoting the fraud that is Exodus.)
A sad and apparently elusive truth. Reading some of Thom’s blog just now I could feel the oppressive self-loathing. It’s a condition, a frame of mind I remember well as no doubt many who read here can. There is great solace in the knowledge that those in more recent generations seem less likely to fall into that cycle of self-deception and self-flagellation.
Thom, it seems unlikely at your age that you will be making any major changes to your views on this. But as grantdale said, try at least to understand how the views you currently peddle may help lock some other poor soul into a life that leads them to the same behavior for which you were arrested — or worse.
People who are not raised to hate themselves or feel shame over who they are do not generally end up sneaking away from their wife and kids to have sex in the park (or whatever it is you said you were doing there). This is not meant as condemnation, but just a fact of life to consider on behalf of others.
Precisely. Very well put, David. That is why the “need” for ex-gay ministries has declined and will continue inexorably to do so.
In reference to John’s question about whether Thom is a “professional ex-gay,” Thom replied:
For the record, I ran across this which seems to contradict that statement.
Faith Through Adversity
Marriage / Family
Your “struggle with homosexuality” seems to be the center theme of your work, and other venues are mentioned (inclusion in books and magazines). This would come under the heading of “professional ex-gay.”
The comments have been very interesting. I knew when I waded in here with a differing viewpoint regarding Exodus that it would probably not be well-received, but I thought there was a chance that the viewpoint, or at least me, might be somewhat respected. It was just a viewpoint from a person who believes he has benefited from association with Exodus. Because I don’t know any of you personally, I’ve not tried to characterize anyone or attack anyone personally, but you certainly did not hold back.
I am a little surprised that the comments shifted so much to attacking me personally and particularly to questioning my motives, which I thought were pretty clear from the start.
Just to clear up a few things:
1. I have not — up to this point — received any funds from any source for sharing my views on homosexuality. I would, however, take the opportunity to do so, regardless of whether I was paid or not. I think it’s that important. The stories which have appeared in books and magazines, and my two previous books, were all written outside of this issue.
2. What you see as “self-loathing” is just genuine remorse for bad decisions I made which caused harm to me and others. And, while you are right that there were “horrific” things in my childhood which had an affect on how I grew up, I am responsible for my own decisions as an adult. I’ve reconciled with the past, but I share about it in hopes others will realize that they are not to remain victims forever, but to move out of that and take responsibility and make their own decisions, freeing themselves from the impact of others’ actions.
3. You make a lot of assumptions about me that are untrue. I’m not sure if that is just a way of dismissing someone’s views as not worthy because they don’t match yours, but you really missed the mark on a lot of things. I did not realize the depth of Ex-Gay Watch’s intolerance for anyone that is not in total agreement with you. And I really do think it is odd to hope for others to fail in their pursuit of what they consider freedom, jut because it does not match yours. I hope you will continue to read the blog, as you will likely find that many of the assumptions you have made are untrue. You even piled on regarding the arrest, something about which you have no details. Could you not wait?
4. I am more convinced after this interaction that Exodus and other ministries are not only relevant, but essential.
Speaking for myself, none of what I’ve said to you is personal. Yours is a commentary I’ve heard many times over the years – none of it is new and none of it is a surprise. As much as you claim to have escaped being a victim, you are making one of yourself just the same with your comments here. And if you consider this exchange intolerant, then you really must get out more. Trust me, you could do a lot worse.
Just the same, I have no respect for a point of view which would summarily reduce my love to sexual brokenness. You are free to voice such an opinion but others are free to dispute it. Had you spent half as much time checking into XGW as grantdale or I have your writing, you would know better. I have great respect for any number of people who have made the personal decision to become celibate due to their faith.
I respect them because, while they are living their lives as they see fit, they don’t do so at the expense of the facts or the dignity of others. One of them posted at XGW at my invitation. See if you can’t detect the difference in his writing and yours.
So if there are conclusions being jumped to, you just might be the one getting the exercise.
Has anyone or any group paid you for your “Faith through adversity” talk?
Absolutely no one. I have only shared it at church.
I was in a go round on Facebook with a woman that firmly believes in that message Thom.
She’s a supporter of ex gays. We had an exchange for several days and her paranoia and ignorance were clear. I can send it to you.
She joined a protest in St. Helena, MT against grade schoolers learning the realities about gay people. She (as all PFOXers do) believed that the ex gay message should get equal time.
Her disdain, distrust and so on of gay people as perverted child abusers and exclusive vectors of AIDS was not subtle.
This is what she also said should be taught in schools. Most importantly, she believed firmly that the class would engage in teaching about anal sex. In fact, she was very obsessed on the subject.
All this before the class was actually in effect.
I told her of my back ground in law enforcement, as a volunteer hotline counselor with AIDS Project LA.
And usual, like any other anti gay person when confronting someone who is a proponent of equality, accused me of enabling criminals, and enabling the spread of AIDS. and that I wanted gay people to die.
That’s like accusing a surgeon or doctor of being so to spread illness and being a ghoul who wants to cut people up.
And she’s one of millions with intractable and insane ideas about what homosexuality is, and essentially, no wish to know exactly what it is and the damage anti gay sentiment actually has done over all this time.
She has been taught these ideas.
I have suggested the same to her that I do when confronted with people like her.
1. That ALL adults with children in any given school system, be required to take one or two day seminar classes to learn exactly what the truth is about human anthropology and sociology and psychology on human sexuality, the history of sexual diseases and the latest functions of outreach and public health.
Rather than cut off all opportunity to learn, learn for themselves.
After all, no school would be considered competent if important information on human history and behavior was stalled at 1921.
So why should all information on sexuality (especially homosexuality) stop at 2,000 years ago?
And no educational standard can teach about homosexuality from a non gay, anti gay standpoint. If segregationists and misogynists and anti Semites cannot control the information about blacks, women and Jews, then the same can’t about homosexuals.
And I don’t blame my color for my shortcomings. I have experienced and witnessed terrible mischaracterizations of blacks and prejudice against myself too. I have worked hard at committing to educating people on the realities and truth about racial and other forms of prejudice.
And I firmly and proudly stand up for the psychological strength it took to resist and continue to, the kinds of mental and emotional damage that comes from such prejudice.
That’s what builds character. Not capitulating to the very things that caused the damage in the first place.
I just read that a 14 year old gay boy committed suicide because of the psychological pressure he was subjected to from his social and church network.
All the time gay parents are assumed to be damaging to children and shouldn’t be allowed to have them.
But the question of how many straight parents have damaged their gay children isn’t even up for discussion. I don’t recall reading anywhere that the child of a gay parent committed suicide or was abandoned to the streets. I haven’t read that there are thousands of children of gay parents who statistically have a disproportionate incidences of depression, abuse or addiction because of those gay parents.
But the inverse certainly is true, and widespread. And is only lessened by the influence of orgs like PFLAG and GLSEN, not PFOX.
Do you not ponder what your and other gay children’s lives would have been like were homosexuality accepted as a normal factor of sexuality?
What families would still be whole, who would still be alive? Who was dead before the age of learning to drive or even vote?
You accused me of wanting to shut you and your beliefs down because I don’t agree. Well a compassionate and sensible person would look at the LEGACY that YOUR belief has wrought and weigh the results and REJECT them too.
And what I said was, your belief system has had the floor for a very, very long time.
And fucked up a lot of people unnecessarily and UNJUSTIFIABLY.
Ex gays are looking for the middle ground that says they are heroes for disciplining themselves from being gay, while at the same time giving power to the very socio policial systems that cause immeasurable damage to millions of people.
Ex gays are looking for applause, for praise for their supposed triumphs….
Applause for heterosexuality?
And all of it at the expense of gay people, the truth and honest expectations. Straight people like Haley Ray (who argued with me), feel entitled that gay people be the ones that change. That gay people be the ones to make all the sacrifices, bear all the burdens and never have the option or opportunity to teach about their feelings, reality and essential needs.
I don’t listen to non gay anti gay people to learn about gay people. The way it would be stupid to listen to non Jewish anti Semites to learn about Jews.
The empirical evidence is that of gay people, who have had precious little time and chance to make who they are known.
Meanwhile, ex gays and their supporters want the fear and ignorance to rule their knowledge of gays and they hide behind God and Scripture to put and end to all discussion.
Haley Ray, deleted all my posts.
Effectively being the one to silence me.
She supports schools effectively silencing gay people.
And YOU try to paint this as a matter of differing opinion rather than life and death, freedom or oppression issue.
Stupid, fearful and clueless people make YOUR life easier, don’t they?
They won’t challenge you, or make you deal with the truth or be all that honest.
So yeah, maybe it’s a matter of you having the grace to shut up because ex gays and their supporters have hogged all the time speaking. Have pushed and pushed and forced their will on everything gay people try to correct.
And there are children in graves because of it.
People who spread lies, and fear SHOULD be silenced because the price isn’t worth you keeping up the fiction, that’s why.
I don’t applaud ignorance on either side of the issue. There are extremists in both camps. I just think that people should be free to follow their own beliefs. If one is right and the other wrong, then the consequences will differ. I do not spend time trying to tell people who have embraced a gay identity that they should reject it. I do, however, realize that, because of personal faith and beliefs, there are many, like myself, who do seek change. I can tell that makes you really angry; your solution is just to tell me to have the “grace to shut up” and refer to people who do not agree with you as “stupid, fearful and clueless.”
My efforts have never been directed at silencing gay people.
Yeah, Thom…again you’re talking as if you’re an insignificant individual who doesn’t engage in political action or wish to deny gay people their full equality.
You know damn well that you and what you invoked is USED to do the exact opposite. It doesn’t matter whether you actively participate, there are thousands of you who do. And millions of heteros with the controlling interest who expect and demand gay people all do what you have.
So your assertions that you have nothing to do with that, is hollow and an empty statement when the reality and legacy has a completely different bearing.
You are an example that the anti gay swear by. All you have to do is mention your former life as a furtive adulterer and the anti gay have all they need to paint the whole with the same broad brush.
Something you also do.
What makes me really angry, is your intellectual disconnect from your private and singular behavior as if it’s not part of a larger, dangerous scheme.
And yeah, the results speak for themselves.
This is more than disagreement, it’s also dishonest to say that’s the whole of the issue.
It relegates something seriously complex to simplistic and benign.
Which people who can’t or won’t use their critical thinking prefer. Things to be simple, and without comprehensive details to confuse and make them feel bad.
I don’t refer to people who disagree with me as stupid, fearful and clueless. I refer to people who say stupid, fearful and clueless things as such.
It WAS stupid of Haley Ray to tell me I supported criminals and disease spreading. It was fearful of her to believe that gay people are dangerous and distrustful. It was clueless of her to tell me that I’m the one who is ignorant, when I spent YEARS being educated and volunteering to educate public and donate to HIV/AIDS research and cures.
Something SHE’S never done in her life.
And advancing stupid, fearful cluelessness cannot and should not be the business of schools. Not EVER.
The results have always been tragic. You aren’t someone to be admired, or respected for your claims, or empty efforts.
Because of what you represent to others as a whole, whether they are gay or not.
Your personal efforts may not have been directed at silencing gay people.
But don’t act like millions out there aren’t doing exactly that, and you’re the example that they use to bolster THEIR claims.
I’m not the one being used here to deny gay children in particular, their ability to speak freely and honestly about who they are.
Even exemplary soldiers can’t do that in our military without person risks to their safety and careers.
I’m not the one being used as an example to children that gay people deserve to be subjected to all manner of social and political exclusion and coercion until they change because they can point at you and feel completely validated by YOU.
They don’t care what it costs, what is lost in the process or the damage that’s done.
And someone like YOU, doesn’t MAKE them care.
I do that.
My friends here do that.
Your existence is representative of a long, long effort and legacy to make gay people disappear. Period.
And you think you deserve respect and the freedom to keep all this going?
Like I said, take a Jew in an anti Semitic environment. A person who comes from a minority already under siege from factions that don’t wish them to be here, and YOUR answer would be: sure, it’s to the benefit of the gay person that they convert to the dominant culture’s wishes?
Their own wishes and needs never matter.
So it’s the same belief that gay people do the same thing and are told it’s to the gay person’s benefit that they sacrifice and pay the costs and be silenced and disappear?
Right, a gay person should disappear for the benefit of the gay person. That’s not a ‘disagreement’ Thom. That’s silence and non existence.
And the thought, just like disappearing Jews, of disappearing gay people…is appalling.
And if it’s not to those who agree with YOU, considering the entire history as a few people have pointed out to achieve that disappearance, yeah…people who think like that are not only stupid…but horrible.
To spend time trying to point out any disagreement with you would be pointless. Some how or another you have credited me with pretty much all the mistreatment gays have endured from the past, present and in the future. I’m not the poster boy you imagine, but I can understand your fear.
You win the battle for shrillness. I think your arguments were designed to silence any difference of opinion and here at least on this blog, you’ve done it. Nothing of any merit achieved, but you did drown out dissension.
Oh and I hope I’m clarifying what makes me angry, Thom. Because I’m really trying to make it quite clear.
What makes me angry, is the disingenuous and self righteous attitudes. The disconnect employed between the results of Bible based anti gay sentiment that’s destroyed so many lives and will continue to.
What makes me angry is that a minority, that is attacked, mischaracterized, maligned and violated, STILL can’t speak in their own words. STILL gets denied that their existence is normal and legitimate.
STILL gets treated as if the enemy of civilization itself.
A gay person shouldn’t have to defend themselves in the first place. THAT’S what makes me angry.
You’re not succeeding at grace, so much as giving more ammunition against gay people.
WHY you would seek change isn’t surprising, it’s understandable why you would.
What isn’t understandable is why you think it’s healthy and desirable to, given all the other factors.
What isn’t acceptable is that you think it’s a benign and agreeable situation when it isn’t.
What makes me angry is your behaving as if it’s not a socio political tool and as if your example doesn’t have consequences for others.
And all you’re focusing on is that I’m angry, as if there is no reason or justification for it and I gave my reasons. And you’re acting as if they aren’t valid or understandable because little old you doesn’t engage in anything negative against gay people.
You didn’t answer the question of what life would be like if children weren’t taught to hate, fear and distrust gay people.
If all were taught to accept homosexuality for what it really is. The ex gay meme has always been that being gay is undesirable and unhealthy and so on, because an individual is taught young to BE uncomfortable and not want it.
It’s a TAUGHT factor, not a natural inclination to not accept it.
Gay children are confused, just as black children always were, by the contradictions to what they were taught about the supremacy of who dominated their lives, while no such moral and mental superiority was in evidence.
You believe it too.
You believed in yours and the basic inferiority of gay people. You believe firmly, as you were taught, to think that disease, death and exclusion from heaven was inevitable. A predictable and expected aspect of ALL gay life.
And now you think that your affect of heterosexuality has bought you freedom, acceptance, inclusion into heaven and other social positions.
You focus on me being angry.
Why not focus on the factions and legacy that makes YOU think you and other gay people are inferior as if that shouldn’t make anyone angry.
You think I’m not justified in being upset at eleven year old children tormenting a classmate to the point of suicide?
Parents illegally abandoning their children to the streets for being gay?
Young teens committing suicide, all because their social networks expected them to achieve what you think was benignly achieved?
For not doing what they expect ALL gay people should do?
That in itself is a symptom of NO CHOICE AT ALL for a gay child.
No option of growing and developing healthily into their sexuality.
And you posit your comments in such a selfish way. Truly selfish, as if this is just about YOU, and not the millions of gay children (or those only thought as such) who have no chance at all as long as those already in power, keep pointing to YOUR example to justify their actions.
Oh, there you go…all about YOU again. I didn’t credit YOU with all the mistreatment that gays endured.
I credited anti gay HETEROS with doing it, USING ex gays as an example.
YOU can hardly be called responsible for all of it.
But you ARE responsible for submitting to it.
And WHAT dissension? You’re validating exactly what I say you are. That homosexuality is an inferior aspect that’s taught to you, not an actuality of what you or any other gay person ever was.
Gay people are not in dominance or the power position here. Dissent is theirs RIGHTFULLY. After all, it’s gay people who are affected by it.
Not heteros, or those who affect hetero life.
And as for the pointlessness of asserting your disagreement. You’re only pointing out how put upon YOU are. Which isn’t really adding anything fresh, revelatory or enlightening to the discussion.
And that’s essentially the message of being ex gay. Nothing new, nothing especially unselfish or intellectually connected and honest.
We’ve heard it all before. Been there, done that.
Why do you think your message is so important? Why do you think it’s doing anything justified?
Your belief’s shelf life expired and hasn’t done anything so inspirational, exciting or expansive to the betterment of anyone’s life as you think.
Injustices based on the expectations that gay people can change continue. That’s not something to be proud of.
What’s SO special about being newly heterosexual?
I’ve always been that way and don’t especially see and know it to make a person exceptional in their moral outlook and sexual, relational and psychological health.
I think, AS a heterosexual, I have the authority to tell you what’s genuine and what’s not about being hetero.
We’re not having a disagreement.
You’re being confronted with facts that you don’t want to accept.
Heterosexuality doesn’t make one morally better.
Just more accepted.
It’s not like I did anything to earn that acceptance on merit or how I treated myself and others sexually.
So, you’re a gay man trying to pass as not.
And not succeeding too well if you have to keep pointing out what it’s supposed to do for anyone.
Disagree with you?
I don’t have to.
You’re disagreeing with yourself. A walking example of contradictions in terms.
You don’t seem to have any idea how weird ex gays look to both gay and hetero people who are paying attention.
I’ve had a lot of experience…and the accomplishing the art of self delusion isn’t something to write us or home about.
Know what I’m sayin’?
1. You aren’t a professional ex-gay…yet. Though you have put together your talk, and you are willing to give the talk for money, nobody has taken you up on your offer. Your aspirations towards professional ex-gay status have, unfortunately for you, not yet been attained. Someone aspiring to be a professional ex-gay, going around giving inspirational talks, would have a vested interest in the success or failure of an organization like Exodus. It does seem odd, with all the interest that you claim is out there for the ex-gay message, that nobody has booked you to deliver your inspirational message. Perhaps your speaking fee it too high.
2. You came to this blog professing your support for Exodus and hopes for their growth and success. You also said that you would increase your gifts to Exodus. Later, you claim not to have any participation in anti-gay political activities designed to deny gay and lesbian American citizens equal rights and equal protection in this country. Exodus is essentially an anti-gay political organization. I supposed they may say a prayer before their board meeting, but their essential work is to support anti-gay political efforts by professing the lie that people can change their sexual orientation, and should therefore not be afforded equal protection and equal rights under the law. If you provide financial support to Exodus, your are putting your money toward denying your fellow gay and lesbian Americans citizens equal rights and equal protection under the law. So, in one post you admit to your financial support for this anti-gay political organization, and in another you try to claim not to be doing anything to deny gays and lesbians equal rights. There is a reason why folks on this blog are reacting to you the way that we have.
We don’t live in the pretend world. We know what Exodus is about. We also know what folks that go around defending Exodus on blogs are all about.
John made his point. In short, Thom-this isn’t about disagreement. You want gay people to carry a burden you’re not willing to. The anti gay invoke ex gays as reason enough for THEIR socio political actions. I know many, and I’m sure you do too.
This is how you contradict yourself. And you conveniently make it about US being hostile and disagreeing with you.
When it’s really about how gutless you are. We know the gravity of what you are and represent, and who and what it costs.
You being in denial of that is what we have no patience with or should accept. You made a decision.
So own it and live with it. Don’t come around here expecting us to be impressed by your presence and what you’ve done with your life.
It’s NOT impressive at all. It’s ludicrous.
Don’t look for contradictions that are not there. My aspirations are not to be a “professional ex-gay,” whatever that is. I believe I have a clear understanding of the truth that homosexual activity is not consistent with Biblical teaching and therefore is not the lifestyle Christians should strive for. I also know we all fall short of where we should be and that some of us must deal with — perhaps for a lifetime — sexual temptations that, when acted upon, become sin. That is the plight of homosexuals and heterosexuals. If I can, when I can, I will share with others what I have learned through my own struggles. When and if that occurs, they are free, as we all are, to react as they wish, regarding it as truth, or rejecting it.
I have given some support — very minimal — to Exodus and have attended two international conferences and two regional ones. In addition, I have been actively involved in the local Exodus ministry in my city. My motivation in doing so is not to restrict you or anyone who considers themselves gay. It is to discover more about myself, my relationship to Christ and others, and to strengthen my resolve to live a life that I believe pleases God more than myself. Perhaps you consider that selfish because you see Exodus as a group that denies you your rights and therefore think perhaps I should not derive any benefit from the resources at Exodus that I believe afford me a better understanding of my own freedom.
Be that as it may, I believe most organizations — from churches to the nation’s capitol — have positions that resonate with some and cause others to cringe. We will never all be in the same camp.
Regan, you are now getting to the point of plain silliness. I think perhaps you trot these same arguments out about anyone who does not ascribe completely to your views.
I sure hope I have some time to write today. I have a lot of thoughts on the interplay I see going on here.
So Thom, you are going to “increase your gifts” to this anti-gay political organization from “very minimal” to what? Minimal?
I guess that albatross sized mortgage on their vanity building isn’t such a big deal with such diehard supporters out there being willing to open their change purses.
Your description of Exodus as an “anti-gay political organization” does not jive with my experience with it. Of course, we can all see things from our perspective and out of what we expect. I never labeled myself as a “diehard” supporter. You came up with that. My contributions to the church will always be first. If I am blessed with more to give, Exodus is on the list.
FYI . . . I’ve never carried a change purse.
Be specific, and be VERY clear about what you think is silly about what I said. Your comments to me are dismissive. And easy way to chill the exchange without having to explain yourself or feel and obligation that you have to.
The Biblical definition of homosexuality is extremely narrow, simple and the Bible’s remedy is too. Reactionary and violent.
End of issue.
Any OTHER theories about homosexuality have come from a society that dominates and dictates the terms of gay lives. Regardless of how exemplary that gay life is, regardless of just about anything to do with gay people.
In other words, the Bible has little to say to engage gay people as normal and necessary to the survival of civilization.
But the rest of us here have the right to be more than that narrow definition, and to submit to the whims of the hetero majority.
Explain why anything I’ve said is silly. This isn’t about my views. But the historical and empirical record. The evidence of social politics and the results.
My views are about teaching truthfully on and treating gay people as normal and acceptable people. My views are empathetic to the gay experience, even though I’m not gay.
The reality is that the experience is similar and bears the same negative consequences to gay lives.
Considering that so many laws that effect gay lives are similar to Jim Crow, it’s not surprising that similar outcomes would occur.
You think that’s silly?
I don’t think you can even define what disagreement is. You might as well disagree with the sun coming up in the morning. Some things are a fact of life, Thom. That have nothing to do with being able to disagree or agree with it to begin with.
Because it IS silly to disagree with the sun coming up in the morning. It’s going to happen no matter what anyone of us does.
You’re not the subject of disagreement. But one of many who has submitted to the factors and members of the dominant class that has ALWAYS denied the humanity, and legitimate existence of gay people.
Who has convinced himself that he benefits from it, and other gay people would too.
Based on the assumption of the inferior moral and mental process of being homosexual.
It’s an insult on face to gay people. Just as the assumption that Jews should convert is. If you think it’s silly to think so, regardless of the terrible outcomes and consequences, especially to young gays and lesbians first realizing their orientation, than that’s remarkable in how selfish that thinking is.
As I said before.
Jews or gay people converting, under duress…is supposed to be for THEIR benefit?
Define why that’s silly.
Our perspectives are so opposite that there really is almost no way to converse. The reason they are opposite is because I base mine on the Bible and you appear to base yours on a “historical and empirical record.” I don’t believe the Bible remedy is “reactionary and violent.” In the context of the entire Word of God — Old and New Testament — I see the Bible reaction as being one of grace, extended to all.
I do not see people who struggle with homosexuality as being inferior or made any less in the image of God than I am. We should all attempt to live a life that is Christ-like, if we are Christians. I don’t believe that Jews or gays should convert “under duress.” Such change can only come by freely-accepting, and it is a very personal decision between ourselves and Christ. I would have serious doubts about the truth of any conversion made under duress. I do believe that if we follow Christ, it is clearly to our benefit.
As for the sun . . . it will continue to come up on me and on you for as long as God allows each of us to grace the earth with our presence.
I am not without compassion regarding the treatment of gay people. I’ve been there myself. I made a decision to reject homosexuality as a result of my search for what I believe is right for me as a Christian. It’s that simple. It was not to deny anything for anyone else, it was for my own gain as one for whom Christ died.
Thom, you did quite a retreat there partner.
The Bible pretty much says don’t be gay or you’ll be killed for it. Not much wiggle room there.
And you keep positing your comments as if you’re a singularity unrepresentative of something bigger.
What YOU do, actively as an individual really doesn’t matter as long as ANY ex gay is cited as an example to deny gay people acceptance and equal access.
I can’t tell you how many anti gay people say they know several ex gays, so therefore their attitudes and demand to vote on gay lives is legit.
And as for how opposite our views are we can’t converse. That’s what we’re doing, isn’t it? But of course, rather than admit that perhaps you can’t keep up, you try and make me out to be so impossible and unreasonable that a conversation is impossible.
Sometimes, Thom, my lack of gaydar has been the subject of gentle and good natured from my gay friends. They chalk it up to being less concerned with what superficially identifies someone gay or transgendered.
But they tell me my b******t meter has the deadest reckoning they’ve ever seen.
I stand by what I said, and will try to clarify things for you and give you the courtesy of WHY I know what I know.
But you taking a convenient run from the issue, than blaming it on someone else is weak.
Another trait that seems to run in the ex gay character.
I retreated no-where. It’s just that, in the great expanse of words we’ve now shared. more gets revealed. I mean . . . I certainly know more about your beliefs than I did at the beginning. You clearly have a lot of confidence in yourself, to the point where the goal each time I post something is for you to find something in it that you can come back at me with criticism. And, try as you might, I’m not going to fall for that silliness that I am the source of all the oppression every gay person has ever received. Is broad-brush painting a learned or natural talent?
You are, obviously, not a student of the Bible. I’m truly shocked that anyone can dismiss it so easily, as in, “Since I don’t like it; I’m not buying it.” (And no, I did not place quotes around that to attribute it directly to you.)
Perhaps you missed this verse:
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. — I Corinthians 6:9-11
That’s a far cry from “don’t be gay or you’ll be killed for it.” Yes, the Bible clearly says homosexual behavior is a sin, but it also says Jesus can set us free from it. It says that is what some of the people being spoken to in that passage . . . . were, as in, no longer are. Maybe you don’t like that, but it is what the Bible says. That’s why I was saying it is hard for us to agree on much of anything if we don’t agree on that standard, as set forth in the Bible. I don’t know if you are a Christian, but, as Christians, we don’t get to pick and choose what’s there. If we dismiss parts of God’s Word, then we have to dismiss it all. And yes, I am aware of the passages in Leviticus . . . passages in the law . . . and I know that Jesus came to fulfill the law so that we would no longer be judged by it. The verse above speaks of change, not death. And there were numerous abominations listed in the Bible; homosexuality being just one.
I would agree that this verse (below) in Romans is pretty harsh about homosexual behavior, but we also know that Jesus forgave a woman caught in adultery and that none of us can behave perfectly. If we could, there would have been no reason for Christ and we would all be kicking back and plucking perfect grapes off the vine in Garden of Eden. None of us are.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. —
It’s probably easier for me to clarify for you why I know what I know because I have decided that God’s Word is more dependable than anyone else’s, so I go there, test what I hear and decide based on His Word.
I have no doubt, Regan, that I can keep up with you. The issue is whether it makes any difference to anyone reading this particular blog since the readership is all of one mind, from what I can see.
I have no reason to be anything other than totally transparent, regardless of what particular meter you are running at the moment.
Let’s avoid the proof-texts here, ok? They are meaningless, even to Christians without context, and this is not a place where we can devote the kind of time it takes to go into all that. Besides which there are people of other faiths here which don’t recognize Christian scriptures as authoritative, and still others who simply disagree with the post 1950’s use of the word homosexual in there. Suffice to say that each person has their own decisions to make concerning faith and Thom has his. It really doesn’t matter for the subject at hand.
I only applied the scriptures here because Regan skewed what the Bible says and I felt the need to clear it up. I agree with you that we have certainly gotten off the topic, which began as a discussion of Exodus financial situation. I’m sure we can agree that for most of us, financial uncertainty has definitely increased under the current economy. Our country is filled with individuals and organizations that made plans — expansions, larger homes, bigger cars — that they thought were good plans at the time. If we were to criticize everyone or every organization that thought progressively and then got walloped by the reality of poor economic leadership, we’d need all the web space in the world. Exodus is affected by the economy just as everyone else is. To attribute their expense tightening to some sort of cultural shift is a mighty big stretch . . . and more like wishful thinking on your part.
That ought to put us back on topic.
Which is when I said that posting a few proof-texts from the NIV is not going to do any such thing, so let’s avoid it.
Horsefeathers. Obviously the economy has accelerated their problems, but ex-gay ministries have been on the decline for some time now.
This discussion has really accomplished nothing, and I don’t get paid for this, so I’m going to bow out and get back to work.
I enjoyed talking with you guys, but you’re probably right that this is going no where. I’m headed to the gym. I hope you all have a great weekend.
Once again, you repeat to yourself something I have reiterated: that you’re NOT the sole reason for what happens to all gay people.
Symptomatic of you personalizing something that isn’t about you personally. But you do keep deflecting that FACT that ex gays IN GENERAL are used as an example by the anti gay to achieve their ends.
And you continually personalizing, and by that, making comments about you being painted with a broad brush, is showing just how self involved and self centered you are.
And I usually avoid religious based arguments because they are irrelevant to the issue of CIVIL rights and protections.
One’s faith is strictly personal, and shouldn’t be the basis of discussions on civil and secular laws all citizens have to adhere to.
However, Bible based beliefs are allowed to restrict gay people and that’s outright wrong and unfair.
By having a religious conversation when the conversation is about the history of civil rights and gay people, you’re not engaging the most important aspects of why we’re having the discussion to begin with.
You are free as a religious person, but not as a gay person.
And it’s mostly religious people who restrict gay freedom. So it’s inappropriate to discuss this issue as if religious belief has never abused someone unjustifiably for what they are.
The deflection and defection is yours Thom.
I don’t care about the Bible and I’m sick of people wrapping themselves up in it to absolve themselves of abusing others with it.
I see what you’ve decided to defend. What the crux of that is, and that’s what is says about you as an individual…and most importantly who the ex gay industry is willing to sacrifice as if an entitlement to do so.
@ David R “This discussion has really accomplished nothing.”
I agree this is yet one more typical exchange with an Exodus cheerleader, and is no longer worth following, but au contraire. Thom actually said the following:
“I would have serious doubts about the truth of any conversion made under duress.”
Now, if we can only get him to look in the mirror and consider what Exodus promotes and the way that Exodus in turn feeds off those negative social attitudes … Thom may begin to understand why things have turned out as they did for him, and too many others.
You know … the why he has behaved as he has, and the why people have harshly treated him, and the why he thinks he needs to publicly support degrading attitudes toward others. He can ponder scapegoating. He can ponder how closeted people often behave to keep their cover. He can ponder stigmatisation, and fear-mongering, and essentially meaningless claims about ‘change’. He can ponder why a straight woman like Regan finds herself providing comfort and support to young men and women needlessly condemned and even abandoned by their families, and how infuriated that makes her.
Sadly what I suspect Thom may never be able to fully appreciate is why, even among his fellow Southern Baptists, nobody is prepared to yet trust him; why he continues to be ostracised and whispered about behind his back. He’s desperate for their approval, yet cannot see how his and their support for groups like Exodus undermines that very outcome.
Conversions made under duress, believability, and Exodus: that’s it in a nutshell.
I can’t write today, and I really want to. Grantdale, oyu hit a good deal of this on the head. Phoniness, in another nutshell. tomrrow, I will write about the daisy chain of vanity, drama, and superiority. Now I really want to.
Because I’m not gay, sometimes I worry either about overstepping my place in discussing the issue, or not being articulate enough or clear enough. Sometimes I have to answer quickly before a good proofread.
But I have a question. Doesn’t Thom strike you as making this too much about him? How many times did I have to tell him I know he’s not responsible for ALL of the things that happen to gay people.
Mores the point, a pattern regarding that has formed. I mean we DO talk to enough ex gays to see one. And that’s how they posit this issue as one they are not responsible for as individuals.
Like little kids they keep saying “it’s not ME, don’t blame me, I should be able to make a decision without someone judging me about it.”
As if they aren’t a component of a larger situation that conspires against gay people.
And at the same time, gay people ARE the ones painted with the broad brush, lumped together with societal reprobates.
That’s what frustrates me the most.
And I don’t want to make nice anymore. I really don’t.
The PFOX Facebook thread proves our point.
That gay people are expected to change and will themselves into all kinds of unrealistic situations, but are told it’s for the gay person.
What kind of person could buy it that the disappearance of their identity, and the alternative if they don’t, would benefit them the most?
I, of course have respected you all for years. When I mess up, David and Mike Airheart have been good enough to let me know.
But that’s been extremely rare in all these years.
But ex gays seem like weak excuses for the real business at hand.
I can’t forget either, Debbie Thurman’s support of a lesbians daughter being taken away and her former partner disappearing utterly with the child so that all contact is severed.
And it’s things like that which reveal the true colors of enough ex gays for any of us to think their hostility and determination to hurt gay people is very real.
They don’t all have to feel that way, or do anything so directly. Existing is enough to do a lot of harm, and set back open integration of gay people over and over again.
We are Sisyphous…and ex gays the boulder. And it’s not like they aren’t exploiting others to carry that burden up the hill.
egan– of course it’s all about him. Vanity, drama, superiority in a never ending daisy chain. It’s an interesting idea. I hope the thread isn’t dead by the time
No, my good man. Please come back with what you need to say. And another pattern is how quickly an ex gay will run from a discussion that’s not patting them on the back for what they do.
Over at TownHall, I went through a serious mob attack, character assassination and outing: and after more than two years, I’m still there.
Rob Tisinai valiantly corrected part of that assassination and reveal the culprit for the liar he was.
Yet, I hang in there for the mental and intellectual exercise.
I find the basic character of ex gays VERY weak. And especially disingenuous of the simple question: how do you defend what you can’t accept for yourself?
At least when it comes to those ex gays who say they harbor no ill will, no hostility or require that gays be discriminated against.
That’s when it comes to the reality and truth, that regardless of having those feelings, their example contradicts all that.
The point is, one CAN’T defend what they won’t accept in themselves. Like someone who has huge breast implants, defending the flat chested.
It’s a contradiction in terms that makes a person look ridiculous, incapable of being trusted with their own decisions. Let alone what they think is a decision someone else makes.
And why an ex gay, considering the factors of a world that teaches gay people and straight people to hate gays, that they say they came to their decision freely and without coercion ALSO contradicts the reality of their lives AS gay people.
A whole stream of contradiction and cross purpose renders an ex gay essentially a zero.
When you give with one, and take it away with the other, that’s the result. Nothing. Zero. Worthlessness.
Especially to the most NEEDFUL purpose of the world understanding and knowing gay people for who they truly are.
Which won’t happen as long as ex gay confound and contradict that purpose. It must SUCK to be such a weak person.
So weak in character and purpose. So insecure that the need for validation from those that would and do oppress you is sick unto itself.
And you might note, that even knowing I’m not gay, he NEVER asked me why I accept gay people and support them.
More intellectually truthful people will ask and I’m well prepared to answer.
It’s the ones who never do that interest me. There is a quality there that I find important.
Of course, there are those who see me as some kind of traitor to my ‘race’ of heterosexuals. I can understand to a point how a white person who supported integration might have been treated. The only equivalent name to say, ‘n****r lover’, is ‘homosexualist’ to describe ‘my kind’.
No less of trying to have the same intent, but interesting nonetheless.
Supremacists are all of a piece, regardless of the difference in their targets.
I think I mentioned here that black children could see clearly that regardless of CLAIMS of moral, intellectual and mental superiority by whites, experience and evidence wouldn’t bear that out. The same is true for gay kids. They see no difference in themselves than their hetero peers that makes them deserving of being treated like an inferior.
And of course, profound separation would make it harder for that evidence to reveal itself.
Color made it easier to artificially create that separation. But marital status as a separation of gay people works much the same way.
It creates a serious powerlessness and dependency on straight people. There is the ability to demean the gay person in times of crisis, and it’s a way of using unmarried status to take away the very things that PROVE just how compassionate and responsible a gay person is. Profession, property…children.
I have wondered if I had more power to defend a gay person because I’m not gay. I have one close gay relative. Therefore no dog in the fight, no need to concern myself, no rights or freedom that will be taken away.
I’m more threatened by other straight people than gay people for being this way.
But I will hang in there as I have for most of my life.
Perhaps ex gays know they are weak and need the failure of gay people to validate themselves. Envy, does some interesting things to people. The strong gay person could show up an ex gay easily because the character building process is more mature and well advanced.
Just as a Jew or black who doesn’t capitulate to bigoted forces, but can beat them at their own game, shows another level of character alien to ex gays.
There is a saying among black folks, that we know more about white folks than they know about us.
This is also VERY true of the gay/het issue.
Gay people know a hell of a lot more about hetero people than the other way around. And I will admit, there is something perverse about how the anti gay couldn’t admit it to literally save lives. And Thom is another example of letting hets off the hook for being so insufferably ignorant and fearful, no matter who and what it hurts.
This might be a little late for this thread, but nonetheless…
Regan, you asked a question “Doesn’t Thom strike you as making this too much about him? ”
I’ve been wanting to write on this issue, and this conversation with Thom really got me thinking about what I might call the “ex-gay narrative.” Full disclosure: I’ve never actually talked to an ex-gay person, so I could be totally wrong. But I have been reading a great deal of their commentary in the past four years, and I’m a firm believer in “In Verbus Veritas”. By their literary fruits shall you know them. And though I have been out of the mental health field for over 25 years, I think I am a fairly good observer of people, and I think I see things reasonably clearly.
On the other hand, this may be a work of fiction. I’m hoping it will spark some discussion. As Agathon said, “What matters is not so much that which is true, but that which is entertaining.” Doing both would be preferable.
I was trying to put all of these things together that Thom and other wanna-be-ex-gays seem to be saying all of the time, put them into something coherent. I had my first clue in my first posting, where I challenged Thom on his statement: “Your claim that our country’s restrictions on those who claim a homosexual orientation does not rise to any level of comparison to the racial discrimination that haunts our past. You cheapen the battle of those who came before you when you compare it.” I assume that he was unable to refute it, and so he chose not to answer that challenge. That statement just reeks of condescension. What I would term a “restriction” is a law against getting a blow job in a men’s room. I suppose you can call the murders of Lawrence King and Matthew Shepherd, the suicides and homelessness of so many gay youth, sodomy laws, the political campaigns that demonize gay people as enemies of faith, family, and children, the destroyed careers and families, DADT, AIDS as the physical manifestation of homophobia, as rather extreme forms of “our country’s restrictions on those who claim a homosexual orientation keeps them from realizing their full potential.” Being murdered will certainly keep you from doing that. As would having your soul, your spirit, your ability to love and be loved murdered.
And as far as I am concerned, what cheapens the battle is to play “My oppression is worse, and thus better, than your oppression.” “You didn’t suffer enough like we did. Yours doesn’t count.” It’s not a race, and there are no winners. Only losers. Unlikely any black person alive in the past 70 years was a slave. I would bet that a majority of the black Americans alive today did not experience segregation personally. You didn’t suffer, though your ancestors may have. And as I said, no black person ever got kicked out of his family and church for being black. They even let them be president now.
Full disclosure: like many of the black people who want to claim the superior oppression, I have not suffered much for my being gay. I am after all, recognizably a white male, long before anyone finds out that I like men. But I certainly recognize oppression, whether directed at me, or at other people who have the misfortune of being the object of the attention of people who truly are broken– not just pretend broken, or broken as a way to score theological brownie points.
How much more can be gained by not issuing such statements of blanket condescension and dismissal, and instead be willing to listen, perhaps to learn that other people have suffered, too, and that perhaps, you may be contributing to the suffering of those people. And that the suffering doesn’t make anything better for anybody, least of all for our country.
So this suggested at least one of the threads of the narrative: superiority. And that is not actually a surprise to me, because a belief in the superiority of man over woman, white over black, hetero over homo, is as much a part of bigotry and prejudice as out-and-out hatred. I prefer to think of it as soft bigotry, the soft bigotry of a (wholly imaginary) superiority. (Thank you, Regan).
I asked Thom a question that he never answered himself, although David and Grantdale did in absentia: WHY ALL THE DRAMA? If you want to be straight, and god wants you to be straight, and you’re praying away the gay day by day in a most evangelical way, then WHY? ALL? THE? DRAMA? Be straight and be happy. If sexuality is a choice, just choose to be straight. It seems to work for Alan Chambers, who is clearly as straight as a $3 bill. If temptation is just something that happens to you, like experiencing (not even something so personal as having) same sex attractions then, as Nancy Reagan said, just say no. I can go to my gym, see all kinds of cute boys, some of whom make it clear that they could be had, right then and there, and I just say no thanks. I’ve got a husband, don’t need a boy. I wouldn’t mind, but I respect my marriage vows more than so many bible-believing Christians seem capable of.
And perhaps I just like myself a lot better, and value my marriage a lot better because I really want that marriage and not something else. What is that prompts a heterosexually married man with a family to endanger his marriage and his family by having anonymous sex in a men’s room? You have what you allegedly want– the appearance, if not the fact, of heterosexuality. Could it just be a fondness for drama? Transactional analysis would think so.
On Wednesday night, in the midst of pondering this thread, I had dinner with my friend Bob, a very perceptive man. We were discussing our friends Tom, who lost his partner of 20 years just 8 years ago, and has been bereft ever since. Tom can’t seem to find a boyfriend, and insists that the only thing that will make him happy in is an under-30 Asian boy with a great body, and that he will not compromise. Tom is 60, and he isn’t rich, and he doesn’t look like Anderson Cooper. so he is alone. Bob’s comment: it’s all vanity. “I’m better than that,” “that” being the idea that it is a compromise to find a man who is much closer to Tom’s age and demographic. But it is also a defense mechanism. He doesn’t really have to try to find a suitable partner because it is so unlikely that Tom will find the physical ideal he craves, and thus he protects himself from being hurt.
Bingo! Vanity was the word and concept I was looking for.
This seems to me to be the nature of the ex-gay experience, as it appears in Thom’s story, in A.C., and in so many others’. It’s an infinite loop, a never-ending daisy chain of vanity feeding drama feeding superiority feeding vanity, and the whole self-destructive orgy just keeps going and going like an ideological energizer bunny.
It starts with vanity. The ideological seed gets planted very early. Gay is bad, sick, depraved, degenerate, unwholesome, unhappy, hated by God. Grantdale: “Perhaps the saddest part of all your nonsense is your complete failure to understand how much damage has been done to you in the name of the anti-gay attitudes that you continue to promote.” I am now 60. I knew I was gay when I was 6, though I didn’t know the name for it until I was 10. Fortunately, no one talked about it when I was growing up in the ’50′s, else I might have had that same seed planted in me. The tree that grows from that seed is self-hatred. The fruit falls not far from the tree, and when it hits the ground, is now “sexually broken”.
Here’s where vanity comes in. The child learns that he is gay, has already learned to hate himself. The natural response is: “I’m better than that.” I’m not that way. I couldn’t be that way. And thus shame is born, the twin sister of vanity. “You’re OK, I’m not so hot” in transactional analysis terms. So the child rejects who he is. As with all “not OK’s”, one does what is necessary to confirm the position of not being OK.
And thus the ex-gay industry is born.
Unfortunately– and here is the energy of the struggle– the average ex-gay is not “better than that”, except in a way that Jones and Yarhouse have described as “difficult, complicated, equivocal, ambiguous.” We need look no further than the Her Majesty Nomohomo, Empress of the Magic Kingdom of Exgaynia, where fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you, especially if you are already a fairy, but clap your hands loud enough to drown out the obvious if don’t believe in them. This queen, gayer than a goose, will freely admit that the empress has no clothes, and that it is a “struggle” to maintain the facade.
Let’s look at the empress for half a double mo. He has access to all of the ex-gay “therapies” there are, probably free of charge. None of them seem to have taken, despite their “proven” efficacy. He’s a show-dog Christian, proudly praying publicly to Jesus on a daily basis, yet somehow, all that prayer has not resulted in anything but small change: he’s heterosexually married, with children, and still “struggles” on a daily basis. I submit that all of that could have been accomplished without all of the prayer, without all the therapy, without all of the political posturing– though earning a living at the expense of others would probably not have happened. Basically gay people do it all of the time. 30 years ago, my foster father, who would be in his 90′s now, married with three children, told me that he always thought of himself as bisexual. But he wanted a family, and apparently, had no need of ex-gay therapy, prayer, or any of it. He just got married, had his kids, and lived a decent life. There was no struggle, I believe, because he wasn’t shocked and horrified by the gay part. He didn’t hate himself for who he was.
How willfully self-delusional do you have to be to believe that ex-gay therapy is valid, when the queen of Exgaynia tells you emphatically, wrist flappingly, that it is not? As I wrote to J&Y: “Why, when it was clear from the results of your study that actual, “uncomplicated” change from hetero to homo does not occur, at least by your methods, why do you advocate change, especially by your methods? My homosexuality, like the heterosexuality of my many straight friends, is very unequivocal and very uncomplicated. If the best that you can come up with are celibates and the “complicateds”, then I put it to you that you are leaving something not changed.”
Exodus promises “freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ.” Except that the queen isn’t free. Thom isn’t free. And given how much time, energy, and money can be wasted in Exodus approved activities, freedom isn’t free either. It isn’t even freedom.
You may believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that God has grace to give in this matter. You must, because what is the alternative? To believe that he has it to give, but he only gives it capriciously or, even worse, plays favorites? Some places of desolation become fertile oases, places of verdure and growth become sere deserts beyond a hope of lushness, and it all just depends on whether he had his coffee that morning? If so, I would rather live in a universe that has no such rules, one lucky enough to have escaped his particular attention. As the old Jewish joke goes: if we are the chosen people, would you mind choosing someone else for a change?
So in fact, your vanity is lying to you. You’re not better than that. You’re just “that”.
But if you must maintain the facade, if you must be straight even when it is obvious that you are not, then Vanity sets it up for step 2– drama. All lies create drama the more firmly they are believed. Look at what one of the Really big Lies (The Jews killed Jesus AND rejected salvation both) accomplished. The murder of 6 million Jews, and the murder of 250,000 gay people, almost as an afterthought.
I have not yet read an ex-gay story that doesn’t seem to involve drama. It could be the tiny drama of young Jacob going to give ex-gay therapy a try for just one year. (But what if it takes just one more month, and then one more after that? can you EVER stop?) Eventually, it becomes Peterson Toscano, a man I certainly respect, but who gave 18 years of his life to trying to become straight. A far more serious drama, giving up 18 years of your life, countless thousands of dollars, endless struggle, only to decide in the end that God loves you just the same.
But then we get to the REAL drama queens. Lonnie Latham, Mark Foley, Bob Allen, Larry Craig, and a good portion of the Roman clergy. And my all around favorite– Theodore Haggard, quite an ironic name for a fallen god lover with evangelical hair. Did he really drag his family through it, or what? Daddy likes boys. Daddy’s a drug addict. Daddy likes prostitutes. Daddy is an adulterer. Daddy lies. Daddy is a hypocrite.
But Daddy’s new church won’t perform same sex marriages because Daddy still has issues, despite how many times he has been “cured”. Didn’t learn a thing, did you, Ted?
I felt badly– for a while until I remembered that she must know him better than anyone– for Susan Craig as she stood in sunglasses behind the Minnesota ToeTapper, listening to him explain that he wasn’t really gay at all, he just got arrested for attempting to have sex in a public place with a stranger. What is funny is their attempt to explain it. Falling into temptation. It must be the gay that made me do it. It’s funny how so many exgay men have just that sort of experience, and so few actual gay men seem to have the slightest interest in it.
I know that some men who identify as gay are into cottaging, but I’ve known only two in my life, of all of the people I have known well enough to know that. Even struggling to come out in 1971, I could see that I was much better than that. ah, vanity!
And so the drama cycle begins. I can rise above this. With god’s help I can rise above this. Whoops, temptation happened to me. I fell just a little bit. Now I’m strong again. Whoops, a little meth. Now a $100 massage that somehow turns into a $5 blow job. Oooh, I’m strugglin’ mightily with the devil. Ooops, I’ve dragged my family and my name through the mud of the sewer of my mind. I’ve struggled for one year. I’ve struggled my whole life. Sorry I gave you VD, honey, sorry about destroying our marriage, but you just never know where a back-alley tryst is going to lead, do you?
If there isn’t any trauma drama present, they’ll go looking for it. I was abused as a child. My daddy didn’t love me. I was weak. I was effeminate. I was a tomboy. My daddy molested me and it turned me queer. My priest molested me, and that turned me queer. (More likely just the opposite, but never mind). All of the so-called reasons for one to be gay, without noticing that other people have the same experiences and don’t turn queer because of it, though they may still be messed up. But it’s just so much easier to blame the gay or to blame the gay on your parents.
Sexually broken? Even more drama. but it’s attractive drama– very romantic, very tragic, calling to mind as it does Our Savior broken on the cross. Drama queens, tragedy queens, it’s all the same. Funny. I have never met a self accepting gay man or woman how would describe themselves that way. I myself, one of the biggest queers I know, feel just fine. I have a wonderful husband, a great family and friends, a good career. And of course, it justifies all of that bad behavior. If you weren’t sexually broken, why would you be down on your knees in the men’s room at the quickymart? Are you broken sexually because you want a blow job in a men’s room, or do you want the blow job because you are sexually broken? Maybe it’s neither. Maybe it’s just self hatred doing to you transactional analysis teaches that it will do: encourage you to make the worst choice possible for yourself, and then despise yourself for being such a perv. You can’t win– and you don’t want to. You’d have to give up all of that drama.
Here’s a bit of a twist– that famous passage in Romans means just what it says it means: these people were so sinful that god made them queer– he broke them sexually, because they weren’t queer. Maybe the right definition of sexually broken is trying to be other than as God made you. It would certainly explain the apparent failure of prayer to turn anyone straight.
No responsibility, no correct behavior, just a Big Gay Drama. And it never occurs to them that lots of healthy gay people just don’t seem to have those issues, just lives full of peace and happiness. Maybe the real issue is self-hatred, destructive personality traits, the strain of living lies to please other people, respectability at any price, even if the price is respectability itself.
And after you go through all of the drama, you arrive at your final destination: the land of (wholly imagined) superiority. Looky me, I overcame sin. I overcame the gay. I got a special friend in Jesus, who helped me spray away the gay. Jesus loves me so much that look what he does for me. I’m not gay. I’m not I’m not I’m not. I’m special. I’ve overcome having same-sex attractions happen to me.
But it never seems to end, does it? no one is ever permanently “cured”, even if Jesus is running right along with you. The empress of Exgaynia isn’t cured for sure.
But the allure of the temporary cure? Beautiful. It solves no problem, but allows one to keep acting out because of sexual brokenness. And it allows you to be superior. It allows you to characterize the struggle for freedom for gay people as something the cheapens the battle for civil rights. It allows the FRC to ruminate endlessly on anal sex while endlessly condemning it. (Note to Tony Perkins; if it bothers you so much, why do you spend so much time thinking about it?) It allows you to be George Rekers proclaiming the immorality of homosexuality on weekdays while lifting his leggage on the weekends. It allows you to be Alan chambers and tell everyone that yes, change is possible, in a vague, general sort of a way. It all depends on what the definition of “is” is, to quote another man who acts out.
And finally, it allows you to say “I’m better than that.” Except that it doesn’t and you aren’t, because you are right back where you started, telling the same lies to yourself in defense of the same Big Lie.
And Thom, because I have been talking to you a great deal in this post, you are free to believe that Exodus will deliver on its promise of “freedom form homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ” But it hasn’t happened, and it most likely won’t. You’re asking the wrong questions, getting the wrong answers, and interpreting them in the wrong way. It’s not freedom, but as I said, it’s just a different kind of slavery, where not merely your body, but your heart, your soul, your will, your faith, and your life are subject to the questionable religious interpretations of people whose motives have very little to do with the truth of scripture, and just about everything to do with their own dark hearts and secrets.
And earning a living, don’t forget that.
If you want to believe that exodus is basically harmless, just ask anyone living in Uganda. just ask the kid who kills himself because Exodus didn’t “ex” anything except his soul. Just ask the people whose marriages will never happen, while any ex-gay adulterer can get married as often as he likes.
Very good analysis. It seems as if it’s a 3 part play. Act l would be the arrogant intense rejection of the sexually authentic inner child by a fear wielding narcissistic (vanity prone) imposter, a self created mental construct fear icon I’ll call the deceptive bully child. Act ll is the bully’s consistent denial disrespect and vigilant aggression towards the authentic sexual child, resulting in a life long detour into fear giving rise to acting out the “drama” conflict between the two opposing ideologies. Act lll would be the resolution, a dropping of swords for acceptance and the mental deconstruction and annihilation of the inner bully.
Rejection (Act l) impels acting out drama (Act ll), impels resolution (Act lll). Any of the 3 Acts, but particularly Act ll, could last a life time(s).
It would seem “ex-gays” (an unattainable irrational hope-induced hero icon) populate Act ll, while ex-ex-gays seem to have made it to Act lll.
Ben and iDavid,
Ben, I’m glad you hit on the vanity part. I think that’s what’s bothered me too, but I couldn’t put a finger on it.
When I mention those people who seek plastic surgery or starve themselves to reach a physically aesthetic ideal, it has to be vanity that drives them. However normal and healthy their features are.
But they are the features of the rejected.
So, regardless of how normal homosexuality is, it is rejected. So therefore, someone gay would go through all the pain, expense and so on of ridding themselves of what’s generally rejected.
And even though sexuality is less superficial than physical appearance, ex gays are taught to AFFECT what’s superficial about heterosexuality.
Butching up for guys, being more fem for lesbians.
Stupid really, but we’ve seen the training videos and seminars.
But that’s still appearances and passing WITH one’s appearance. Leaving out of course, all those special and good things that make a person unique.
And we are all first and foremost, unique.
So the ex gay meme takes on a sameness, less of the character of the real person, leaving a mask that’s like all the rest.
What an ex gay eventually becomes is less authentic and more of what’s expected of him. Which explains why they all say the same things, sound alike, preach alike and have little if any variance in how they defend themselves.
Might as well all be the same person, however much one might protest they are different.
At any rate, thank you so much for your complete analysis there Ben.
You’re welcome, Regan. I don’t know how true it is, but it seems to gather up everything I have read.
As I said, vanity was the keyword that was missing for me.You hit it here:
So the ex gay meme takes on a sameness, less of the character of the real person, leaving a mask that’s like all the rest.
First of all, I’d like to say that I hope Exodus survives the economic hardships and can continue its mission regardless of the nay-sayers. Since people do seek its services, there is a need for it.
It has been a great education reading this discussion thread. It helps to understand why people would lack any compassion whatsoever for an individual who seeks a heterosexual lifestyle regardless of past or present behaviors. Living a heterosexual lifestyle really isn’t all that bad, unless of course, the person attempting to do so just happened to previously enjoy living a homosexual one according to the nay-sayers in this discussion. It is not hard to figure out why that person would be considered a traitor and why such an all out vicious attack by gay activists would ensue to convince that person they are wrong. The person being challenged need only consider the purpose for the outcry (not hard to do). Ask yourself if the outcry outweighs excitement over future possibilities. One possible answer could be found when you first gaze upon your own newborn biological child. Will their outcry and vicious attacks matter to you then? I think not. At that moment, the understanding of what nature is will be realized to the fullest extent. It will no longer mean “It’s all about me”. That statement is not meant as an attack toward any person that chooses an alternate path in life. However, attempts to alienate a person from seeking the most basic path in life and finding great joy in the outcome, is clearly pathetic if not barbaric.
I was surprised to see another comment in this thread. It seemed that when I bowed out of the conversation and there was no one left to pounce on, it pretty much dried up. I appreciate the time you went to to read the entire thread and then make a very reasonable comment. I have also been surprised that gay activists brow-beat someone like myself who decided that I had been on the wrong path for me, came clean about my deception and now believe I am living the life God intended for me as a heterosexual. It is interesting that when a former heterosexual decides to embrace instead the homosexual identity, he does not feel the same force of repulsion, nor must he listen to the diatribe about how he has forced homosexuals to be treated as lesser beings.
I have not been a negative force for gay equality. For me, it was about my need to be honest with myself, ask God to reveal some things to me, and then act on it. I have not regretted that decision and don’t see any need to return to homosexuality.
That’s the reason I am currently writing my life story a chapter at a time on Signs of a Struggle. I believe self-discovery is a process that can be shared with others who might be unsure.
Tom and Haley:
I tihnk you are mistaken. I have no problem with you wanting to be heterosexual, though I do question whether it is possible. You can be whatever you want to be.
What I have a problem with is the lies that everyone associated with the ex-gay industry, starting with the basic premise that change is both desirable and possible. I have a problem with families being destroyed by homobigotry. I have a problem with the lies not-so-ex gays tell their spouses and families. i have a really big problem with doctored, phony, and misinterpreted reseach being used for political purposes against gay people who do not buy the basic lies.
You personally? Probably not, thom. The anti-ex-gay industry you support? Absolutely.
@Ben in Oakland
I think coming to the whole truth and nothing but the truth may be a difficult for people on both sides of the issue. I would certainly not want someone to undertake this journey based on half-truths or inaccurate research. However, I think that’s a problem that we find in both positions. It tends to de-personalize things. I’ve found, though, that when I tell people that the only way I could come to the truth was through my relationship with Christ, that tends to inflame them, as if that is not a viable option for discovery.
I am totally with you, Ben, about the dangers of the lies that people tell to cover up their choices. I was very deceptive and have had to undertake considerable repair in the relationships I damaged. I know one thing, identity is not an issue to be taken lightly. I do think that, on occasion, a man or woman may undertake it not realizing how hard it is. Perhaps pride gives rise to deception as they struggle.
I imagine most of the ills we inflict on each other could be eliminated if all of us were able to be truthful all the time.
I would suggest that the negative response you might be getting has more to do with such passive-aggressive comments as those above than any simplistic “not batting for our team” rubbish. Why must you act like a martyr the moment others disagree with you? And to be fair, this is a pattern for many ex-gays.
If this was it then I doubt you would encounter much opposition. You have every right to set the path for your own life. But I think we all know it goes further than that — you don’t have the right to bend reality to fit your world view and expect others to follow along. So when you slip in “choice” and “identity” as though homosexuality is a choice or simply an identity one adopts, then people may indeed call you on it.
I think you’re extremely sensitive and it would be hard to write anything that would escape your passive-aggressive radar. I’m not trying to goad anyone into batting for their team.
And, when I discuss homosexuality from my perspective and my beliefs, then “choice” and “identity” are words that fit my understanding. People may indeed call me out on it, but it is because we differ in our understanding. My use of those words is not meant to offend anyone, but merely to state accurately what I believe. The words are not slipped in; they’re intentional.
I am sure that Thom is as gay as he ever was. There has never been any convincing evidence that anyone can change or has changed their sexual orientation.
Ex-gay is a political/religious orientation. It really isn’t a sexual orientation, except to loudly point out that the person isn’t straight.
From his story, I am sure that he has hurt himself and others as a result of his actions during his years in the closet. Now he is in the glass closet of ex-gaydom where everyone knows that you are gay while you and they try to pretend that you have “walked away from homosexuality.” Unfortunately, the two closets are far more closely related than many ex-gays would like to admit.
Sadly, Thom, I really don’t think you are done hurting yourself and those around you. Good luck with supressing your feelings, controlling your behavior, pretending to be someone you aren’t and living up to others expectations. I can think of far better ways to spend the rest of my life.
So it’s not you, it’s me — I’m too sensitive, lol. And round we go in a useless Ouldian loop.
@Haley Ray You do realize that gay and lesbian people can and do have biological children, not to mention children raised through adoption. Being a parent has nothing to do with being gay or het or ex-gay. And gay parents are more than capable of feeling self-less love and devotion towards our children as any het parent.
Your comments were welcome, where my were not in our last exchange HR.
A black person living under Jim Crow would wonder what life would be like if they were white. It would look so much better that ‘alternative’. A light skinned black person is still black, but the superficial part of them can hide what they are.
A gay person by appearance, usually, is the same as a heterosexual. So affecting heterosexuality would take on more deeply personal intrusion by outsiders.
The point isn’t the person seeking a better life. But WHY they are doing it. Jim Crow was a brutal system of discrimination and those who support it, did so with the firm belief in the inferiority of black people.
It’s not something they’d think or learn on their own, but it’s a taught aspect by those whose interest is in keeping black people from reaching their full potential AS black people.
That’s the similar indictment that gay people share. They are maligned with a label of inferiority. They, and their peers are taught it’s wrongful and undesirable to be gay,while the gay person is surrounded by laws, discrimination and bigotry that reinforces that notion.
I also doubt anyone would come to their aversion of gays and being gay on their own.
The ex gay industry exploits the very prejudices they help create. It’s extremely difficult to presume that a gay person has an alternative to being gay, when being gay isn’t something they are free to be in the first place.
The only way to qualify an alternative to being gay, is when being gay is fully accepted, and no one is discriminated against for being gay.
I really didn’t mean to offend you by calling you sensitive. It was more out of frustration that just about anything I say is attacked more for the way I say it than for its content. I think maybe we’re just on different wave-lengths and I’m not quite sure how to express myself in this forum in a way that my words can be taken seriously. I don’t want us to end up in an endless loop either. It really doesn’t help anyone.
Thom, you’re not attacked, and this isn’t about just what you say…but also the content. We know what’s disingenuous, specious and outright selfish when we see it. It’s about your character. And the character of the ex gay movement.
We haven’t attacked you, but been frank and honest. Something that it seems ex gays and their supporters are repelled by.
Heteros are dictating the terms of gay lives every day. It’s obvious, right in our faces. It’s straight people who have decided what gay people are and insist they know what’s best for gay people to do.
And considering the reality of brutal assaults, the socio/political reality of Jim Crow like discrimination and bigotry so pernicious, children torment each other to the point of suicide: it’s one thing to not want to have to live with it.
We all understand not wanting to and looking for that ‘alternative’ the straight folks insist they have for you.
But it’s another thing to insist that it’s workable, supportable and actually is efficacious and THE MOST DESIRABLE, when. it. isn’t.
It’s offensive on it’s face. Maligned and discussed as if the enemy of social order. It’s offensive to assume that conversion is a better option, than the existence of the target.
It’s ALWAYS going to be offensive when someone is approaching you from the standpoint that you don’t deserve to live or exist. There is a horrible conspiracy that happen, and you’re a part of that conspiracy.
You want to be entitled to your opinion, your feelings and choices?
Then you can damn well own what a burden you help place on gay people especially, and the bigotry and the systemic discrimination it CONTINUES to engender.
Other people suffer the consequences of ex gay ministry. And never want to own up to it.
When you refuse to, you look weak and cowardly and without moral consciousness.
Grammatical error. I meant to say..other people suffer the consequences of ex gay ministry, and that ministry never wants to own up to it.
And feigns concern for gay people while not caring at all, and supporting policies that helps keep money in the pockets of the ex gay ministry.
We know rats when we see them. And you insisting that’s not what it is, again…weak and cowardly.
FYI, just click the “Modify” link at the bottom left of your comment to edit. You have about 10 min after posting to make corrections.
My assessment: this discussion is sad. I see Thom as a genuine, highly sensitive and thoughtful individual who is lambasted here because he has taken his personal journey in a different direction than others here have.
I see why people here are threatened and angered by ex-gay groups such as Exodus. However, Thom is an individual who has come on this board to engage you in discussion, to build bridges, and to reach peace, or at least to say, “Let’s respectfully agree to disagree.” He is here to share his viewpoint, so that hopefully, you will understand him more, and maybe hate him less.
But he doesn’t have a chance here, it seems, because there is just so much anger and outrage at his belief system.
I don’t know why people here are so insistent that sexuality is immutable. All studies have shown that sexual orientation is a continuum. So why are you so outraged that some people (and Thom might be one of them) who consider themselves homosexual, have the ability to re-orient themselves more heterosexually?? We are HUMANS!! We are not robots!!
Similarly, people who consider themselves heterosexual may fall in love with a same-gendered person and “re-orient” themselves homosexually. Don’t you see it happen?
On the same note, there are probably people who are so strongly sexually-oriented that inner change probably is impossible. I see myself as a heterosexual in this category. It sounds like many of you see yourselves as homosexual in this category. If I were told that being gay was the “right” way, I would probably engage in a miserable struggle to adapt, but would fail. So I can imagine, and therefore sympathize with, the horrible plight of trying to change your very strongly-oriented sexual tendencies. And I can see why you staunchly defend the normalcy and the right of your birth-given tendencies to thrive normally in society.
However, if I were less strongly heterosexual, or maybe less sexually-inclined in general, I could see that societal pressure and/or religious belief could encourage me, and ultimately enable me, to consider, and then embrace, and then even enjoy, a homosexual relationship. It’s simply not impossible.
All I’m saying is: don’t lump everyone into one category. We are humans and have great biologic variability. Just as sexual orientation has been found to be on a continuum, so would the ability to re-orient be on a continuum. Just because it might be impossible for you or me to re-orient, doesn’t mean there isn’t a percentage of the population (Thom included) for which it is possible.
Then, don’t be so angry just because someone else has chosen this path. We are humans first and foremost– brothers and sisters. We should strive to understand one another.
Thanks for commenting. I’ll throw in here for you, respectfully.
I have a question for you.
What choice do gay people have? Were there really a free and accepted way to be gay, I’d say that when a gay person doesn’t want to be gay, their decision and feelings about it are assured to not be coerced in any way.
But I just said that it’s heteros controlling and demanding to, everything to do with gay people. While never accepting the negative consequences of doing so.
When do gay people get to throw in THEIR experiences and feelings and needs?
As far as I can know, I have already accepted why it’s UNDERSTANDABLE why someone wouldn’t WANT to be gay. It’s context that matters here, Anne. The full, history and socio/political implications of that context.
How long has the dominant society insisted on what gay people can and should do, compared to when gay people are free to do it?
The obsession with one’s same sex sexuality determining ALL ELSE of what the person IS, requires that gay people be considered in such a narrow and one dimensional way, as to not be actual people at all.
Seriously, Anne. I’m a heterosexual. The almost singular thing that determines the decision an ex gay might make, is that heteros are TREATED BETTER, they aren’t ACTUALLY BETTER people. Christians are treated better than Jews.
It’s to be included with the dominant and more powerful of who runs and succeeds in society.
Hiding behind Christian doctrine as requisite to be a better person. Heteros aren’t required to be that kind of Christian, or anything of the sort to be so freely accepted as credible, decent and without restrictions to what they do that is legal and encouraged to do.
Men are treated better than women. And some women disguised themselves as men, to get to do what their talents and interests warranted.
The point is: NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO DO SUCH A THING, for their dimensions and abilities to be the forefront of their character, rather than their sexual orientation.
The standards are different and keep changing when it comes to what gay people want to do with their lives that’s acceptable to those who dominate.
And when I ask the very question about long time committed relationships, open service in the military and adoption and so on, those things heteros are applauded for.
Suddenly gay people are threatening for DOING the same thing, not just aspiring to. But actually being exemplary at it.
Meaning: it’s not NECESSARY to be hetero to be a person of exemplary character and ability.
But to hear the ex gay industry tell it, it’s not true.
The only thing that makes being hetero desirable, is that heteros never judge each other the way they do gay people.
It’s heteros that create burdens and impossible standards for gay people and keep making up more and more as they go along.
Each time a gay person exceeds the low expectations straight people set for them.
As well as the high ones they don’t for anyone else.
So unless and until someone is HONEST about this reality, you will be called out on the dishonesty so far displayed.
Ex gays are to all intents and purposes, extremely weak people. Without the merit within themselves to own that they don’t WANT to fight the injustice and bigotry and mischaracterization that gay people are subject to.
The amicus brief that several anti marriage equality groups have filed, invoke changing orientation as reason enough to discriminate against gay people. Along with invoking breeding capacity. Which isn’t legal in the first place.
While your comment is heartfelt, it’s cold worthless comfort to gay people. Because there IS no choice for gay people.
And being a hetero isn’t much of an ‘alternative’ in the long run, because one’s character isn’t under the intense scrutiny for anyone to think ex gays have any.
Proof: PFOX..and organization that Haley Ray supports, filed an amicus brief against the overturning of Prop. 8 in California. Prop. 8 is an amendment to the CA Constitution that put a ban on ss marriage.
The governor and AG of CA refuse to appeal, on the basis of it’s unConstitutionality. Judge Walker has been attacked and there are accusations his decision was biased when his orientation was revealed.
What PFOX and Exodus have shown, is that they are not content with any compassionate outreach to gay people who want to change orientation.
But they want to be assured that discriminatory laws remain in place against gay people.
Ultimate proof that they are full of s**t when it comes to addressing the needs of gay people and giving them an ‘alternative.’
There IS no alternative to living free and having equal rights. You either have them or you don’t. And when you specifically and undeniably want to keep those equal civil protections and rights from gay people…then you’re interests are clear also.
This is a fair characterization of ex gays and their straight supporters Anne. Gay people aren’t and never have been interested in taking anything away from anyone else.
And gay people being treated equally takes nothing away from ex gays at all.
An ex gay can be free to be that if they want to.
But when they engage in taking something from gay people in the socio/political arena, in the civil law arena. All bets are off and you don’t get the benefit of the doubt.
This amicus brief and other political actions by Exodus, PFOX and so on are exactly what we’re talking about.
No justice and equality for gay people, then you’re called out on the lies you’re telling.
And please, none of this ‘but I don’t vote against gay people, I don’t do it, I don’t have anything to do with it.’
If you throw in with orgs that do, then yes, you’re doing what they are.
See Anne. This is pretty much a no b******t zone.
When you try selling it here, and we reject it, then…it’s your problem and should be.
Anne, what you have presented is such a mass of misinformation that I really don’t know how to address it. I’ll leave the discussion to others who might have the time and desire to continue with this.
I appreciate your comments and they were very clear to me, even if Dave and Regan could not accept them as your own heartfelt and well-thought-out expression. When you first posted, I was hopeful that you would be treated with a bit more respect than I have been. What I have discovered is that you have to be in total agreement here or you become a target. If you had agreed with everything Regan and others have said, you would be receiving pats on the back rather than ducking from potshots. Somehow or another, just because my sexual pathway did not come out as they wish it had, I’ve been held responsible for all kind of things, including Jim Crow laws and everything bad that ever happened to gay people . . . something I would never wish for or condone, as they would know if they were to read the writing on my blog.
I wish it were not so, but this is not a place to share differing opinions or to have rational discussions. To their credit, they stick very closely to their positions and they are adept at shutting down any other.
I think what I have said here is pretty clear . . . but it always awaits the Regan interpretation.
Anne: a few comments”
” highly sensitive and thoughtful individual who is lambasted here because he has taken his personal journey in a different direction than others here have. ”
No, it was becuase of his support for an organization that has done and continues to do a great deal of damage.
“you will understand him more, and maybe hate him less. ”
Noone hates him. But we understand him, perhaps all too well.
“So I can imagine, and therefore sympathize with, the horrible plight of trying to change your very strongly-oriented sexual tendencies. And I can see why you staunchly defend the normalcy and the right of your birth-given tendencies to thrive normally in society.”
“We are humans and have great biologic variability. Just as sexual orientation has been found to be on a continuum, so would the ability to re-orient be on a continuum. Just because it might be impossible for you or me to re-orient, doesn’t mean there isn’t a percentage of the population (Thom included) for which it is possible. ”
Except that there isn’t the slightest bit of anything resembling proof that this is possible, and the sheer number of ex-exgays argues against it. I don’t dispute that it is possible, but as has been commented here many times, the goalposts of what constitutes change, are in constant motion. I agree with you: humans are vastly complicated, and a great deal is possible. but to say that something is possible does not mean that it is, has, or will occur.
You show complete understanding here.
” anger and outrage at his belief system”
You are correct– almost. It’s what his belief system does to innocent people who do not share those beliefs.
Thom, I repeat,
You do NOT have to be in total agreement with me. Disagreement is a healthy thing. But gay folks don’t get to agree with their own sexual orientation without being punished and maligned for it.
And you behaving as if it’s not true or what actually happens to gay people, is dishonest. And dishonesty and recognizing it, isn’t disagreeing with you.
It’s naming facts and the truth and being honest about it. That’s all.
I don’t have to believe b******t when I see it, and what makes you think I should?
And mores the point, how small are you to not even own up to that being what it is?
Instead, you throw a pity party for yourself and assess that we MUST have everyone agree with us.
PFOX did file an amicus brief for the appeal that Prop. 8 be upheld. That’s not about disagreeing, that’s about the truth of what happens when gay people get a little more freedom and self reliance in their lives.
If the ex gay industry backed off from supporting discrimination, and ONLY lent their energies to helping gay people…then we WOULD be in agreement.
But that’s not what happens.
This is why your indictment of me, and the majority here is what makes you look weak Thom. You’re not owning what you keep insisting on.
You’re in a tight spot aren’t you? You can’t get out of this one, but blaming us sure isn’t going to cut it, but I’m not surprised you’d do that.
Too bad Anne can’t produce any convincing evidence that anyone can or ever has changed their sexual orientation. It just doesn’t exist. In the Prop 8 trial, these lies just fell apart. On the stand, someone making that sort of an assertion would have to back it up. They couldn’t. Anne can’t.
Ah, now it’s down to me, then hunh Thom? “The Regan Interpretation” must be something like the “Militant Homosexual Agenda.”
I suppose maybe it’s because as a woman, and a black person, I can empathize fully with gay people and their struggles with systemic bigotry and discrimination. It’s happened to me personally.
I’ve seen women in my former profession as a dancer, succumb to anorexia and it’s attendant damage for trying to fit into a standard of beauty that’s unrealistic for most people.
Black people have scars on their scalps and hair pulled too tight, trying to have straight hair.
Conformity to an ‘ideal’ standard doesn’t respect genetic legitimacy and easily disqualifies character for superficial aesthetics.
Trying to conform isn’t new.
But the reason for that conformity can’t be ignored with regard to gay lives. Your pity party about holding you solely responsible for troubles of gay people is stupid and not even true for my part.
I have said over and over that support of organizations that DO interfere with gay lives is the problem. THEY are responsible, and you…partly so, if you agree with THEM.
We here, as anyone fully understanding of historical and political context, would wonder and SHOULD question you.
Just as any sensible person would question the conversion of a Jew from Judaism, who went on to support anti Semitic policies that were dangerous to Jews.
Wouldn’t you question someone who insists on having all the answers and truth about being Jewish, but who was a non Jewish anti Semitic?
Then why are YOU believing those who have plans for your life, that don’t include you having equal freedoms as a gay person?
Thom, I don’t have to disagree with you. You are a contradiction unto yourself. I don’t have to do a thing, but call into question the content of your character, and here comes the poor Thom, all these big bad people are picking on me because I don’t agree with them.
You don’t have to agree with us Thom. You just can’t lie, be dishonest or b******t us.
Man up about that.
Do you agree that systemic discrimination is wrongful against gay men and women?
Do you agree that gays and lesbians deserve Constitutional protections guaranteed to them?
Especially protection from tyranny by a majority?
Do you agree that religious belief is a matter of individual freedom, not civil discrimination against those who cannot, do not and aren’t involved in that religion?
Do you agree, that ex gay ministries, should remain apolitical and not engage in supporting policies, candidates or laws that discriminate against gay people?
Fair questions. Because that’s all I’m concerned about. I really truly don’t give a rat’s a*s that you want to be hetero. Why wouldn’t you want to be? It’s easier, it’s more accepted and nobody will notice you to judge and discriminate against you.
Just don’t be hetero at gay folk’s at the expense of their civil rights or freedoms and equal rights and opportunity.
Years ago a female teen relative of mine nosedived into eveything gay. I wasn’t aware of it until I saw her pictures on FB. And yes I jumped right into lecture mode over and over again. She professed to me that she is what she is and nothing will change that. Her Mother promptly took her for psychiatric counseling and was advised to just let it go. This went on for a couple years. Today she is with male partner and 2 yr old son. So I’m not up for any debates on whether people can change or not. Had this girl followed the gay lead, which there certainly is plenty of, she would not be a Mother today or at least not with her son’s Father. The mind is what complicates this entire issue. Unfortunately the medical profession prefers to cater to activism rather than get down to the business of healing for those who really want it. That’s why the only thing left to turn to for guidance is the book that we’ve had all along.
Right Haley Ray….
YOU dictated the terms of what this girl was going to be the second you found out. And the whole family got in on it.
She didn’t stand a chance. You patting yourself on the back is disgusting.
You know the anti gay sentiment in this country, all the way up the chain of elected offices, judicial branches and education all favor you COERCING a young person into what you think you’re entitled to dictate when you feel like it.
Being heterosexual isn’t an ‘alternative’ to a gay person.
But you not being gay, you couldn’t care less, and NEVER DID, what a gay person thinks or feels.
You got your young relative at a time when few young people have gotten their heads around what it will mean to their lives and their own goals and self determination how they will be happy on their terms.
This relative of yours had to do things on YOUR terms. You didn’t give a s**t about her.
At least own up to the fact that you didn’t.
She could have still had a life partner, and a beautiful baby WITHOUT doing it heterosexually.
And she could have ended up single, alone and never had a child like so many HETEROSEXUALS too.
Plenty of heterosexuals have relationship problems, children that end up badly, and busted marriages all over the place.
Her orientation wouldn’t have mattered in that regard Haley. That’s the point.
What matters is the systemic prejudice, bigotry and discrimination that damages gay lives so that gaining independence and self reliance is made impossible or very difficult.
My concern is the anti gay sentiment that kids and adults bully with.
You have revealed that you bullied your relative in the guise of concern for her welfare.
When really, you wanted to have total control over HER choices for herself.
How the hell do you call it having a choice, when you were all over her in a heartbeat?
Having a choice would have been for you and your family to leave her alone to find her own way.
No one chooses to be gay, or hetero for that matter. And you’re dishonest if you think this experience with your relative was a matter of her having a choice.
You’re came in here loaded with BS Haley.
And I’m calling you on it.
What about discriminatory policies that leave no room for a gay person to be honest, be themselves and not have mau maus like you breathing down their necks all the time?
What about THAT?
Do they get to have the choice in you leaving them the hell alone?
I do know people who changed their orientation. That’s why I’m intrigued by this message board and this topic. I agree that they’re in the minority, but they did change. One went from heterosexual (never thought of herself as otherwise) to homosexual when she became involved with a woman, and it evolved into a long-term lesbian relationship. I guess one might now qualify her as “bisexual.” But the label is silly…. The point is that she thought of herself as “heterosexual” and now thinks of herself as “homosexual.”
I know another person who thought of herself as heterosexual, then fell in love with her
best female friend, got married to her, created a child together, and then fell in love with a man she met in dance class. (This is a sad story; ended in a nasty break-up.) But she is now married to the man. Again, it sounds like she is “bisexual.” But she changed her orientation twice.
My point is that sexuality is on a continuum. If someone tips more towards one orientation, but has the potential to focus his/her energies on the other orientation…. things can happen.
I totally agree that these “ex-gay” groups can be harmful and destructive. What I’m wondering, though: Are they absolutely, unilaterally, always destructive, to every person who seeks them out? If Thom feels that he has been helped in a positive, healthy, authentic way, then how can someone else deny that? One really can’t judge another, or claim that another is lying to himself. You just don’t know what’s inside another’s soul.
Thom, you and a gentleman named Peter Ould should really consider a long-term relationship. The resemblance in methods is uncanny. Also, as a point of moderation, please avoid throwing your blog advert into every comment. The proper place for that is your profile which will link it to your name (which you seem to have done correctly). Most blogs, including this one, automatically insert “no follow” tags on such links so increasing the number of times they appear will not increase your traffic. Constantly linking to the same site with no specific facts to support can be rather irritating.
I’m way behind here… Was out all day after I wrote in here….
To answer your question “What choice do gay people have?”
My observation is: Many (most?) people do not have a choice. But there is a small percentage who indeed have a choice. This goes for heterosexuals and homosexuals.
Sexual orientation is on a continuum, and is therefore not black-and-white for everyone.
It’s interesting: Just my statement of the above is causing me to be grossly misunderstood and mischaracterized here. It just so happens that I totally believe in kindness, compassion, and equality for all. In fact I posted a youtube video on my Facebook page today from the “It gets better” campaign.
The only reason I wrote into this website is because I thought the attacks on Thom were harsh, and because it looked to me (an outsider) that no one was really hearing what he said. I could read and understand what you said, and get where you were coming from, but I am also able to hear what he said. It doesn’t look like I have a lot of company here in that regard, though. 🙂
I wrote in because I saw people lumping Thom into “EVIL” category, and presuming to know his entire agenda and his “ilk.” But I see a much more nuanced picture of him, and of people who might be in his shoes. You can’t judge a man till you’ve walked in his shoes.
Good point. I have to think about this one.
Funny thing is, the reason I even started exploring this issue is because I’ve always been so fervently in agreement with the opinions expressed on this website. And only recently was I myself able to see the other side of the picture (Thom’s side). And because of this new open-mindedness I’ve found myself in, I’m poking around the web out of curiosity.
The thing is: I had a real anti-Christianity bias before. I had a real bias against the “horrible” notion that someone could change their sexual orientation.
Only recently did I realize: for some people, and Thom is an example of one, Christianity truly uplifts them and helps them. For some people, they feel empowered, and not shamed, by the notion of change. For some people, it is POSSIBLY possible. Maybe this is the case for only for 10 people in the world. But for those 10 people– is it fair to look upon them with disdain?
Vague anectdotes about a person who previously had sex with women being married to a man with a child are not evidence of sexual orientation change. The person could just be bisexual, in which case nothing has really changed other than the current partner.
Please provide the references to peer reviewed, reproducible studies that show that people can actually change the sexual orientation, not just the behavior or current partner. The evidence doesn’t exist, and I am not going to nicely go along with you pretending that people can change the sexual orientation no matter how many anonymous bisexuals you thow out.
In the Prop 8 trial, they had every opportunity to present the data. They didn’t, because they couldn’t. No such data exists supporting the idea that people can change their sexual orientation.
The problem I see with this is that sexual orientation (contrary to Thom’s personal world view), is not determined by how one “think of one’s self.” The primary sexual and emotional attraction to either the same sex or the opposite sex (or both) stems from basic reactions to stimuli which can be measured in the brain. These happen in fractions of a second which leaves little time for a self-imposed identity to interfere.
I would tend to agree with this statement though the continuum portion is a matter of interpretation as yet. However, it makes sense to me that those who are described as bisexual to some degree should, if they so desire, be able to emphasize either the hetero or homosexual reactions. Whether this would be beneficial or not depends on a host of factors. Success would also depend on many things — the ratio of the desired attraction over the undesired one, the stimulus for seeking change (a belief that homosexual relationships would send one to hell, for example), etc.
Speaking anecdotally, I’ve noticed that many ex-gays (or those who seek to change) have made some rather irresponsible choices in life. I’m not sure I have ever known of an ex-gay who had been leading a normal, boring, life as a gay man or woman before seeking change. There are always tales of dangerous sex, destructive behaviors, substance abuse, etc. I think a study of this aspect might yield interesting data. For instance, is it possible that many or even most of these people are blaming their sexual orientation for all the ills in their lives? Are the destructive behaviors the real reason for the desire to change?
As for your friend, Anne, I think we need to be cautious about saying that “she changed her orientation twice.” While it is possible that women are less rigid in the area of sexual orientation, your statement above implies a willful act. That would be counter to the best information available on the subject.
Certainly not my intent to be irritating here, David. I’ll be more careful about following the rules if I choose to make any more comments. I’ll admit that I had hoped the links might lead someone to actually visit the blog, but the motivation was not to increase traffic. I can just tell that people who have been commenting about me do so from a stereotyping mindset, rather than from any knowledge of me as a person. I thought I would make it easier, if anyone cared, by linking my name to the blog, where they could actually find out more about me. The blog gets ample traffic, so increasing it was not the intent. It’s a personal blog, not one on which one makes money.
I believe that one’s orientation can change, but I believe that based on the fact that I believe that with Christ all things are possible. That may sound simple, but it is true, although believing that might be difficult for a non-Christian who would have to put his faith somewhere else, perhaps even in himself.
Now, as for myself? I don’t believe I was ever actually oriented as a homosexual. It was the first sexual expression to which I was exposed and, though it never seemed natural to me personally, it was pleasurable and I pursued it. As I matured mentally and spiritually, I believed it was not right for me. I can’t speak for others’ personal experiences. However, if someone comes to me and shares the same belief — that God does not want them to be gay — I certainly offer support and encouragement, based on what I believe the Bible says. Telling them they have no choice, when their faith tells them they do, is wrong.
I know I originally came on here weeks ago to say that I support Exodus. I still do. Is it perfect? No. But, nothing I have seen on here gives me any indication you guys have it all together either. I don’t believe Exodus is the boogie man you make it out to be. You like to point to it as a political machine cranking out the chains you think surround you. I’ve not seen that.
When I need evidence that change is possible, I examine my own life, not someone else’s.
Something like ability to change sexual orientation is either true or it isn’t true. This really isn’t about belief. If it is true, then show us the evidence through reproducible peer reviewed studies.
Further, you go on to say that you were never homosexual. If that is the case, it would seem that you have nothing to really offer people who might desperately want to change the sexual orientation in order to fit into the demands of their family or religious group. You say you haven’t changed your sexual orientation, and you have provided no evidence of academic expertise or knowledge about the area of sexual orientation change (or more appropriately the lack thereof).
Since you now claim you were never gay, never changed your sexual orientation and essentially have no academic backround in the subject, you last line is even more perplexing. You haven’t changed, but you can look at your own life for evidence that change is possible, despite the lack of change of sexual orientation. Perhaps you should just give it up.
Hi Anne, truly, I appreciate your comments. They have been well thought out. I would like to point out that Thom isn’t being attacked. He’s been disingenuous and self pitying, and we are frank about that.
And, as I’ve said, I can empathize more than he wants me to say, from the political standpoint and the legacy of what happens when straight people assume gay people can and should change.
That puts the onus of doing so at the expense of ordinary freedom and self reliance and self acceptance for that matter.
My point in asking what choice to gay people have, was in fact to say that gay people don’t have a choice to be gay, if the spectre and expectation for them to change is present.
This is disruptive of parent/child relationships, romantic ones and professional ones as well.
How many men and women have had their marriages destroyed over one thinking they can change the other and the crushing disappointment of one, leads to divorce?
Expecting a gay person to change, especially through an op sex marriage is a monumental expectation and an unfair burden on both parties to accomplish it.
Something that Haley Ray clearly doesn’t appreciate.
Gay people are pressured to be heterosexual. The inverse isn’t true of what gay people want to do or what they want heteros to do.
So, there isn’t a choice Anne.
Most of us struggle for identity, connection and healthy social networks. It’s confining and narrow for religious communities especially to say that gay people can’t freely associate with each other and ONLY being heterosexual is the better way to live.
And unless you isolate a gay person from experiencing what contradicts that, the lie in that is obvious.
As I said, heteros get treated better, they aren’t better people.
The incentive to be hetero is there, but there isn’t a lot of point in becoming one in order to look down on others.
Which IS essentially the aim of Exodus.
I’m more concerned with the civil and Constitutional laws.
And the sorts of bigotry that assumes gay people are inferior and don’t deserve to be recognized as who they really are.
I already had an exchange with Haley that showed she’s exceptionally fearful, ignorant and selfish.
She doesn’t have to agree with me either.
But others shouldn’t have to pay for how little she understands about gay people.
You are so adept at labeling people. I don’t think you’re frank at all. Just dismissive. “Disingenuous and self-pitying?” That’s pretty ridiculous, Regan, but perhaps if I were in your position as defender, I might use the same darts of desperation. And let’s see, Haley is “fearful, ignorant and selfish.” And I guess both of us are bigots? And religious “communities” are generally “confining and narrow?” I think you greatly overestimate the numbers of people who “pressure” gay people to be heterosexual, although I admit it does go on in families and is usually a sign that the family members do not understand the underlying issues. I’ve never assumed a gay person to be inferior, so please consider me an exception to your stereotyping.
You didn’t see how she treated me on her FB page, Thom. And she deleted the exchange, so you couldn’t see for yourself.
She ACTED, I REACTED.
Know the difference.
Thom do you think my experience with ex gays began with just you? Do you think I made it up about groups like NOM, the ADF and FRC and what they point to as reasons to deny equality?
Instead of me labeling you. I’ll question you. And you’re free to answer them.
Why would you think I ‘greatly’ overestimate the numbers of people who pressure gay people to be heterosexual?
And why WOULD I think that?
As for your last sentence, you are personalizing something that I stated as a fact in socio/political context. A matter of public policies.
These are not a matter of opinion Thom. They exist for a specific purpose that effectively harms gay people.
You personalizing something when I make such comments is a symptom of how self involved you can be.
To not discuss this issue in that context is a symptom of dis ingenuousness.
You “admit pressure to be hetero goes on in families and is usually a sign that the family does not understand the underlying issues.”
And just how is someone who is an adolescent going to respond to that pressure? What choices would they have to resist it?
What do you think happens to them, when they DO resist the pressure?
Public policies are not a stereotype. Neither are the people who support them. And yes, the most fundamentalist and Christianist communities ARE narrow and confining for gay people.
Haley Ray erased evidence of her responses, not only to me, but to my background and challenge to her own narrow definitions of what she thinks she knows.
Projecting onto me, won’t change what you’ve revealed about yourself, Thom.
Let’s begin again.
Answer the questions instead of complaining about how misunderstood and labeled you are.
I have another question:
Have you ever known of a gay kid who has been accepted by his family, included in a healthy and loving peer network and who has developed his sexuality into a strong character building experience…to decide he doesn’t want to be gay anymore?
It’s obvious few people ever want to talk about the inverse. Like what a hetero would do if they were in the shoes of someone gay?
Thom thinks that Regan “overestimates” the amount of pressure put on gay folks to go straight. So, I guess those folks that kicked him out of his church (? twice) and completely rejected him after his park escapade didn’t have the least influence or represent any pressure on him to try to give up his sexual activity with men. No pressure at all, I’m sure.
That’s a very interesting question you pose there, and at least it is based on knowledge of who I am and where I’ve been. After the church discipline issues which arose from my arrest, I had every opportunity in the world to chuck any pretense if I truly thought of myself as homosexual. Nothing was compelling me to continue to pursue what I know is God’s intent for me. I had stumbled badly, lost pretty much everything and the easy thing at that point would have been to just give up. No one pressured me. In fact, they would probably have been relieved if I had just declared myself gay and been done with the struggle altogether. I couldn’t. Honestly, being revealed as I was gave me the freedom to move without the burden of the deception and use the energy to find out who I really am. I found that being transparent in my struggle and dropping the pressure I put on myself enabled me to confront myself honestly. I made a choice, but it was not under pressure. It was through prayer and study. The church discipline was not because they thought I was gay, but because I was deceptive about my sexual addiction. The issue was deception and unfaithfulness, not sexual orientation.
The church has, overall, been more accepting about me than you guys have.
“Darts of desperation.”
Why would you think I’m desperate? I’m hetero, always have been and I have no one in my family that’s close to me who is gay. I don’t have a dog in this fight. I don’t have to do anything for gay people. I can leave the whole thing alone, go my own way and not worry a damn about ex gays, gays or what they do, do I?
Did it not occur to you Thom, that I really don’t have to agree, disagree or give a s**t about any of this.
I have no need to be desperate, or concerned…or even a little annoyed at anything to do with gay people.
Nothing in it for me. Ever think of that?
I have nothing to gain, there is no profit in supporting gay people or defending them.
You haven’t asked yourself or me…what I might have endured, if anything, in all this time.
I can see and even understand why you wouldn’t want to be gay.
But you’ve never asked me why I would care about what happens to gay people.
Neither did Haley.
Your response to this conversation has pretty much been about YOUR feelings, and how YOU feel and what we say to and about YOU.
I was speaking of specifically anti gay organizations and their agendas…you weren’t even mentioned Thom, until you put your own name on what I was talking about.
You just got here. And for the most part, when I was in neutral and had made no assumptions or judgments or decisions about ex gays, in the beginning. I was looking for ex gays to educate me about their experiences and how they got to the place they were.
After years, YEARS…of nothing but stonewalling, denial, obfuscation and outright hostility and character assassination, I was helped to come to the conclusion I have. I have made no assumptions about ex gays. None whatsoever. I have had very unpleasant experiences with too many to count. Perhaps having acquired heterosexuality, with it has come a kind of confidence that you aren’t supposed to be challenged or questions. Just accepted unconditionally.
Interesting, since a myriad of conditions are placed on gay people.
It’s not really a generalization on my part, Thom. But a confluence of having the same experience with different ex gays. There isn’t a lot of variation between you. The responses are pretty much the same. Names are different, but the attitude isn’t.
If I didn’t know better, I would have guessed you were the same person.
But I do know better. I just don’t like what I see and hear and sometimes, it’s creepy.
The honest truth is, ex gays gave me nothing to work with. To think differently with. So I had to draw some kind of conclusion with what I had. I found my way to XGW in the first place because of looking for some answers.
THEY were friendly and open and eager to inform me.
Ex gays were not.
I don’t deal in stereotypes, I’m ALWAYS looking for an opportunity to learn, and allow for being educated.
Ex gays dropped the ball and you’re not helping either.
darts of desperation…
I wonder how desperate Carl Walker Hoover was at eleven years old, to kill himself because of anti gay torment.
Or Billy Lucas. I’ve had anti gay people make fun of me for being earnest when invoking the names of CHILDREN who have been murdered or bullied to death because of what they are taught about gay people.
I’ve had teenagers kicked out of their homes live with ME because their parents didn’t want a gay kid in the house. Especially to influence their siblings in accepting them.
And if that’s a label you want to slap on me, so?
You got a problem If I’m desperate to help those kids? See their futures be as equals and protected and treated justly, well. Yeah, guess so. I’m desperate.
And why aren’t you?
There is a lot of work to be done. Some of us don’t have time to sit on our asses waiting to see which way the wind is going to blow.
If I’m wrong about YOU, then what are YOU doing to make things RIGHT?
Thanks for NOT answering my questions Thom. I can give you a little more time. You told us all about YOU.
And you’re complaining about how not accepted you are here. Again.
Of course your church would accept you, you’re not gay to them. Straight guys get sexual addictions too. Right?
So what difference does your orientation make? Fair question.
You’re telling us you got in trouble as a homosexual, but heterosexuality is supposed to change that?
I hope you answer my questions, because for my part it’s not about accepting or agreeing with you. I just don’t accept b******t.
As long as you loathe and deny that part of yourself which you seem so unwilling to face here then I suspect you will continue to feel that way. And before you protest, look over your comments and see to what lengths you have gone to avoid admitting you are gay, or that such an orientation even exists. As John said earlier, this is not about beliefs but facts. You are entitled to believe anything you like but when others are unwilling to join you it is disingenuous to say they are attacking or rejecting you.
Thom, I’d like to point out if no one else has that being gay does not equal sexual addiction.
A healthy sex drive of any orientation is not “addiction.” People attracted to the same sex and not the opposite sex who loathe that part of themselves will call their attraction to the same sex “addiction” because they can’t shake it. Well, this “addiction” is no different than an opposite sex attraction. The only difference is that instead of the opposite sex, one is attracted to the same sex.
Additionally, the closet does terrible thing to people. It forces them to push back the flow of their sexuality, like capping off a running hose with your thumb. But capping off the hose doesn’t stop the water; it only makes it spray forcefully in chaotic directions. Hence, the indulgence in anonymous sex and reckless behavior that so many self-loathing gays give in to.
Thank you, Emily. I didn’t articulate it as eloquently as you did, but it’s absolutely true that ex gay ministries treat ss attraction as if it’s an addiction.
The wrongful approach to homosexuality, will yield the wrong results.
If a gay young person cannot be honest about their orientation without the kinds of reaction that anti gay people encourage, then it’s impossible to be honest at a crucial period of development.
Then you get furtive, encounters in the wrong places with the wrong people.
Seriously Thom, you are hardly unique. Ex gay ministries still think it’s a theory what will happen when gay people are accepted, and treat homosexuality as a problem. Not only for individuals, but for society.
Something which is false. Therefore, whatever their approach, will ALWAYS be wrong. This approach has been going on for a very long time. So this is not an ‘alternative’ to being gay. It’s a repression of being gay.
What HASN’T had enough time to be fully accounted, is accepting gay people as a sexual variation. A natural and normal one. Period.
THAT is the actual alternative to fear, mis characterization and hostility towards gay people and their orientation.
This is fact. As Emily is saying.
I will no longer tolerate bashing from Regan. The truth of the matter is I simply posted comments in support of PFOX on their FB page. Apparently Regan lurches on multiple discussion sites to attack anyone that appears friendly toward an ex-gay agenda. Posting combative comments to mine wasn’t enough for her though. She then took it upon herself to contact me personally via FB emails. Her daily emails kept me busy for quite a while since they were her typical book style comments. Her constant name calling and disrespectful behavior finally wore out their welcome and in the end I told her twice to get lost as politely as possible. I did not have the ability to delete posts on any discussion board as she implied since I am not an administrator to any such board. I also have the right to lecture any family member as I see fit. I could care less what Regan categorizes me as pertaining to that. In the end and with no interaction with me whatsoever, the girl made the switch to heterosexuality on her own. There was no pressure for her to do anything she didn’t want to do. There is zero damage to this young woman’s life unless she herself one day feels insecure about her past behavior. Surprise Regan – no monsters here!! Regardless of what Regan insists goes on incessantly with gay bashing, etc, I see it as a huge exaggeration. If anybody is on the attack, all Regan needs to do is look in her own mirror. And as an elder to her, I challenge her to clean up her potty mouth as well.
There is nothing evil about an organization such as Exodus who is there to help people that seeks its services and I’m more than sure no amount of screaming in opposition to it will make it go away. It will only bring more attention to its success stories. PFOX exists too. At least Regan will have less time sending attack emails to me.
And by the way, why should very much funds be allocated to the Prop 8 trial on first phase? Anybody with any logic at all knows the funds are reserved for the big fight which hasn’t even happened yet.
Nice try Haley.
You erased all the evidence that would prove the contrary. Commenting truthfully isn’t a bashing, nor an attack.
Neither is contradicting you.
It’s impossible to make a brief commentary since accusations and assertions you make, were all over the place and never stayed on point.
And are a way to put your target on the defensive.
Without the evidence, you can say what you want and expect to be believed without challenge. And you’re doing that here.
PROVE you were attacked.
You made the accusation, now back it up.
Haley, I’m sure you realize that no one here is responsible for other discussion venues. Commenting here about what Regan or any other commenter writes somewhere else or in private emails is inappropriate. Please deal with those issues wherever they occur.
Regan, you might take a deep breath and let others respond if they are going to. Some of your comments here are a little long and intense, which can make others feel overwhelmed. And the language issue is a valid one, let’s keep it clean.
PFOX is a prime example of a deceptive, hate-filled anti-gay organization. I am able to have a rational discussion with Alan Chambers and we both know where the other stands. PFOX, which is no longer part of the Exodus network, seems wiling to do or say just about anything to accomplish their goals. I feel sorry for parents who find them out of an innocent desire to understand their gay or lesbian child.
Haley Ray speaks of Exodus’ success stories. I can’t imagine what an Exodus success story is beyond getting some big donation from a right wing anti-gay group, or Randy being able to attend some event where nobody believes a word that he says about how heterosexual he has become, despite all his fabulousness.
Exodus hasn’t been able to convincingly demonstrate that anybody has or even can change their sexual orientation. It’s leaders know that they have no ability to change anybody’s sexual orientation. (After all, most of them have admitted in one way or another that they’re still gay.) Yet they dangle this mean hoax out in front of their unsuspecting fraud victims. These victims spend time and money. They can be made to feel like utter worthless failures when they realize that they are never going to change their sexual orientation. Then as a form of support, the organization may imply that they didn’t try hard enough. Some of these people end up killing themselves. Haley doesn’t think that Exodus is an evil organization, but it certainly is a brutally cruel one.
Hi David, as you well know, I do respectfully adhere to the etiquette of this site, as well as defer to your suggestions or admonishments if they occur.
Which, all things considered, is rare.
Every aspect of my work, is not for the squeamish. Which comes with the territory of seeing the absolute worst reprobates society has.
And, it makes me an intense person, and good at what I do. So yeah, there comes a time when I am a bit much.
I am depended on by an awful lot of people, and I’d hate to let them down.
I know you understand Dave. And I have appreciated, more than I can say, how much you have let me express myself.
And I see that straight allies on this site aren’t that frequent. Sometimes there are things that happen that trigger the only healthy way I can let my feelings be known, without beating someone up myself.
So, yeah…language gets crude, anger is obvious. Especially when someone comes along and acts like the injured party.
When the most they are encountering is someone who knows they are liars and cowards who won’t on their part in what happens when it’s bad.
Thanks again. Your point is well taken. I can own that too.
No problem, I definitely understand the passion and frustration. But as you can see, it can all too easily be used by someone else to distract from the issue.
Nobody writing for XGW is “screaming” for Exodus to go away. Exodus seems to be doing a great job on their own of making themselves irrelevant. And the results are not good for them. Just look at the title of this post.
And as long as the closet gets smaller and smaller, Exodus’ “need” will vanish. Just like their staff budget.
WHile she doesn’t write everything in all caps, I think it’s arguable that Regan “screams” for Exodus’ demise.
I agree with you that the closet may be getting smaller. It is certainly easier these days than it used to be to step out.
It appears to me that most of the men and women who sincerely struggle within themselves, trying to determine whether they are indeed homosexual or heterosexual are people of faith. I believe the church may learn to respond with truth and compassion and pick up the responsibility to do so that has been in the hands of Exodus for so long. If the churches were responsive and did as they should how they should, Exodus would not be as necessary as it is.
Regan doesn’t write articles for XGW. She’s a regular commenter on the site but this does not make her one of our writers.
Is my understanding correct: The majority here condemns Exodus and similar groups as being totally evil. Thom arrived and said: Well, hey, I derived some benefit from it. The response to Thom is: you are disingenuous, lying to yourself, self-loathing etc.
Is that right?
I wonder if I’m alone here in this opinion: I 100% support gay rights, gay partnerships. I believe that homosexuality is a natural, normal variant of God’s creation. I think it will be a wonderful day when young people don’t feel shame and depression at the realization of their homosexuality.
I also 100% support every individual’s right to self-determine and to create for him or herself the lifestyle that works best for him/her (as long as such a lifestyle does not harm others!). So I 100% support Thom in his personal life quest.
(Not that anyone cares what I support! But I guess we’re all here to sound off on our views!)
Thom was ridiculed here for talking about “himself” and “his” opinions, when the discussion is really about the Exodus GROUP. But groups are only comprised of individuals and their individual opinions. So I think Thom’s individual journey is important to consider and to take into account.
In other words, even if Exodus is–let’s say one could quantify it– harmful to 99% of the population and helpful to 1%, then we must at least recognize that 1%. Then we should evaluate that 1%, think about it, and maybe help encourage it? while simultaneously crusading to eliminate the 99% harmful stuff? Just wondering.
Just as homosexuality is an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle to heterosexuality, so is Thom’s journey an acceptable “alternative” journey to one who chooses to embrace their homosexuality. And to me, denouncing Thom as “disingenuous” or “lying” is equivalent to denouncing a homosexual as abnormal or wrong.
Thom, try to remember that many of the people here have either been hurt by Exodus themselves or have friends or family who have been. You may see them as a positive factor but their history is not good. To their credit they seem to have moved away from many of the obvious negatives, but they have done so without acknowledging, with any specificity, their misdeeds of the past nor have they asked those they hurt directly for forgiveness.
It is not just the GLBT individuals either. Parents over the years have come away burdened with the idea that they somehow caused their child to be gay (which of course is painted negatively so there is a lot of guilt). This is all built on pseudo-science and the likes of NARTH (“fathers hug your sons or another man will”). This causes real pain and condemnation for what is essentially a lie. I refuse to believe that God has any part of that.
Also, Alan Chambers has a practiced life narrative around the idea that his father was the main causative factor for his own homosexuality. These narratives turn into templates which are imposed on others. There is no real data to show that a parent “causes” homosexuality in their child, yet books are written on this all over and sold through Exodus and at their conferences.
I make allowances for those who interpret the scriptures of their personal faith as forbidding same-sex intimacy — it is the right of each person to conduct their lives as they see fit as long as doing so does not interfere with the same right in another. But when those people try to co-opt science to support what it does not, or fill in gaps in our understanding with belief and try to sell that in the marketplace of ideas, then I believe that needs to be countered.
Statements such as this are clearly parochial and, in all honesty, a little bit arrogant. There are plenty of Christian sects which would disagree with you there and more are coming to that conclusion all the time. Now, I am relatively certain that from your world view these would be considered in error, but then doctrinal disputes have always been ugly.
The point is you must at some point say “I possess the only accurate interpretation, follow me.” But I am only willing to say that I understand it this way, and I am at peace with God on it. I can’t tell you what you should believe on this point. Nor am I willing to consign someone to a life devoid of the kind of intimacy that it seems we all need, just because they are built a little differently. As I’ve said for years, until Exodus is willing to accept equally a person who feels at ease with their homosexual orientation and is at peace with God about it, they will continue to be part of the problem and not the solution.
Thom, I can speak for myself, thank you.
As Emily has pointed out, and I agree with her: Exodus’s time was done a while ago. As I said too, debating whether being gay is a choice and hinging systemic discrimination on it, is what’s the most important factor.
Exodus, NARTH and all other ex gay industry use information, methodology and negative reinforcement that was old fashioned back in the 70’s.
They are not a revelatory or new way of going about persuading gay people not to be gay. They are a belief system that’s dominated discussion, politics and social science for a very long time.
And they don’t have the grace to let those more enlightened, compassionate and honest, have THEIR say.
Haley Ray might invoke a personal experience with a relative, but has yet to explain or justify why discrimination against gay people who don’t follow that example, deserve discrimination.
I don’t scream for the demise of Exodus. When their own dominant voices lose strength and relevance and they lose the custom of the masses, it’s because honesty and real compassion prevailed.
The expectations of groups who support the ex gay industry don’t care about the added burdens they place on someone else. A burden they refuse to own when it DOES fail.
Despite how much they advertise and assert their successes, in a court of law…another story is in evidence.
Rarely ARE people who lead that industry ARE called into a serious court. They prevail upon the court of public opinion and the voters, and their elected officials.
But when pressed by parties who expect answers in justifying keeping gay people in second class citizen status, they hide, say they don’t want to be revealed, don’t want to have to answer to a forum where PROOF is required.
Gay people have had precious little opportunity to speak for themselves, be themselves, have someone believe them and the public be respectful enough NOT to argue if a gay person says they didn’t choose to be that way.
You should know how difficult it is just to do that. And you should also admit it happens more often and profoundly than it should.
I ask, and Haley too:
If she or her children wanted to know about Jews, being Jewish…especially in a context of social and political discrimination, would she consult a non Jewish anti Semite to learn?
I ask you the same thing.
So how is it at all fair, right and supportable to make the dominant oppressive factor in gay lives, be the ones given credibility and unchallenged trust?
If you wouldn’t go to a segregationist to ask whether or not blacks deserve equal opportunity and protection, than doing the equivalent to gay people doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
But it does to the ex gay industry, who demand to have all access, all power, all information control with the socio/political powers that be.
PFOX demands access to schools, and wants to teach that being gay is not only changeable, but the desirable way to be.
Yeah, and if you taught a Jewish kid that being Christian is BETTER, or a black kid that being WHITE is better…then the damage done can last a lifetime.
Indeed, the Clark study, on the psychic and physical damage to black children forced to be in inferior, segregated situations did just that.
And was what decided overturning segregation in Brown vs. the Bd. of Ed.
The inference of inferiority in gay people to children gay or straight, is despicable.
I don’t have to scream Thom.
I have history, facts and their context on my side.
What do YOU or Haley have?
Hi Anne, again…well thought out comment. Very fair.
I will reiterate this point though. I said I empathized with Thom. I’m a black person. A black woman. I have experienced direct racism, discrimination, and racial insensitivity that might as well have been a product of Jim Crow.
I have been known and tried to comfort, women who became anorexic, a flawlessly beautiful Japanese girl who wanted eye surgery to change the epicanthic fold in her eyes, and blacks who have suffered scalp burns and other indignities.
All of this pain, expense and mental anxiety to conform to an UNNECESSARY standard, prompted by low self esteem that came from the negative reinforcement of stigma, bullying, isolation and discrimination.
Even when a statement WAS made in general about Exodus and OTHER factors in the ex gay industry, HE put his name on it, and defended them.
Any defense of what we know to be a damaging and strong institution, will garner serious criticism.
Something that Thom won’t own.
I said I could understand why he wouldn’t want to be gay. When I was a child I didn’t want to be black. It’s hard being a woman.
But I won’t, and never would defend the very people who made me feel that way.
You’re absolutely right he deserves to be able to choose his own way without CRITICISM from us.
But gay people don’t get to choose THEIRS without major threat to everything any normal human being holds dear.
And he won’t admit that, no ex gay EVER does.
And few, if any ex gays defend gay people on any level for any reason. At least not enough to make a difference.
That’s the disconnect.
After a fashion, the only person that matters is the ex gay. Nobody else. It’s as if their whole exercise in affecting heterosexuality requires a lot of distance from their former selves so profound, that even memory would bring back all those ss longings.
It’s a characteristic and consequence of being ex gay Anne. The ex gay industry still has a lot of influence where they shouldn’t and they want to invade every aspect of everything whether they are invited or not.
I don’t know if you go to enough ‘family’ org sites, but all of them, to a one…will at some point, use ex gays as justification to discriminate.
Will invoke directly, NARTH or Exodus or any other group that says they’ve changed gay people.
And they complain bitterly that they are being persecuted, silenced and their 1st amendment rights are being compromised. They are constantly saying that any protections or equal rights gay people have, is a harbinger of society’s downfall…and the end of Christianity as we know it.
THEY still walk the halls of legislation and so on in Washington, D.C.
Tony Perkins was on the Hill at the DADT hearings.
Yet, Thom thinks I’m strident and screaming. I have admitted and will own the fact that I’m intense.
BTW, I’m a crime scene photographer for the LAPD.
If I’m concerned about the kind of bullying in schools that gets eleven year olds killing themselves, or 15 year olds getting executed in their classroom by another teen, well….
doesn’t it make YOU wanna holler too?
I don’t care to take criticism from someone who is part of the problem Anne. He IS.
All ex gays are, whether directly or indirectly. It’s the nature of their status. There isn’t anything they have to do to actively work against gay people.
Their existence does. And contradicts to what level of trust is possible.
And every time, gay people are on the losing end of that trust. No matter what gay people have to say.
And it’s disingenuous for Thom to either deny it, or criticize those of us who point that out.
His position is not neutral. His position is an example that’s used often and to great effect.
Gay people still don’t get to have much say, or to determine how they want to be happy and secure.
And people like Thom, especially if they tell THEIR story, give the opposition strength to their cause. Thom isn’t exactly resisting being used that way, I think he might even denied it happened because he’s not ACTIVE in the political sense.
But his church might be. His family might be.
Like the way Haley brought up her family member.
And all that does a lot of damage, regardless of what Thom thinks he’s doing personally.
That is why we have to point it out. Why he feels attacked and why he’s feeling as if he’s a good person because he has no hostile or ill feelings towards gay people per se.
The bigger point is. He doesn’t have to. He is living exactly what Exodus needs to hurt other gay people. And no ex gay has ever admitted that when speaking to us.
That IS dishonest.
Thanks Anne. Just trying to explain it.
Is it your preference then, for the sake of those you claim have been hurt by Exodus, for me to give up the way I am living . . . which I believe is now the right way for me? And if it truly is the right way for me, and has brought me peace, are you suggesting I go into hiding?
This is an interesting statement by you Regan. I believe it may be the very first time I have been told that my very existence is an active work against gay people. That may well be the height of hatred. I have a hard time picturing someone who would actually make that statement.
I wonder why it is acceptable for you to constantly point to your experiences through life as having formed your positions and making them absolutely perfectly correct, when, in truth, each time I refer to my own experiences, you respond with criticisms of me as talking about myself, or whining. Is it that experiences that do not parallel yours are invalid.
I know you are passionate, but you also seem pretty shallow and arbitrary and oddly arrogant, placing some special level on yourself because you are black and heterosexual, but support homosexuality, almost position yourself as one who could do no harm. Me, I’m just a middle-class white man who experienced for a number of years homosexuality, knowing all along it was probably not right for me, but lacking the courage to find out what was and then fearing the consequences of others knowing what I had been doing. Only when I decided to be honest and transparent did I even face the possibility of an honest life. It came with pain, but it came with relief.
Your efforts to demonize seem frantic, more designed to make sure everyone hears you again.
If you are so offended by Regan’s comments, why do you keep responding tit for tat? Complaining about it while doing the same thing is coming across rather hypocritical.
I didn’t say I was offended, and self-defense is not hypocritical. I would never tell someone that their very existence is damaging to others. Regan his license here; I realize that.
I just think she weakens her arguments by attacking people and then, when they respond, bashing them for talking about themselves and declaring them whiners. Gee. I understand your defense of her. She’s your chief responder and it’s pretty much her site to ramble at will.
It would have been interesting to really have had a discussion and not to have just re-opened a Regan-rant session. I am thankful — in all honesty — for the compassion that drives her in her career and I believe she probably has used that very much to the benefit of those she serves. However, she has been far off the mark regarding me. It’s spiraled down to a less than useful dialog. Not your fault, David, as I think you do seem interested in looking at other’s viewpoints and experience as having some amount of validity, but it is clear that Regan runs the show here.
No Thom, I have never suggested you give up your way of living. Just don’t say that it’s neutral and has no effect.
I point out my orientation, because with my support of gay people, it’s common to be assumed to be gay. I speak of my racial identity because, as I said, it’s a means of illustrating that I empathize and in what way that I can. Why do you have a problem with that?
I’m not gay, and I don’t claim that I understand being gay. But I have known people that pass for something they are not. And the damage that does not only to THEIR credibility in the face of specific systemic civil rights issues, but they also damage the cred of those who don’t pass or change.
And I just said that living ex gay doesn’t HAVE to be ACTIVE, or DIRECTLY involved with the policies regarding being gay.
But ex gays ARE used as an example for determining equal rights.
You did it again. You personalized something that I distinctly and specifically said had nothing to do with YOU directly.
And you didn’t bother to answer my questions. So is there a point in asking how saying that the ex gay example being used for other purposes, is evidence of hatred on MY part?
Explain that Thom.
You opened the door to accusation and complaint, so back it up.
I have been trying to explain to you exactly and truthfully everything that motivates what I say.
And doing you the courtesy of historical and social context to OTHER things that are similarly situated to it all.
Then you complain again about how I’m picking on you.
Tell you what Thom, something tells me I’m closer to the truth than you’re comfortable with. Especially about empathizing with you. You forgot that part, didn’t you?
Thom, I am a trusted member of the gay community. I am literally given much invitation, openness and inclusion among the gay and transgendered. I HUMBLY am grateful to be trusted and treated with so much standing.
Does it not occur to ask why that is? And I would do anything NOT to damage that trust and relationship.
I already told you, what other purpose do you think there would be for me to have that relationship?
No one in my family is gay. No child of mine, no one that would necessarily prompt the relationship I have with gay folks.
There is no profit in doing so, the way there is in being ANTI GAY in our society.
I don’t want to sound condescending to that community, nor treat my statement as something that makes me special.
But trust is a VERY precious commodity among friends, family and given the social and political reality that confronts me and my friends, it begs the question why aren’t YOU trusted as much?
Do you think you could be? Who are you most useful to, the anti gay, or gay people?
I do respect your choice, Thom. Just don’t try and make any claims as if it doesn’t cause some damage somewhere. Doesn’t have serious utility for purposes that have hurt gay people over and over again.
There are over 28 amicus briefs being filed in courts everywhere, with regard to the support of marriage bans.
Each one on some level specifies people like YOU. When given an opportunity (and everyone is) to speak to their defense of discrimination, people like YOU show up in court to do it.
I said, LIKE YOU…not specifically YOU.
It’s funny that you’d call ME arrogant and hateful, but not the people filing these briefs, showing the real impetus behind their activity and who their target is.
Who don’t care to explain why gay people have to give up THEIR way of living to be happy for their own reasons.
And are not compelled to.
The point is Thom, you aren’t explaining YOURSELF, while demanding that I, in particular, accommodate your complaints.
Why should I? I’m simply not impressed by you. Period.
Thom, are you kidding? MY show?
You have been given the same accommodation as I have. And David is not averse to cautioning me when necessary. I’m in the minority here as a straight person. No one here ever had to give me the time of day, let alone agree with me and you have had just as much opportunity as anyone else to explain yourself, answer questions.
I don’t demand anyone agree with me. It’s a matter of anyone’s discretion if they do.
I have answered YOUR comments honestly. And accounted for myself and my actions. And, I’m not complaining to anyone.
And I’m not the only one here who has responded to you similarly.
You got two choices here Thom. It’s true here, as it is in your life. Two choices.
And I think you can guess what they are.
My hesitancy to answer definitively your questions is based only on the fact that my positions are based on the experience of my life and on my faith. They’re mine. They may not match everyone else. As I have said, I am not politically active in this struggle. I do not go out and campaign against gays or show up in courtrooms or make statements. I just don’t think that is what God wants me to do. I simply share what has taken place in my life and if it is helpful to someone who is struggling to make a decision, then I am glad. I don’t dissuade them from listening to others with differing opinions, as I believe this decision is not only personal, but life-defining.
My personal perspective, as a Christian, knowing not everyone here will agree: I believe my responsibility as a Christian is to love as well as I can each person, regardless of whether he or she believes himself or herself to be straight or gay, because each of us uniquely created in the image of God. I cannot change anyone. I can love people and pray for them, and if it is God’s will for them to change and they are to discover and follow that will, then they may very well change. Will I love them less if they do not? No. My responsibility and desire is to love them. Simply. And to try my best to be as honest as I can about myself.
I’m not trying to make the lives of others harder, restrict rights or lead anyone downs paths to depression. I’ve been there in my own journey and wish it on no one.
I did not respond to your questions on purpose because my purpose differs from your own. I want to be there for those who are searching and want to hear my perspective. If they reject it, I do not reject them. I have been where they are and I have experienced the pain of rejection from the church, and, in here, the rejection of those who think my personal decision is not only wrong, but hurts others in some way by making it harder for them to make their own.
I just don’t buy that.
I don’t believe gay people have to give up their way of living to be happy, nor do I believe that happiness is the most important goal in life.
Well, Thom… I AM active. Very. It’s been for most of my life. I picked my battle and I will stay with it until it accomplishes more or until I don’t have to anymore.
I am an intense person, because I have to be. I’ve had my share of rejection for my color and gender, but I’m not going to stand by, and let things happen to other people even if they don’t share the same difference.
This fight for gay equality NEEDS intensity, needs serious consideration and analysis of the strategy of the opposition.
You not down for it.
Cool, it’s not for everyone and not everyone is good at it.
So stay out of it.
But don’t call me arrogant or attacking you because my purpose is different and REQUIRES checking you for cracks.
But you did it again, made this issue about the singular you as having no issue or connection to the collective who shares your background. Crack.
And you hate it being pointed out. Crack. So reject it, deny it. Crack. Doesn’t mean it isn’t TRUE.
There tends to be some exceptional hyperbole from the anti gay with their perception of who is being attacked, who is being hostile, who is a liar, who can’t be trusted and who is being persecuted. They have taken on the role of the injured party, and the victimized by all the big bad gay people.
A familiar refrain. Even to you.
We’re onto this issue in the deepest way Thom. We rarely deal in the superficial aspects of any of it.
We’re ESPECIALLY onto Exodus and PFOX and so on. Another reality of what we do here and elsewhere.
We are a mix of people who went through the ex gay process, straight allies, gay people living honestly and openly. Straight spouses affected by being married to gay ones.
We’ve had years of serious observations, sharing intense personal situations, and we lost a young friend and frequent contributor earlier this year to a car accident.
Few anti gay sites can say that. If at all. You can go look and see for yourself who has no opportunity or option of dissent.
Anyway, I’m glad you’re apolitical and have no specific wish to harm gay people.
We know millions of people who are. They are in the legislature, the courts, the schools, they are in the military and Boy Scouts…just to name a few.
THAT is who we are talking about.
And most of us, in some way or other, ARE in the trenches fighting a monumental war, with only a few victories in small battles everywhere.
So okay, you’re not contributing in that way. So don’t.
It’s absurd to laud someone for affecting heterosexuality. There is nothing praiseworthy about it, Thom.
It’s a sexual orientation, not painting the Sistine Chapel or inventing the vaccine for HPV…or the Civil Rights Act.
When it’s all said and done, what would help gay folks the most, is equal access and equal treatment under the law.
The way it’s helped so many others. Even more than the Bible too.
Regan, perhaps the key here might be to limit your responses for a bit to one or two concise points. As long as Thom then addresses those points in his comments this may more resemble the type of debate we try to foster here.
And Thom, you need only review past material and discussions on XGW to realize that your comments concerning Regan and this site are absurd to anyone familiar here. In this case she is just the only one who took a serious interest in engaging you the second time around.
Let’s also try to remember that just because something is part of one’s personal life story does not make it off limits to debate. Extraordinary claims demand serious proof. Otherwise we end up with what I somewhat flippantly referred to as an “ouldian loop” a few comments back, named after the common end of debates with Peter Ould.
Now, does anyone want to make a clear point?
Thom may live his life as he pleases. He can say whatever he pleases. When he says something, others can respond how they please, and others can live their lives as they please. He can have freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of religion, but he can’t expect freedom from criticism (none of us can).
This site monitors ex-gay groups. Ex-gay groups are renowned for their dishonesty. They have their own language, where they define words like “change” “struggle” “overcome” “ex-gay” “post-gay” “gay” “sexual identity” “same sex attraction” “sexual addiction” “acting out” to mean virtually the opposite of what the rest of English speaking America understands these words to mean.
They have historically claimed people can change their sexual orientation through exgay efforts. They still essentially imply this and attract people to their organization with this lie. They have never been able to demonstrate any significant change in sexual orientation through their efforts despite having decades to do so, yet still sell their snake oil.
So Exodus has this dishonest language, with dishonest claims and a long history of working politically to deny gay and lesbian Americans equal rights and equal protections in America.
So, when someone comes hear claiming to have been cured of homosexuality, or walking away from homosexuality, or extolling the virtues of Exodus and other groups, they can expect to be vigorously challenged. If they hold themselves up as an example for others, we are so familiar with the dishonest false hope of sexual orientation change that is peddled by Exodus to those desparate to fit into the demands of their social group, then we will respond vigorously.
If they use the dishonest language of Exodus with all the deliberately misleading buzz words, they will be vigorously challenged. Thom has done all of that. So there is no reason to be surprised by Regan’s response or others (like me) on this blog.
You may be surprised to know that there are a few exgay folks who have posted on this site who have been treated quite well, because they speak honestly. They don’t make dubious claims about change in sexual orientation. They just talk about trying to live their lives as best they can for them selves.
By the way, when it comes to buzz words, I would strongly encourage you not to use the phrase lifestyle when talking about gay people. That term strongly implies that being gay is a choice, and that gay lives conform to some sort of stereotype. I am assuming that you didn’t mean any offense by it, given your reported support of equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans. Just a word to the wise. Openly gay people live their lives in all sorts of different ways, just as straight people.
Done. No problem, Dave. I’ll try…and thanks.
Definitely had no idea that the word “lifestyle” is a buzz word or that it connotes choice. (I certainly didn’t mean it that way.)
Anyway, this discussion has been enlightening. Regan, I appreciate your responses to me and I read them carefully. Same goes for everyone else’s posts.
I don’t really have anything else to say, except: I hope there’s more peace surrounding this issue in the future. I guess ultimately everyone can agree on that!
It not only implies choice, but that all gays live a common, stereotypical lifestyle, i.e. party constantly, obsessed with appearance, shallow, promiscuous, etc. There simply is no one gay lifestyle, as there is no one straight lifestyle. Since so many anti-gay people use the term as a pejorative, you may want to avoid it. That may seem politically correct, but there is a valid reason for the sensitivity many feel at it’s use, mainly that it most often does signify a conscious effort to marginalize and demean.
Feel free to comment in the future, but you may want to read through some of the archives to get a better idea of how things normally go here.
I wasn’t aware that this was the military.
he said “to get a better idea of how things normally go here.” NOT “to get a better idea of how things are supposed to go here.” Chill.
… or a cult.
What a way to dissuade open discussion.
guys, i’m going to suggest ignoring the troll from now on.
Do you really want an open discussion? Calling people who post at Ex-Gay Watch a cult did some serious damage to any goodwill that has been extended to you. Also, those of us who are actually familiar with Ex-Gay Watch know about the pointed discussions that have taken place openly on this blog. Like I said before, Thom (or in this case you) may be free to say whatever you want, but you are not free from criticism.
I am increasingly thinking that you are just a concern troll who is showing her true colors. My responses to you are likely to be far less generous than the slack that I (probably mistakenly) extended to you over your “lifestyle” comment. I guess the sheep’s clothing slipped a litte there.
Ha! The funny thing is: you are SO wrong!! I arrived on this scene out of total curiosity and nothing else. My politics are totally liberal on every social issue. And maybe because I am such a bleeding heart, I felt bad for what I saw was an attack on an individual here. I think the danger of liberalism is that people get so open-minded that they become close-minded. I wrote in for no reason other than that.
Troll? Sheep’s clothing? My heart started racing when I read that. I am truly offended, even though you are strangers and I shouldn’t care!
I want to thank Regan for giving me the benefit of the doubt. None of you know me at all, but Regan was the closest to getting me. Because she saw that I tried to be thoughtful.
These are my mistakes:
1. Not knowing that “lifestyle” is a loaded word (and I accepted the information presented to me, but geez, you were pretty harsh, John, in enlightening me).
2. Being frustrated with the demeaning way John spoke to me, and responding emotionally to that.
I think of all people, you guys could accept that one might respond emotionally when offended!
I will try my best not to return here. The only reason I am writing now is because I feel some need to restore my name. Even though this is the internet. Because I am a way-too-sensitive person who apparently cares what you think.
I will stick to real life interactions from now on– people who meet me can see who I am.
(Now I feel like you’ll retaliate with something like, “Oh, Anne is protesting too much. She’s probably a troll.)
Emily K, I had read some of your stuff before and actually really enjoyed it and agreed with it.
Oh well, wish you guys the best. I actually do. If we met in real life, we’d probably agree on 99% and disagree on 1%. But I think you’re determined to disbelieve me.
I went back to the first comment I left to respond to Thom, and he threw out the first insult at me. I was wondering why my responses devolved the way they did. And figured it out. His response to my analogy to the struggle of blacks was one such insult.
I suppose that’s when I decided I didn’t have to be respectful to his disrespect. Nothing sets me off more than someone telling me I don’t know anything about the civil rights movement and how mentioning the gay struggle with it cheapens it.
Yeah, he earned what I gave him. Just sayin’.
guys. troll. do not feed.
Stick around Anne. Misunderstandings are common and easy to happen. And hopefully as easy to correct. This is a very intelligent, experienced and informative group. I came here to learn, and get involved and try and understand the mindset of ex gays, or ex ex gays…and we’ve had the good fortune of having a straight woman married to a gay man give us a very intimate and intelligent account of the experience with her church community. It’s always welcoming in the essential way.
As I just said, my first comment ever, to Thom, didn’t warrant his disrespect at all. I gave a resume in such a way to understand my interest in gay equality. And he insulted the subject of my resume. So I responded in a not so patient way.
I don’t especially like a comment thread to come down to just me and a dissenter, it calls attention to the wrong thing.
But it kept things lively for a minute there.
You don’t have to go. I’ve been coming here for YEARS and I love it. I’ve also been going to a very conservative, homophobic site for YEARS. I’m intense, I’m also very thick skinned.
Testing the skin of an ex gay promises a failure at some point. And I see no need in kid gloves. We’re adults here, not babies.
Civil rights activism requires a warrior spirit. We have no one or thing to hide behind and don’t want to.
I won’t apologize for it. Nor take anything off of someone not in the trenches themselves for it.
I know that ex gays feel themselves embattled, that’s obvious. But their perception of who they are battling, is flipped to anyone who knows what to look for.
And that’s what we analyze here in XGW.
You’ve got a great heart, Regan. Your posts were very helpful in understanding you and the discussion here. Your second post made me smile big: your stick-to-it spirit is something I hope to have more of myself one day. I appreciate, truly appreciate, that you’re willing to engage me without branding me a troll, and that you’re reminding me of the value of thick skin. Your “warrior spirit” is inspiring. You’re right. I’m glad there are people like you in the world, fighting out loud to make it better.