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02/07/2007

Man who claims to have done a 180, does '360'

by Jeremy Hooper

 Good As You Images  Good As You Images Alanc-1For those who missed "ex-gay" Alan Chambers' appearance last night on "Anderson Cooper 360°" (where he was booked to discuss Ted Haggard's rapid homosexuality "cure"), below is a portion of the transcript:

COOPER: So, in your case, you felt attraction to males as a child, and yet what happened to you? Why did you decide to go into some sort of counseling?

CHAMBERS: Well, homosexuality was something that started very early in my life.

COOPER: Was it something you chose?

CHAMBERS: I didn't choose my feelings, no, and I don't think anyone does choose their homosexual feelings. But when I...

COOPER: That's interesting. Because a lot of religious conservatives say that homosexuality is a choice.

CHAMBERS: Well, you know, the behavior for me was a choice, and the identity that I chose to adopt was a choice for me, but my feelings absolutely weren't a choice.

COOPER: So you entered the counseling. Do you still have attraction to men? You're just choosing not to act on it?

CHAMBERS: My attraction greatly diminished over the course of many years. Sixteen years into it, my life isn't even remotely the same as it once was, but I often say that I will never be as though I never was.

And the truth is that I'm a human being. And for me to say that I could never be attracted to men again, or that I couldn't be tempted would mean that I'm not human, and that's just not the case.

But here's the thing -- this gay writer has never for one day in his life been physically attracted to a female. I have been PHYSICAL with females, but that was despite my lack of desire (and because of my desire to "fit in" with my teenaged friends). Using the "ex-gays" logic, my former physical intimacy with females makes me an "ex-straight." And due to having both experiences, I can totally relate to what it means to struggle with attractions. However, unlike Mr. Chambers, my current gay truth isn't the struggle. The struggle came when I was pretending to be something I was not. Once you reconcile your actual desire with your actual actions, then and only then do you find inner peace!

It just makes absolutely no sense that these "ex-gays" often go decades pursuing opposite-sex feelings, yet still continue to have attractions to those of the same sex! This struggle (which is such a common thread with these "ex-gay" types) would seem to this "former heterosexual" to speak volumes about their actuality.

Cooper and Chambers continues:

COOPER: Alan, what was it about being gay that you found, I guess, distasteful enough that would lead you into this lifelong journey? I mean, it seems like even now you are essentially saying you try to control your thoughts, you try to alter your fundamental attraction.

CHAMBERS: I wouldn't say that's the case at all. What I have found over the course of 16 years is that feelings aren't everything about you, and I live beyond those feelings, that today...

COOPER: What does that mean?

CHAMBERS: My feelings are -- my feelings are much, much different. And the truth is I didn't leave homosexuality because it was so bad. I left it because I found something better, and today my life is far better than it was as a gay man.

And for those of us -- and there are thousands of people just like me -- who choose to live beyond their feelings, who choose to move beyond the issue of homosexuality, we live wonderful lives. And that's something that we think should be available for everyone who wants it.

COOPER: And is that based on a belief that you cannot be Christian and gay? I mean, is the wonderful life you're talking about a religious life which you feel was not accessible to you as an openly, proud, happy gay man?

CHAMBERS: Not at all. I think that there are plenty of gay people out there who are Christians, as well, but for me, homosexuality wasn't compatible with my faith, and my faith was much more important than that.

"Living beyond your feelings"? COME ON, Alan! Your feeling are YOU! And you can't reasonably claim that you have "left homosexuality" if you still have a desire for those the same-sex! It defies all logic, especially when there are so many of us in this world who have a 100% exclusive desire for one or the other. Even though there is surely a degree of fluidity for some folks, the basics hold true. If you have feelings for both men and women, then you are bisexual. If you have feelings for only one or the other, than you are homosexual or heterosexual. When you let your faith convictions muddy those easily understandable biological waters, you are simply not being true to yourself or human nature!

Notice Mr. Chambers doesn't say "I'm living with my heterosexual feelings," likely because those are a bit weak or completely absent. Instead he has to paint himself as someone who has conquered some sort of evil addiction, one that still tempts him to this day! It's all so enraging!

Continuing:

COOPER: Alan, I want to give you the final thought.

CHAMBERS: Well, you know, I'm living a happy, healthy, honest life. And the truth is that Mark and many people like him invalidate the lives of maybe a smaller percentage of people than that are gay and lesbian. But the truth is this is something that's wonderful. It's my choice, and we should have that alternative.

Like the American Psychological Association says, every client has a right to self-determination. This is my choice.

But here's the thing with Alan's final thought: It would be perfectly acceptable if he was just living a "happy, healthy, and honest life" the way he chooses to live it. Our opposition to the "ex-gay" concept is never directed towards the individuals themselves. However, Mr. Chambers is not just casually enjoying his "choice"! As one of his movement's most vocal proponents, he dedicates a large portion of his life to denouncing gays! For example, while chastising ABC's decision to put a transgendered character on a soap opera, he recently said:

"The people who are transgendered, the people who are in homosexuality, I would venture to say from personal experience that they’re not at peace,"... "and that true love isn’t able to be found in those types of relationships."

I'm sorry, but this very-much-in-love, at peace, happy, monogamously-committed-for-many-years homosexual is not going to just sit back and let Mr. Chambers get away with this rhetoric!! And the above is just one tiny example of the thousands of quotes he has given over the years to denounce gays and gay rights. Hell, he wrote a book on the concept (with a stated goal of leading gays to Christ, even though he seems to indicate above that gays can be Christians)! He also regularly appears at gay-dencouncing events like the Family Research Council's Liberty Sunday, and while he professes love and compassion for gay folks, he works diligently to stem the tide of gay acceptance! After all, the "pro-family" movement loves to utilize "ex-gay" voices in their political opposition to gay marriage and gay rights, as the "ex-gays" testimony on the fluidity of sexual orientation helps our opposition create the illusion that by opposing gays' lives, they are simply "hating the sin, not the sinner." Mr. Chambers is very much a part of this established anti-gay consortium, and THAT is his "choice" for which we cannot stand!

To read the rest of the transcript, click the link below:

Ted Haggard Stirs Homosexuality Debate [AC360 Transcript]

**More over at Box Turtle Bulletin and Ex-Gay Watch

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Your thoughts

"and that true love isn’t able to be found in those types of relationships."

And I'll second your rebuttal. As someone who's still in a state of loss after the end of a 10 year relationship, to say that "true love" doesn't exist for gays makes me furious. It's more likely he himself has simply never felt real love for another out of this desperate fear of being who he is.

That's what happens when you live "beyond those feelings". You have no feelings at all.

Posted by: atari_age | Feb 7, 2007 11:09:55 AM

I love that "feelings aren't everything about you." I have an inkling that "living beyond my feelings" actually means "popping enough mood altering medications that feelings are no longer an issue."

On the other hand, I would love to know what's cached in his web browser's history. I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: tx_cyclist | Feb 7, 2007 12:01:49 PM

I can speak from personal experience that many, MANY Christians - especially from fundamental evangelical churches - are taught that, in the case of homosexuality, it's the acting upon the desires that are the sin. The desires are a test. You heard me; a test. All to prove your love and devotion to God.

Posted by: eric | Feb 7, 2007 2:52:27 PM

As if an omniscient God would really need to test us to figure out how much we loved him! I'm pretty sure he already knows.

Posted by: Lesley | Feb 8, 2007 4:58:40 PM

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