Refusing to embrace an illusion does not make one intolerant!
Sometimes, when dealing with the "ex-gay" movement, we literally feel like we are playing pretend with our toddler nephews in their lil' fake plastic toddler house. Except unlike those joyful trips to the land of make-believe, the "ex-gay" version generally leaves us feeling a mix of angry and sad over the fact that grown adults would work so hard to create such an absurd social construction, and then use it to demonize a large, vibrant sect of the population.
Here is the latest batch of pretend from Regina Griggs of PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays -- though their acronym conspicuously leaves off the "and gays" part), in reaction to the gay community's protest over potential surgeon general James Holsinger (an apparent "ex-gay" proponent):
"Ex-gays should not have to be closeted for fear of other's negative reactions or disapproval," ,,, "They do not think something is wrong with them because they chose to fulfill their heterosexual potential. We need to ensure the safety, inclusion, and respect of former homosexuals in all realms of society, but especially by the medical and mental health communities starting at the highest levels."
"As a medical doctor, it seems Dr. Holsinger is aware that contrary to distortions by gay activists, no professional medical or mental health associations deny the right of any individual to seek support in resolving unwanted same-sex attractions." ..."Indeed, these associations adhere to a code of ethics which call for their members to support the client's right of self-determination."
"Americans need to face the growing issue of bigotry perpetrated upon ex-gays and their supporters. Gay activists cannot claim sympathy as victims when they attack ex-gays for political purposes of their own," ... "Tolerance is not a one-way street. All individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions deserve the right to self-determination and happiness based on their own needs, and not the political inconvenience of others."
For an example of why we say it feels like "make-believe," just take a look at the first quoted line. "Ex-gays should not have to be closeted..."? As if "ex-gay" is an actual sexual orientation? As if there is a state of flux in between full-blown 'mo and full-blown 'ro, yet this state is not called bisexuality. Instead, it's some sort of weird transitional phase where for some reason people choose to identify themselves and their community not by what they are or are striving to be, but rather by what they once were? It, much like the plastic spaghetti that this writer often cooks on the plastic PlaySkool stove, just makes no practical sense!
An "ex-wife" would never identify herself as such, unless she was speaking specifically about her role in terms of her former husband. An "ex-accountant" would only choose that ID when talking about his current occupation (and then only sometimes). But for those in the professional "ex-gay" community, this past tense moniker is the identity they have agreed upon. Even the ones who seem to have been able to "fulfill their heterosexual potential," pair off with opposite-sex partners, and reproduce (Stephen Bennett, Richard Cohen, Alan Chambers, etc.), still take on the "ex-gay" or "former homosexuals" label. And then society is supposed to just go against what medical science recognizes as actual states of orientation -- and despite what Ms. Griggs may wish to believe, "ex-gay" is NOT recognized by any credible body of science -- and start classifying this almost-always-faith-based sect as an actual minority group?! NO! Unapologetically -- NO WAY!
The "pro-family" community is all the time accusing gays of wanting "special protections" for their sexual behaviors, as that is what they assert homosexuality to be -- simply a behavior. However, Ms. Griggs is now pushing for the "safety, inclusion, and respect" of a community that doesn't truly exist in any tangible, identifiable state! This writer is a gay man who, from age 15-19, dated and was intimate with more than a few females. After finally coming to terms with my truth, I lined up my body and mind and started living my reality. But should I instead claim that I am a class separate from those gay men who never veered off the course that was natural for them? Of course not! So then why do these "now-hetero" or "soon-to-be-hetero" individuals choose to take on the "ex-gay" label? Wouldn't it seem more conducive to their "change" to take on a label associated with the thing they wish to be (straight)?
Well, the reason is very simple: The professional "ex-gays" use this label solely for socio-politico-religo reasons. As we've stated many times, the idea that gays can "change" is the KEY to the social conservative group's strategy in dealing with homosexuality. They are dead-set on "loving the sinner, hating the sin," as this concept makes their discriminatory standpoints seem geared only to behaviors, not actual humans. So if they can foster the illusion that gays are as changeable as underwear, then they can more readily get away with their stances on same-sex marriage, hate crimes laws, gay adoption, and a whole slew of gay rights issues. Because of this, the big "pro-family" groups and the "ex-gay" movement share a mutually beneficial, co-dependent relationship. "Ex-gays" give them changeable sexuality, and the groups give them funds, attention, and access. And since none among them need to inject the straight community with the optimism that they'll soon be getting some new members, the "former homosexuals" don't take on the name "almost-straight" to identify their movement. Instead, they take on the "ex-gay" label, so as to provide a license to demonize to anyone who finds gays unsavory!!
Look, as we've stated many times, we haven't one ounce of problem with the "ex-gay" individual or even the idea that some people can or may want to alter their sex lives. Ms. Griggs harps on "the right self-determination" in the above quoted text, and we're totally with her on that. In fact, if there is a community that most readily supports the "live and let live" nature of self-determination, it is ABSOLUTELY the LGBT crew! But it is complete and utter bullsh*t for her, someone who fronts an "ex-gay" group, to act like personal choice is what this movement is really all about! Just look at some of her own recent press releases:
She's not out to help "ex-gays" live quiet lives; she and her allies are out to keep gays from living their own!! They are key cogs in a machine that wants to keep us legally single, child-less, and unprotected from actual hate. While we will not attack any of our opposition personally, as character attacks are out of the realm of our desire, we will LOUDLY speak out against this dangerous, unbacked, unscientific, deceptive socio-politco-religo movement! We have no "choice."
If tolerance were TRULY a two-way street, as Ms. Griggs suggests she wants, then her organized movement would simply not exist. But if they want to keep playing dress up with the nature of sexuality and living in this pretend world, then maybe we will just start talking to this movement the only way we know how:
"Who's a big political movement? Who's so big and silly? Who's all growns up and yet still so one-dimensional? Yea, you are! You are! You are, my cute little political foe!
I'm gonna get your nose!! Who's gonna steal your nose?? I know it may not be a medical procedure approved by any doctors, but hey -- you like that sort of thing, don't you? Yes you do. Yes you do, my lil' bastardizer of actuality!
Whoosa Boosa. Boo Boo Boo..."
National Ex-Gay Group Defends Surgeon General Nominee Holsinger and Ex-Gay Community Attacked by Gay Groups [PFOX release via Earned Media]
Ms. Griggs is honest about one thing: she doesn't want self-identified "ex-gays" (those quotes are for you, Jeremy) to hide in the closet. She and others like her are too fond of trotting them out to center stage for the ... what was that phrase? Oh, yeah: "political inconvenience of others." Only it isn't just political. We're talking about people's lives. I say, "Boo! Hiss! Get off the stage already and just live your lives, as you claim you want to do."
Or, hey: here's something to mull over. Maybe the "ex-gays" just miss the persecution they got used to when they were gay, so they have to play make believe now and pretend it's still there. What do you think?
Posted by: Robin Reardon | Jun 11, 2007 10:39:53 PM
PFOX is one of the most aggravating and disgusting groups out there. Their pretend prosecution complex, which comes out of the same mouth as they use to condemn GLBT people makes me sick.
"Ex-gay." WTF. You know, most people call this state "being in the closet." What was wrong with that phrase?
Posted by: williehewes | Jun 12, 2007 7:27:22 AMcomments powered by Disqus