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12/11/2007

Former 'former gay' forms opinions on former life

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 1-131The good folks at the Southern Poverty Law Center have published a new interview with Scott Harrison, an "ex-gay" leader who now speaks out against what he perceives to be a dangerous movement. Go have a read:

Coming Out -- Former 'Ex-Gay' Minister Speaks Out [SPLC]

Accurately, Mr. Harrison points out that he is not speaking out against the individuals who still identify as "ex-gay" and who are still involved in this movement. This is something we always try to do as well, as we hold not one ounce of malice for the people who are trapped in the "ex-gay" lifestyle. We wish them no harm, only peace.

But the movement. Oh, the movement. It is dangerous. It is inaccurate. It is encouraging bias for gay people. And we not only WILL speak out against it and its ever-increasing militancy, but we genuinely feel as if we must speak out against it if we want to identify ourselves as decent people who value truth and human lives over rhetoric and extremism.

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Your thoughts

The "ex-gay" ploy is often used in support of, or in tandem with, the nature-vs.-nurture controversy, as anyone can see who has read the hateful, venomous trash of Scott Lively (Abiding Truth Ministries: www.abidingtruth.com. In "Deciphering 'Gay' Word-Speak and Language of Confusion," this recovering alcoholic and drug addict observes: "...There is a considerable body of testimony from tens of thousands or men and women who once lived as homosexuals. These ex-'gays' have renounced their former lifestyles and many have become heterosexual in self-identification and desire, white others have stopped at the point of comfort with their gender [sic] and freedom from same-sex desires. The 'gay' movement's challenge to former homosexuals to, in essence, prove they aren't still innately 'gay' is the height of absurdity since homosexual immutability was never proven in the first place."

His argument seems to be that since homosexuality is something one does rather than something one is, we have the ability to "change" our orientation. Never mind that the "nurture" argument has been debunked by both psyciatrists and lay people alike (including those of us who knew at a very early age that we were queer). Never mind that some of the most visible and vocal "ex-'gays'" (note how Lively likes to put "gay" in quotes to demean and belittle its application to homosexuality) have renounced their status as ex-gay, returned to the fold, and in some notable incidences become staunch gay advocates.

Never mind that the A.P.A. long ago took homosexuality off its list of mental illnesses, reclassifying it as nothing more than an alternative lifestyle. Never mind that some prominent neuroscientists (e.g. Simon LaVay) have undertaken studies tending to show that there is a genetic marker for gays. Never mind that talk show hosts, advice columnists, and others generally agree that gays are born, not made.

People like Lively, probably because he projects his own tendencies and is afraid of his own sexual inclinations, will always use the "nurture" and "ex-gay" arguments to prove their point. We can only hope that the present trend toward sexual enlightenment will continue such that the Lively generation will die out only to be replaced with open-minded, educated, compassionate humans.

Posted by: James M. Martin | Dec 12, 2007 6:39:51 AM

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