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03/18/2008

Audio: Former 'mo projects his problems on gays at large

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 7-101Professional "ex-gay" Stephen Bennett recently appeared on the Christian program "Help Line" to again tell of all the heinous evils that supposedly made up his gay experience, and to then use those experiences against queer people everywhere. Have a listen:


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Oh, those "ex-gays." Always coming up with the most convenient "root causes" for their gayness. Not close with the father? Then just blame that for causing the homosexuality, rather than seeing the apparent homosexuality as a reason why there might have been distance between father and son. Close with the mother? Then blame that girly bond as making a boy gay, rather than looking at it as a natural instinctual bond that forms between a gay boy and his mom. Then any other unrelated issues you can throw on the table (alcoholism and drug abuse being especially common) are just icing on the propagandistic cake. And then you trump up the likely revisionist version of your biography to it's most dramatic degree (a flair for drama is on gay attribute that never leaves these guys) and shroud it all in self-professed "truth" and religious "certainty", so that you can bully people of faith with myopic faith-based viepoints rather than reasoned and researched science!

But these histrionic tales are not the one "gay truth." They are carefully crafted works that specifically play upon the fears and stereotypes that have been propagated against LGBT people for eons. These "ex-gays", with a movement only a few decades old, are students of gays and gay rights. They know what points to hit, and they know how to hit them. And they know what aspects to leave out, and how to gloss over them.

Is there a degree of truth in Stephen's tale of woe? Probably. Likely. But he has clearly made a concerted effort to encapsulate a 40-ish year existence into the most gay-blaming, gay-shaming, finger-pointing, misdirected bit of pro-"ex-gay" spin that he can come up with. That's why happy, well-adjusted gays are never mentioned, with the community instead being presented as drug-addcted sex addicts who live to bash Christianity. It's much easier to bash John the back room dwelling-crack addict than it is to bash Susie the investment banker with 2 kids, a wife, a dog, and a faith.

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Your thoughts

I agree with you that the ex-gay programs completely manipulate a situation they themselves help generate by continually heaping guilt and shame onto the shoulders of LGBT people. The sex addiction, compulsive drug abuse and drinking can be directly tied to low self-esteem stemming from societal pressure and anxiety. They chose to continually ignore the amazingly brave men and women who either never go through that, or those that do that rise out of drinking/drugging to not only still accept their sexual orientation, but do so with a better, healthier acceptance and understanding. These groups are basically trying to say the chicken comes before the egg ... but being gay, and having gone through addiction, had I lived in a positive, affirming environment, I safely can assert I would have avoided a lot of the stereotypes these "ex-gay" people use to demonize the LGBT community.

Posted by: Shane | Mar 18, 2008 3:10:18 PM

Exactly, Shane! Well put.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 18, 2008 3:22:08 PM

I have never been addicted to anything, had loving parents, blah blah blah....and I'm gay.

Do these people ever really listen to themselves? Are we to believe every man raised by a single mom will be gay?!

I actually listened through the hold clip...ugh! He says himself that he had quit drug and alcohol but lived with his partner for about 1½ hours. He said he had mostly female friends in high school and that the boys taunted him. Yet, he says he moved back home and hung out with his male friends from highschool...some who were gay.....which is it?

I feel for his ex-partner who was probably told he was a sinner and dismissed. After only hearing the voices of wife and the help guy, I don't feel for them at all.

argh!

Posted by: Mary | Mar 18, 2008 4:25:59 PM

He actually thinks the gay bar scene today is still roughly the same as it was in the 1980s. This guy so out of touch with the reality of the gay world.

I feel so sorry for his ex-partner.

Posted by: Sam | Mar 18, 2008 5:43:45 PM

God forbid a son have a good relationship with his mother.

Posted by: Alle | Mar 18, 2008 7:02:50 PM

My father was an alcoholic also. I reconciled with him later in life and his last words to me before he died were, "I love you." I am still as gay, effeminate, and prone to same sex love as I ever was.

This neo-Freudian theory fails further for me from having had dozens of straight male friends who had poor relationships with their fathers.

The logic is simply not there. If you want to be not exclusively gay, or married with kids, then logically you are a bisexual. The rest of his explanation of his experience is just self-serving -- not to mention whatever the right-wing christians pay him to peddle this junk.

Posted by: revtj | Mar 18, 2008 7:49:52 PM

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