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04/24/2008

We empathize with story, detest reasons for telling it

by Jeremy Hooper

A father who beats the mother. A son who subsequently feels detached from masculinity, leading him to seek solace in the arms of any guy who will have him. A gay person who feels himself less attracted to dudes the more he gets in bed with a man named Jesus.

 Good As You Images Tim Hicolor300This is a meme that is present in oh-so-many "ex-gay" stories. Over at BP News, professional "ex-gay" Tim Wilkins tells his:

Homosexual no more [BP News]

Alright, so here's another tale in which one tale of overcoming pain is married with their "ex-gay" transition. Surprise, surprise. Because while we've met literally thousands of gay people with "normal" childhoods and casual acceptance of their identity, there are virtually zero outspoken "ex-gays" who don't have a traumatic story to tell. Where is the "ex-gay" who was the product of a stable home, was totally content being gay, and never abused drugs or engaged in "decadent" gay life? Wouldn't it stand to reason that if "change" truly is possible, there would be a few "ex-gays" out there whose "reform" isn't paired with a sob story? Why do all of their tales read like anti-gay "Mad Libs"?

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But look, we're not debating that Mr. Wilkins suffered these traumas. And we don't want to be callous. It's just when such a depressing story of abuse and neglect is SO COMMON in the "ex-gay" community yet not really in the gay community as a whole (despite what the other side would have you believe), you have to wonder if these sorts of childhood situations say more about the possibility for one to become "ex-gay" than it speaks to a gay root. Perhaps it says that trauma combined with the normal mindf**k that can come from homosexuality often leads to a need for some sort of therapy in order to get one's mind in order, and that while most pursue standard counseling, others with strong faith convictions sometimes pursue the "ex-gay" version of supposed mental freedom. Maybe trauma is a major key of the "former homosexual" puzzle?

We feel horribly for anyone who goes through a rough childhood. Youth is sacred, and we'd imagine that being robbed of it would be devastating. But we can't just sit back and let folks like Mr. Wilkins marry his problems in his childhood home with his problems in dealing with his sexuality. Such is not only offensive to us as gay people, but also to the parents who gave all they have (and sometimes more than they had) to raise us in a happy, loving, stable home free from abuse or neglect.

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Your thoughts

Spot on! It seems every "ex-gay" does a fill-in-the-blank speech, before declaring how they "struggle with same-sex attractions". It's always the same story, just worded a little differently.

Posted by: Scott | Apr 24, 2008 6:13:45 PM

I know many gay men, and a few lessies. I know that none of them were ever was abused or molested in any way as a child. There may be those one in a thousand who were, but if there are, then everyone of them must be part of the Ex-Gay Machine by now.

But, being the synic that I am, I have to question the validity of their claims - not that I would ever suggest that they are making it up (wink, wink) just so that they have a pretty picture of adversity overcome.

Dick Mills

Posted by: Dick Mills | Apr 24, 2008 7:09:40 PM

I knew so many str8 guys in college who LOVED women and also had abusive or distant fathers...this whole neo-Freudian thing was originally cooked up by a shrink snorting coke and it never did make any sense, nor does it match any other research on homosexuality.

Gosh, think about if every man who had a troubled home life really were gay...hmmm...we'd be more than 10%, that's for sure!

Posted by: revtj | Apr 24, 2008 10:36:45 PM

Promise rings for men can be purchased on the internet from a wide variety of different sellers.

Posted by: engraved promise rings | Jun 30, 2008 10:46:12 AM

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