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01/29/2009

Video: Ted's story continues to make us haggard

by Jeremy Hooper

How to overthink same-sex attraction so as to not take responsibility for your truth:

Now of course what Ted is not telling you (around the 4:25 mark in the first clip) is the likely/ nearly certain possibility that the therapist who called him a "heterosexual with homosexual attachments" was a like-minded Christian counselor who's not so down with teh gay. Because we know that after his scandal, he was put through a "pro-family" "restoration." We also know that "heterosexual with homosexual attachments" is not an orientation likely to be granted by mainstream therapists. But here we have Ted passing off this "diagnosis" as credible therapist opinion -- his personal truth. And in turn, we once again have the message going forth to the American public that says: (a) hetero is the norm, and any variation on that is "an issue"; (b) that same sex attractions are in need of "healing; and (c) that a man who has been found to have had multiple encounters with men cannot POSSIBLY be gay or bi if he is also an evangelical.

Ugh. We're so over this man's overwrought semantics game. One more day and we hope to never bother you with it again.

Ted Haggard: Confesses on Oprah; Pt 2, Jan 28, 2009 [YT]

*EARLIER: Some men are drawn to penis. Ted Haggard is one of them. [G-A-Y]

**MORE: Ted also spoke to "Nightline." He offered gays an apology, while still presenting our love as a sin:

space gay-comment gay-G-A-Y-post gay-email gay-writer-jeremy-hooper


Your thoughts

Hey, Jeremy. I'll probably get flamed for this, but . . .

I was home to watch this debacle on TV, and though I think Haggard's definitely in deep denial, I can't help but feel some modicum of sympathy for the man. I was brought up in an extremely religious household and it took me a decade of denial before I came to grips with my sexuality, resulting in complete ostracization from my own father. Watching Haggard on TV, I don't agree with his views, but I think he really believes what he's saying about being able to change. He's wrong, but sincere. And I can't help but feel bad for him, knowing how hard my own struggle was. I mean, we've all been through it ourselves to some degree, right? It just shows how individual sexuality really is, and how we all come to terms with ourselves differently.

Wish he'd do it in private, however.

Posted by: Jamie | Jan 29, 2009 9:10:50 AM

Jamie: I, for one, certainly hope you won't get flamed. I TOTALLY get the sympathy part. I think most of us feel sympathetic to his "struggle," as it is representative of countless many, even non-religious people, who have had their journeys stymied by the cruel wight of intolerance. It's a sad thing.

But at the same time, I think we do a disservice to ourselves if we take that sympathy too far with people like Haggard. This is a man who was quite aggressive in his campaigns against us. And has he apologized for that? No, not really. He helped mold the opinions of many against us, and rather than take responsibility for his actions and to own his reality, he is continuing this long-winded semantics game where he could not POSSIBLY be gay or bi. Instead, he is this "other" orientation. The rest of us LGBT people live with our "issues," but Ted only visits his "issues" when Satan leads him astray. That is a dangerous thing to put forth. It continues to give the evangelical community a pass on their homophobia.

But mainly I'm just tired of the insane amount of attention these types of people get. It's not just anti-gays -- I felt similarly with McGreevey. Here in the gay rights world, we have to fight for every last bit of press attention that we can get, and have to overcome so much misinformation before we can even begging to open minds. Yet if you are a gay/closeted person met with scandal, you get an automatic ticket on the book deal-Oprah-TV deal train. There are SO MANY people who are making a true difference in the gay world who will never get even a portion of this attention. And ther are so many incredibly brave LGBT kids who are not afraid to live their lives, even when that comes at a great cost. But here we have a man who, first and foremost, wants to spin a fairy tale around his reality, and by doing so he gets booking after booking. It's incredibly frustrating.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 29, 2009 9:30:44 AM

As they say... a lot of the hate comes from the struggling gay...

Posted by: TheGT | Jan 29, 2009 11:13:32 AM

I don't get it? One person can not chose to be heterosexual because he is attracted to both sexes? Just because he is attracted to men, or has thoughts about men he HAS to be gay? Why can't he chose not to follow that path? I'm alright with gay rights, and lesbian rights - but this is ridiculous. The man apologizes for all the hurt he causes and you guys/girls get angry because he is chosing not to follow his desires for men and instead be with his wife of 30+ years?

Posted by: M | Jan 29, 2009 12:36:20 PM

M: I think you're missing the point. This is not about him continuing to be with his wife. Not at all. He very well may be bi. But the issue is that he just cannot admit that he is, in fact, attracted to men. Rather than just say he's bi or that he's gay but chooses to not act upon it, he has to create these odd categories like "heterosexual with issues." That's (part of) what's so annoying.

And yes, he did offer an apology in his Nightline interview. But first off -- the amount of damage he was promoting needs more than just a simple televised apology. Second -- he's still citing the Bible as reason why he doesn't act on his sexuality, still calling it a sin, and still calling his sexuality a 'struggle." To those of us who live, not "struggle," this is very frustrating.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 29, 2009 1:46:23 PM

I'm with Jaime and M on this as well - it does seems to be this push that he needs to come out as a gay man or bi-sexual when clearly that's not what he wants to do nor should he have to.

It's true most those of us who are GLBT - are happy and well adjusted with our orientation. But as I've stated before people’s faith can be just as strong as ones biological realities.

I firmly believe Haggard should answer for the harm he has inflicted on the GLBT community but at the same time he shouldn’t be punished for following his faith which that tells him his sexuality is incompatible with that faith.

Posted by: Alonzo | Jan 29, 2009 1:59:17 PM

Alonzo: First off, I don't think Jaime and M are really saying the same thing. Jaime is speaking about sympathy for the struggle, while M is accusing us of being intolerant of his right to be with his wife. I agree with Jaime -- we should show sympathy to any human being who has to struggle. But I don't agree with M, since the issue we have is NOT AT ALL with the fact that he's with a woman -- it's in how he frames all this. The fairy tale element, complete with the "heterosexual with issues" self-casting and longwinded explorations of a far-more-straightforward-than-presented subject, is what we find so silly.

And "punished," Alonzo? I think it's a little heavy handed to say that a man with Haggard's record and deliberate spotlight-seeking is being punished by gay commentators who have opinions on the way he is conducting his affairs!

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 29, 2009 2:11:31 PM

For the record Jeremy the two recent post you've done on Haggard have been quite fair mainly because you've framed it around the real facts of all this which are Haggard's refusal to accept responsibility for the harm he has inflicted on countless GLBT people (including those who may have been apart of his ministry) and his own family. For that you have my respect and as I said yesterday it's because of this very site that I’ve got what's fundamentally wrong with the ex-gay movement and those who support it.

I guess the reason why this is sort of a thorny issue for me personally is faith plays a huge role in Haggard's case and as a person of faith myself (not an Abrahamic faith btw) I know first hand that my faith, my skin color and my orientation are so very important to the kind of person I am I get Haggard's struggle - however I'm lucky because those 3 things don't conflict with each other.

However in Haggard's case faith and his orientation do and as much as I wish it wasn't the case my heart goes out to guy.


Posted by: Alonzo | Jan 29, 2009 2:40:15 PM

Well one thing I guess I would say to you, Alonzo, is not to apologize for the fact that your heart goes out to the guy. That's valid. The struggle is sad. I too have a degree of sympathy for anyone who struggles, because I get how hard this society can be for an LGBT person.

But at the same time, don't apologize if you hear him say something that genuinely makes you go "WTF?!?!" For me it's his desire to place himself in this "other" category (with, of course, the emphasis on being a HETEROSEXUAL with issues) that really gets me. It seems quite apparent that his faith has led him to create this odd category. Yes, sexuality is complex. And yes, he made have attractions to men and women. But it's hard to debate that "hetero with issues" is anything more than a homophobic/heterosexist label.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jan 29, 2009 2:45:41 PM

Hey, when did I turn into "Jaime?" ;)


And Jeremy's right; I wasn't saying what M was saying.

I just remember how vile some of my own behavior was while I was trying to find a way to "not be" gay because my Catholic faith told me it was a one-way ticket to hell. The things I said about gay people . . .

But I feel MUCH better now. ;)

Posted by: Jamie | Jan 29, 2009 4:14:01 PM

What a load of shit! Where does one begin? First, we have a self-avowed (only after being publicly proven to be a) liar whose biggest failing is that he just wasn't good at keeping cat in the bag. So, his greatest sorrow is that he wasn't as accomplished as he would like to have been in the lying-liar department. He's contrite, that is certain. But he's contrite because he lied to people who trusted him, and when they found out about it, they got pissed off - and rightfully so.

So, now, we're expected to believe that this lying liar, who is on a mission to trumpet his upcoming HBO documentary, is telling the truth. He has just as much reason to lie today as he did then. "I believed in miracles," or "I expected god to change me," contrasted with, "I'm a heterosexual." All that translates into, "I've seen a new way to profit from the morons who will put their faith and trust in me." GIVE ME A BREAK!

I will admit, that I certainly am not averse to kicking one of these bastards when they stumble and fall - and it always happens if you wait long enough. But, when one of the lying liars has an epiphany, coincidentally almost immediately after the gag order that he agreed to has elapsed, it's just too convenient to be believable. The Haggards of the world make their living off of the gullibility of the masses that support them. And, if they buy into his "conversion" then they're more gullible than even I suspect.

I will say, though, that it is somewhat commendable that he seems a little bit less homo-bashing in his public speech these days. In his private past, he seemed to prefer the company of gay men, but now his public stance seems to be at least somewhat tolerant of us, maybe even somewhat accepting. But time will be the arbiter on that. When he discovers that the minions only "like" (throw money at) him when he is bashing the homos, the homo-bashing will probably come back.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jan 29, 2009 4:15:10 PM

What I find amazing about Haggard's story is how quickly and completely his "Christian" friends dumped him. Exiling the man and his family out of their own state with no means of support - how exactly is that showing Christian compassion? I think it demonstrates exactly how bankrupt the evangelical approach to homosexuality really is - his former colleagues know all too well that they cannot "fix" Haggard, because they have never "fixed" any other gay, lesbian or "not-straight" person, despite their protestations. Haggard at best embodies a gray area of sexuality that does not fit within the rigid model that evangelicals choose to believe, and they cannot handle any contradiction to their theology.

I too feel for Haggard, if only because I think the Oprah interview at least (haven't had a chance to watch Nightline) demonstrates that he is not at all comfortable with his sexuality, whatever it is, and cannot be completely honest with himself or his family. I contrast him with the bisexual co-host of Sirius OutQ's morning show - she is married to a man and living a heterosexual life, but is clear that she is bi and was in relationships with women previously, AND acknowledges the benefits of living a straight life she gets that her gay and lesbian coworkers don't get. That is a healthy attitude, unlike Haggard.

Posted by: CPT_Doom | Jan 29, 2009 5:29:41 PM

My trying to figure out Ted Haggard with his self imposed "Demon" Lifestyle, and then reading everyone's analysis, just gives me Headaches. Maybe he and the Mrs should donate themselves to the The Kinsey Institute in Indiana to be studied and evaluated.

Simply put, Ted Haggard is a mess and a CREEP.

Posted by: RogernDC | Jan 29, 2009 5:34:27 PM

What bothers me about this whole thing is that Haggard is getting so much sympathy both inside and outside the gay community for his "struggle" when Mike Jones is suddenly treated as a pariah because he's "just an escort" or "just an addict". As if his past diminishes the service he did for us by taking down one of the most influential anti-gay forces. I do have some sympathy for Haggard, but most of use don't direct the pain of our own struggles toward making the rest of the community suffer. Mike Jones was, at the time, the only one willing to speak up and take this hypocrite down, and for that, he deserves much more respect than most of us have been giving him. It seems like no matter what someone does, if he doesn't meet the model of "straight except for that gay thing," the greater community doesn't want to know from them.

Posted by: RainbowPhoenix | Jan 29, 2009 6:00:21 PM

"Exiling the man and his family out of their own state with no means of support"

CPT_Doom, in terms of cutting him off from a supportive community, that is true. At least to the extent that the "hate the sinner, love to hate" mentality would have allowed them to continue to be supportive. We all know how those liars love to hate.

But in terms of the FILTHY LUCRE, judging by the amount of hush-money that these lying liars threw at the other object of Haggard's affection (I think it was $180k), the amount that they used to "buyout" Haggard must have been astronomical. I think I saw a number like $300k, but I may be mistaken. And, if it was only $300k, I would be surprised. He never would have moved from the community of his own volition, there had to be a stack of cash attached to that "get out of town" agreement.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Jan 29, 2009 8:05:31 PM

I think we all get a but confused. Being gay, and homosexual are not allways equatalbe. You can be gay and yet not a homosexual and the reverse is also true. Being gay is excepting of your attractions, and being accountable for them. Being gay is embracing the diffences. Being gay is a culture. You can be a virgin to gay sex and still identify as being gay. A homosexual, is only defined by whom thay have sex with. I have a hard time claiming any one as gay; who puts down my life as sin, who actively advocates prohibition in my bed room, who hates themself, who who is hetro-wed and then has homo-sex as gay. Thay are just sick homosexuals living the heto-dream.

Posted by: garth | Jan 30, 2009 2:46:50 PM

I knew of this kid who came from a religious family that listened faithfully to all this evil man’s preaching, and being persuaded that his inclinations towards the same sex was unforgivably evil, could not live with the reality of being thought wicked and he killed himself. He was the sweetest 17-year-old kid you would ever meet who would never harm a soul, and I wonder how many other young suicides were caused by this lying hypocrite’s ranting.

Posted by: Robert | Mar 21, 2009 5:12:20 AM

I am the wife of a gay/bi man who is in denial about his sexuality. I didn't have a lot of sexual experience prior to marriage, so I wanted to believe all the lies he told me about why he preferred the company of men while denying being attracted to them and having a hard time seemingly wanting to be with me in and out of the bedroom. He always had a beautiful single Christian man around him and I noticed he had the kind of affection for them that I yearned for him to have for me. We are now on our second divorce due to his anger and emotional abuse. I really feel this has to do more with his confusion over his sexuality than anything else.

Recently I was able to get the truth out of a close friend of his who explained in detail a sexual encounter he had with my husband. I had suspected the encounter and was not surprised,although I felt betrayed.

One thing that is missing in your forum is the voice of the wife who was decieved and made part of the lie. Any one who is in a marriage, gay or straight, wants their partner to trully be attracted to them and not only be part of a lie. It also hurts when the partner "strays" sexually, whether to a man or women.

I deeply hurt for my husband because I feel he wants to be with men, but our faith condems it. I hurt for myself because he cheated me out of a loving relationship with a man who liked women, while he kept his boyfriends close at hand. I go between sorrow for him and the self hatred he has for himself that pushed him to try and live a hetro lifestyle he hated, to saddness that I was not told the truth prior to marriage so that I could make a choice about the life that was ahead. It is a sad situation for everyone involved.

Which does God hate the most, the man who lies and manipulates to look a certain way to society and devestates his wife by cheating on her and not loving her, or the man who openly lives out the truth of his life either by accepting he is gay and making decisions based on that truth?

Posted by: Hetro Wife | Apr 6, 2009 1:13:38 AM

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