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Unless followed by 'Bono,' chastity has nothing to do with gay identity

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 7-28In her new book The Thrill of the Chaste, writer Dawn Eden tells the tale of how, because of her faith, she went from promiscuity to chastity. And while the concept of heterosexual self-restraint would seem to have little to do with the gay community, leave it to the "ex-gay" movement to connect the two. In a sort of review of the book that has been posted to their website, the folks at PFOX (Parents & Friends of Ex-Gays) say of Eden's work:

After converting to Christianity, Eden determined that her sexual behavior did not conform to her new religion. She resolved to match her behavior with her religious beliefs and love for her new Savior. But chastity didn’t occur overnight. It took a while for her body to agree with her soul, there were times of resentment over perceived deprivation, and she fell back into her old sexual habits before achieving success in her behavior. Sound familiar? It’s the route many of us in the ex-gay community have traveled. Change didn’t occur for us overnight, and when it finally did occur, it was only after some false starts on a bumpy journey witnessed by incredulous friends who couldn’t understand our new religion or behavior.

But here's the thing -- in choosing chastity over promiscuity, Ms. Eden (or anyone who makes that decision) has not changed who they are as a person; they have simply modified their behavior. If one's faith, morals, fear of STDs, or lack of desire to come across as slutty leads them to the conclusion that sleeping around is not for them, then that is a personal choice they have made. They are not going against the beliefs of most credible scientists, psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors, and researchers. They are not defying logic. They are not typically using their choice to further a political cause. They are simply saving the fruits of their loins for their true love.

On the other hand, in claiming that through faith and willpower they have completely changed the focus of their sexual desires to the opposite-sex, the "ex-gay" community is defying all of the aforementioned! They are not only saying they will be celibate in terms of the gender to whom their bodies have always felt an attraction (which is undeniably possible), but they are taking it a step further and claiming that they can realistically be "cured" of the same-sex attractions that they've been led to believe are wrong! And to make it worse (and more eye-opening), they have fully connected with the politically anti-gay groups that are working day and night to stem the tide of LGBT equality.

The "ex-gay" movement is so desperate for legitimacy that they will try to link their ideas on sexual fluidity with just about any concept with which they think folks can relate. By positioning their "struggle" with that of a heterosexual female who chose to curb her behavior to live out her version of purity, they are transparently trying to paint homosexuality as a behavioral choice, much like sleeping around. As they are refuted by every reasoned health organization in this country, they have to use more clever, nuanced ways to build some semblance of credibility. They have even coined the term "everstraight" (which the PFOX writer uses to refer to Ms. Eden) in order to make it look like there are some people who were just able to accept their God-given straightness at birth, and others who had to work, pray, struggle, fantasize, and attend conferences in order to eventually find opposite sex-loving happiness. It's all so duplicitous to those of us who analyze it, yet unfortunately we are few and far between. It is those who don't understand the extent of their organized charade who are able to be duped by their admittedly clever methodology.

Of course considering this is the same Dawn Eden who once boldly said that "[i]n the homosexual community, anal sex equals death" and who once linked to the gay-denouncing, "ex-gay"-promoting folks at NARTH in order to support her bold claim that "the idea that a gene alone can cause someone to grow up homosexual is hogwash," it's likely she's tickled pink to receive the "ex-gay" accolades. Or wait -- maybe she's tickled "ex-pink."

The Thrill of the Chaste : Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) Book Review [PFOX]

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