Evergreen program. We've talked about the Psychological cost to individuals who undergo this sham process as well as discussing how ex-gay groups themselves, sometimes serve as ways for young gays in denial to meet other young, scared gays. We have talked about the founders of Exodus international and how some are now coming out and declaring that the process never even worked for them...one of the most influential ex-gay ministries ever. Its been proven..scientifically and anecdotally that reparative therapy does not work and that those who espouse it, know that fact. Well guess what?...if you needed more proof, you got it.
Truth Wins Out has posted a video to Youtube featuring testimony from two young men who have come forward to claim that Allen Downing, an ex-gay counselor with JONAH(Jews Offering New Alternatives To Homosexuality), Had them strip down in front of a mirror and fondle themselves as part of there conversion from gay to straight....Oh yeah...I can see that totally working.../facepalm...video after the fold.
As the video claims...these guys are indeed the lucky ones. They survived to tell the story...and through its telling, get this guy out of practice. Then a few less kids would have to go through this destructive and useless process.
I often muse that we can sometimes be our own worst enemies. For instance: Ted Haggard....virulently anti-gay STILL...even losing his ministry after being outed by a man he paid repeatedly for sex. George Allen Rekkers....mastermind of anti-gay legistlation such as the ban on allowing gays to adopt in the state of Florida and a host of other homophobic acts....busted hiring a young man to "Carry his luggage" ...oh AND give him sexual massages once a day....woops! Richard Cohen, Larry Craig, Senator Roy Ashburn, Charlie Crist...the list goes on. Those who espouse reparative therapy usually fit right in to this list.
Many ex-gay ministries themselves are founded and/or staffed by homosexuals fighting their homosexuality. They are not cured, and in fact, are still very, very gay. They are merely inflicting the same pain on others that they have inflicted upon themselves. Mr. Downing is another of these such men.
Another ex-gay therapist, Richard Cohen, at work:
In order to voluntarily check yourself into any reparative therapy program you have to really want to do whatever it takes to change. I don't believe that it is EVER a decision made on a whim. The only exception to this are those who are checked in by their families and against their will. If you blame youself every day for not being strong enough...or faithfull enough, eventually you will see yourself as a failure and be willing to do almost anything to lose the constant feelings and thoughts.
From my point of view..In order to stop seeing your sexual orientation as a desire that can be overcome takes integrating it into your concept of self as something indivisible from you. Because thats precisely what it is. However, that's no small task and takes many of us years...sometimes decades to achieve.
For myself...I was raised in an "sunday morning" evangelical home. Fire and brimstone erupted from the t.v. set every sunday morning. That really gets in your head for life. I didn't stop associating my gayness with shame until I first fell in love. I could understand then, that this was a part of me and wasn't just about sex or "temptation". My religious upbringing always taught me that love was the supreme force. I was taught that GOD himself is love...that the actions of Jesus were because of GODS love for us. So with this idea of the supremacy of love imbedded within me, When I felt love for another man it changed how I viewed things. I was forced to see that the love I felt for another man was still love...no different...no less. If GOD is love, than how could he not be in the love that I felt for another man also? That was the turning point for me, and where I began to break from the homophobic teachings of my religious youth and begin my own journey to self acceptance. I say this not preaching a belief...only to show my thought process. It doesn't matter how you get to the point of accepting your sexual orientation as a fundamental and natural part of yourself...it just matters that you get there. This is my definition of "reparative therapy", in that it brings wholeness to what before, hid in the darkness of shame and self-loathing.
Even men like Mr. Downing here...or George Allen Rekkers...or Ted Haggard or ANYONE of these men can repair themselves...though its going to take alot of owning up to what they have done in the service of self-hatred. If they could ever get to that point of self acceptance...and be brave enough to face the actions of their past, they could do some real good in the world by helping to debunk the organisations they helped create and everyday cause gay youth to emotionally mutilate themselves. They could help repair what they had a hand in breaking. I know this is not going to happen...but the cycle of abuse must end somewhere.
Until then, we have to keep shining the light on these men and institutions to show them as they are. We have to keep telling the truth, that the only thing you can ever change into...is yourself.
Until next time dear readers...