Friday, April 2, 2010

A Day For Silence and A Day For Truth

April is a very busy month. First the Easter bunny has to bring me a basket full of chocolate goodies, then dye all those eggs and hide them for the kids....then he can spray himself down with floor polish and hippity hp his way to cleaning  my floors while also doing  my laundry...preferably, without multicolored dye....*sigh*...I can dream can't I?

Also happening In the Month of April is Day Of Silence, sponsered by GLSEN. The Day Of Silence is a non-violent protest in which teens do not talk during the school day (does texting count?) to help bring awareness to the struggles of LGBT teens with name calling, bullying, and harassment. Since its beginning it has grown in popularity as more teens become aware of the impact of these issues.

In response, the religious community has created The Day Of Truth. You can guess what this is about. Its a direct attempt to counter efforts like GLSEN's with their own religious viewpoints on homosexuality. Except heres they difference....where GLSEN is NOT trying to encourage more people to try homosexuality...they are attacking bullying and harrasment. Thats a worthy cause you would think anyone could get behind. However, Day of Truth itself is directed at negating homosexuality.

Having read through Day of Truths site, I have found a great deal of verbage expressing the idea of "opening a dialogue" with people, about homosexuality and the Christian faith. The dialogue they seem to be promoting however, is that being gay is something to be shunned. The site features articles sponsored by Focus on the Family and no less than four articles from the exgay movement...Exodus International. In my opinion, Featuring articles from groups that practice reparative Therapy takes this from "opening a dialogue" to encouraging intollerance....the diametric opposite from GLSEN's intent.

To highlight my point is a short story  accredited to "Mike" who I'm guessing is an "exgay" himself. The story is called "Homosexuality Isn't The Answer. In which the author descibes his own struggle with being gay with the ultimate outcome being his rejection of his homosexuality on the basis that it is a shallow, destructive life, completly devoid of love and human compassion( did you expect anything else?). Though it is written from the perspective of someone who stops just short of labeling himself as are lead to believe that he is. However, the message is still loud and clear. Being gay equals a life of loneliness and shallow sex. Which, according to him,  is how gays fill the void of unmet  love and dissapointment that is the "gay lifestyle"....sound like ghost writting for Exodus perhaps? In fact it on and you will see.

Alvin Mcewen of Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters wrote on this same piece...both on his own blog but also crossposted to Pams House Blend. This is my own take on that same material. My apologies to those who may have already seen it but I had my own things to say about it. When I read it, I simply could not contain myself...and you will see why. The quotes below are from "Homosexuality Isn't The Answer"...tell me where you find honest, non-shaming dialogue in this.

First the author attempts to establish himself as a young man coming to grips with his homosexuality and uses experiences and terms that most of us can relate to. Here is the one kernal of truth that they are about to wrap in the lie...

Yeah, right. You know, most of my life I’ve felt pretty gay. If homosexuality isn’t the answer, then why have I always had these desires and urges? Why did it feel good when I gave in and entertained them, and when I acted on them?

When I kissed my first boyfriend, fireworks went off like crazy. It was confirmation of what all my desires and fantasies had been telling me. It seemed there could be no greater proof that I was queer as a three-dollar bill.

Even when he broke up with me a month later to be with an older man, it’s not like I rejected homosexuality because of that. This wasn’t about him, it was about me. I still wanted a boyfriend. Every desire and emotion in me still seemed to be telling me that if I was going to be happy, if I was going to experience “falling in love,” it would have to be with another guy. I didn’t feel anything like this for girls. far so good. I think many of us can relate to his feelings. Whats notably missing here for someone who ultimately rejects his homosexuality...where is the turmoil and emotional angst that comes with someone conflicted between their same-sex feelings and their faith? This one seemed a bit odd for me as if written by someone who had read about being gay...but not lived it themselves.

This was followed immediately after by a statement meant to distance himself from religion...even though we will end up there anyway.

That’s the place I was in, and I know exactly how absurd and infuriating it is when somebody tells you you’re not supposed to be gay. Even worse, it’s usually some jerk who could never understand what you’re going through, and is just talking from some religious point of view and doesn’t care what you’ve been through.

But heres where the velvet glove hides the iron fist...

I want to challenge your assumptions. After all, why wouldn't a same-sex attracted person’s deepest needs be met by embracing homosexuality?

I told you my first boyfriend left me a month after we got together. The last time I saw him, he said something that frightened and hurt me. I was crying a lot but he didn’t seem to be upset at all. Heartbroken, I asked him why he seemed to show no emotion.

“I’ve been out longer than you,” he told me. “I’ve been with lots of guys, and so will you. After you’ve broken up a few times, it won’t hurt anymore.”

I was shocked. This was my father’s unfair stereotype about gays, and here it was coming out of my (now ex) boyfriend’s mouth! I was angry, but as I got deeper into the gay community, I found that most—if not all—of the gay-identified men I met lived according to these words.

No sir...I want to challenge YOUR assumptions of homosexuality. That last statement is complete B.S! As a man who has been in a long term relationship for fourteen years, is married and has a family...I am beginning to doubt if your story is genuine and not a completely contrived piece of garbage meant to arrive at a predetermined point of view. It seems as if you dated a few that counts as a blanket condemnation of homosexuality? How many relationships do straight individuals have to go through before they find that special person with whom they can spend their lives?....For some, its many. To cast all gay men as unfeeling monsters is the same as judging all children as thieves if one shoplifts from your store. Its extremely irresponsible and WRONG. In judging if your account is authentic, this raises red flag number two. If it is authentic, you just short changed yourself out of finding future happiness because you refuse to look beyond the surface of your circumstances...or accept that life has a few knocks before you find the love you are seeking.

At first I hated the idea of anonymous sex, but when a man accosted me at the gym, it kind of felt good. When I would get lonely, I found myself tempted to get that quick, easy connection again.

So...perhaps it would behoove you to stop seeking love at the gym? Or more to the truth, stop characterizing all gay men as gym cruisers...because, as I question whether or not your story is completely made up...a pattern emerges. One which paints all gay men as promiscuous. Some people DO live their lives this way. Thats their business and not for me to judge in any way do many straight people lead that life. Are we then to conclude that heterosexuals are, by nature, promiscuous? I don't think so. If your experiencing heartbreak after heartbreak with guys who only want shallow hook ups.....please expand your dating pool....Don't blame your sexual orientation.

Next is where we abandon all semblence of a narrative that could have been written by someone with authentic same-sex feelings and get a big spoonfull of Exodus style brainwashing...

Why was my life slipping into this pattern? I just wanted to fall in love and have a family, and I thought being “out” was supposed to make that easier. It didn’t look like things were headed that way. Why?

I was beginning to feel the effects of the truth that homosexuality really isn’t the answer to the longing that both you and I have. But when people get hooked on the belief that they are gay and nothing can change them—or they get addicted to the thrill of sex and infatuation—they can’t see that gay life itself doesn’t work. So when they find themselves unhappy or dissatisfied, the only thing they can think to do is go in deeper, get a new boyfriend, or try something more desperate. I think that’s why we see so many homosexual men having a lot of partners.

If the writer of this article is in fact gay...or "exgay", if such a beast exists...then he has drank deeply from Exodus Internationals fount of ever flowing Kool-aid. All of this is complete garbage, but garbage with intent. Lets see to whom this carefully crafted tale was meant to reach, shall we?
You are probably a teenager or young adult. You are also probably wanting to find a spouse, a “life partner” with whom you’ll fall in love and be happy with for a lifetime. This is certainly what I was looking for. Most people your age who are same-sex attracted are just like everyone else in this desire. But this dream hasn’t come true for very many of those who have pursued gay life.

And for many it has...

But I see this is meant for young people already struggling with their sexual orientation and don't have many knowledgeable, gay positive voices in their lives. This was meant for those who are already recieving heavy doses of shame from their families or their church....those who may already be considering suicide and thus may see Exodus as a kinder alternative. In are preying on the vulnerable. You feed them a line supposedly confirming all the same horrible stereotypes about gays that we all grew up with, in an attempt to scare them into rejecting any form of self acceptance they may have found. I grew up with my father telling me about those same stereotypes too, sir.... and let me tell you what...when I got out and actually met real people....all those stereotypes where wrong. Even though I did meet my share of selfish people along the way I discovered that gay people were as varied and remarkable as any heterosexual I could think of. To Prey on what a teen doesn't know about life is dishonest.

The auther then goes on to list a whole host of out of date studies, done at a time when the social climate for gays was far different than it is today. When most lived in a closet or cloistered in the few places of refuge where we could be ourselves. Most of it is inacurrate at best, completely biased at worst. But in their explanation for why young gay men seek love in their relationships, everything goes completely off the rails...

“One of the reasons I think younger men tend to start with the vision of monogamy is because they are coming with a heterosexual script in their head and are applying it to relationships with men. What they don’t see is that the gay community has their own order and own ways...”

The reason EVERYONE starts with a vision of monogamy is partly because of that script...that much is true...but wanting to love and be loved in return is a basic human emotion common to all of us. Not a social structure mimicked by the gays. Men fall just as deeply in love and are capable of just as much commitment. To make the claim that the gay community has "its own order" is again to take the shallow view. If your study of gays restricts itself to clubs and bars your going to come to an incomplete conclusion of what gay life is. And wasn't there a time in the 70's when the words "monogamy" and "marriage" fell out of fashion with straight people as well as gays? How many straight t.v. characters where living togethjer versus the number that married then. Times changed the way we viewed love and relationships....the 80's changed them again and so did the 90's. That is the nature of our culture and the gay community is no less affected by it. Again, the author seeks to carve out gays from the rest of humanity. As if our emotions and motivations somehow differ from the everyone elses. Its yet another attempt to make us a "them" as apposed to their "us".

Homosexuality seems to work at first because it satisfies the surface desire. Like I said, we developed homosexual attractions and they’re real. Giving in to them feels good. But even when they are satisfied, the deep longing that’s hiding under the attractions is still there, unmet.
Thank you for describing the difference between sex and love. They are not the same even though they often are found together. This is equally true for straights as well as gays but we don't blame heterosexuality for the feeling of unfullfilment left by unmet needs for love in straight people.

Guys who are at this point in the lifestyle probably aren’t considering change very much anymore. They aren’t sure what’s wrong. They are likely to assume they just need a different partner, or more partners, more ‘rights,’ or they need to fulfill some sexual fantasy.
Excuse me?...more "rights"? Can you explain to me how the battle to be treated equally in society and government counts as an attempt to fill an unmet need for love?

and here is the smoking gun that points to this persons perspective and...dare I say it...agenda...

When I was going to an Exodus group one of the first things that really made me rethink my sexuality was a list my group leaders told me to make. we have the smoking gun. We also have motive...Exodus' stance that being gay is a choice and that you can pray that gay away, we have means...through a website that claims to only want to "start the discussion", and we have opportunity in the form of opposition to GLSEN's "Day Of Silence". Put together they make a crime against honesty and true discussion. Where GLSEN seeks to end bullying and harrasment of gay teens...Focus on the Family and Exodus seek to bury them in a mountain of shame and denial.

so when they make statements like these:

The point is, the way gay life typically turns out for men tells me it’s not working.

We know where they come from.

Who ever the writer of this article is. I hope that the person who reads this article, doesn't stop with him, but continues their search for truth and wholeness. Being gay can be a wonderfull experience and entirely what you chose to make it. This writer, if he is genuine, chose to give up when it got tough. He blamed his sexuality instead of taking a hard look at the choices he made and how he lived his life. Don't believe the lies and half truths of those who seek kill a part of you they don't understand. And yes...sometimes being gay can be painfull, and sometimes shallow....and like everyone elses's also hilarious, amazing, love filled, unexpected, difficult, awe inspiring, frustrating, and any other adjective you can attach to life...because thats all it Don't be afraid to live it in all its colors.
Happy almost Easter everone


  1. I enjoy reading your commentary so much, it's like reading a more eloquent version of my thoughts! Seriously, though - I see articles like this one and I am torn in so many directions - I get angry, frustrated, excited about being pro-active, et. c; but I can't decide on a path of action. Just having read Mel White's 'Religion Gone Bad,' he states that time and time again the most sure-fire course is relentless non-violent resistance, and perhaps he is right - but I'm an impatient person. I'm only 26, but this it is such a glaring and incomprehensible injustice that all people who are citizens of the USA (14th Amendment), and on a larger scale: human - must endure persecution from these narrow political leaders invoking their particularly notion of how God wants us to live, I think it's delusional! I apologize for the rant, I'm exhausted.
    At any rate, these ex-gay groups are incredibly dangerous to those who are seeking truthful answers in their time of questioning. It is too easy when you're afraid to condemn yourself and take a directive from a from a group who claims they can lead you back to a 'better' life. This kind of brainwashing greatly impedes the progress of mankind, and needs to be eliminated, it hurts to see people fall into these groups time and time again. They are remarkably good at creating a positive feed-back loop, so their victims return time and time agian. Ignorance is the problem here, people just don't realize what harm this is causing, and I laud you for putting this information out here where a large (and growing) audience can see it, and see it broken down. Thank you again, Leffews.

  2. oops...I notice that my top image is dated at 2009...ah well...its the same image glsen is using on their site...just a little older...heh

  3. Daniel here. I actually can believe the ex-gay story is genuine. I don't think it's necessarily made up. With all do respect, Bryan, I'm 22 and I didn't have a positive picture of the gay "lifestyle" until I came across you and Jay's youtube channel. You guys were positive role models for me, and I've also found some more positive gay role models here in my own city that have been in long term relationships that have lasted for years. The thing is, a lot of what you first see when you come out, go to the clubs, and do all the other gay single stuff is exactly what this guy describes. You see a lot of men who are uninterested in long term relationships and only want to bang anything that moves. It's easy to start believing that's all there is to being gay. This discourages people and fills them with regret as they begin to think that they have no chance at ever having a life partner or a loving family. It's easy to fall into the trap of blaming the orientation. Hell, I almost fell into that trap. For the first year I was out, I really began to see being gay as everything this guy says it is. Almost every other gay person I knew was only interested in casual sex and didn't care about finding someone special. Like you said, these ex-gay groups prey on the emotionally vulnerable. They fill their minds with every negative stereotype and force them to think that's all they can ever be. Then, they push them into seeking false hope in non-existent cures when there's nothing wrong with them in the first place. This is all in the name of seeking a "better life." I'm hoping that religious groups like these will eventually fade into obscurity just like the ones that used to say that women were innately inferior to men. I was talking to a Catholic monk here in San Antonio recently, he said that God makes us the way we are and that God doesn't make mistakes. He also said that we will live to see the day when mainstream religion realizes this. I really fucking hate ex-gay groups.

  4. I love how, to these people, "opening a dialog" always means condemnation rather than exchange of ideas.

    It's kinda like saying a rapist is simply "opening a dialog" with a woman whom he just met.

  5. I just got upset when trying to read the whole article. But reading your comments was actually intersting.

    The other day I stumbled across a community/forum online in swedish. There where all kinds of subjects, and then there was of course a room for "flirt and love", and while in there a special room for gays as well as a room lesbians. Me being a lesbian I went in to that room, and I couldnt believe what I found. There where all posts from either straight people searching for a little adventure, OR straight people trying to win us over to "their side", and this of course got alot of the lesbians who actually found their way in there really angry.

    And now I'm greatful I have you as real rolemodels. Because if that's what you se when you go into clubs, online (or even when doing none of that), no-one looking for serious relationships, or straights looking for a little adventure. Then I believe it's almost given that you will start doubting whether this is where you really belong. That gives these kind of people an opening to start "winning you over", and throw strange comments and made-up-stories all over you. But I don't think being ex-gay is ever going to work, you will just be to blinded to see what is really out there for you, and what you really deserve.

    So Thanks!, Bryan for showing us another view of this thing we all share, life.


  6. Alvin McEwen of Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters here.

    I also loved your commentary, Bryan. You hit the nail on the head when assessing the nonsense of that piece by "Mike."

    @ Daniel - I still stand by my belief that "Mike" is not who he says he is. His "personal story" reads too much like religious right phony exposes on gays. And trust me when I say I have read enough of them to know the difference between them and a personal story.

  7. What I have never understood about ex gay groups is that they consist of lots of men upset because they think no other gay people feel the way they do or want the same loving relationship they do.

    Why don't they all just turn to the side and get with each other?

  8. @Daniel...I'm glad that you didn't go down the road of blaming your sexual orientation for thefact that life contains some truly sucky people and experiences. The only thing I can think of in reponse to your comment is to think how teenage girls feel when they first start dating boys. How many young girls get a really ugly awakening that young boys are all about the sex and they have to stick by their guns to get the relationship they truly want. So many broken hearts down that road...but they arent blaming their sexuality.

    the difference here is that gay people usually grow up around a group of predominately straight people. When we first start seeking out other gay people. It can at first feel like being immersed in a different world....until you swim in it a while and start to recognize the signposts you knew living amongst mostly heterosexual people. Thats when the epiphany hits that we are all the people just have to come to it a little later than some because we have to swim against the stream of society.

    hope that makes sense...I am typing it rather quickly

  9. @ Alvin...thanks for stopping by and commenting...I'm honored. This feels like a brush with blogger

    @goblin....that is an amazing observation my friend. I wonder how fact do that. I know that the Mormons "Evergreen" program is rife with those kind of rumors.

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  11. I live in a very consecutive home and am bisexual I live in Ohio *eyeroll* people usualy except my sexual oriantation but my parents are not are not the usual case my best friend says that telling them is going to help me and an ex say that it's gonna be tough but he'll help me but my parent hate all things homosexual and expect me to feel the same they are christan and I was raised in that fashion but my struggle with my sexuality was lonely and sad and dificult but I have achived happiness and have actually had a girlfriend but I feel that I should wait until I have come out to date women so I guess I said all that to say do anyone have any suggestions on how to tell my parents??? Thank you so much for ur help

    a damsel in distress