Monday, July 19, 2010

In Need of Repair

We'v talked alot about reparative therapy on this blog. We've covered organisations like the Mormon based 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 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.../ 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:
Well...I have to CAN be cured....of self hatred. While reparative therapy does not work, you can indeed, be repaired. You can go from living a life of shame and denial to one of health and wholeness...all it takes is realizing you were never broken and a little acceptance of who you are...just as you are...VIOLA!  Therapy done.....well maybe its not quite that easy.

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 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 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 yourself.

Until next time dear readers...


  1. " 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." Beautifully said, and explained.

    Thank you for shining the light on the world.

  2. I totally agree about falling in love really opening your eyes. It happened the exact same way for me. As soon as I fell in love I started coming out friends and it really wasn't as big of a deal. It's like falling in love rips you out of the closet. Although I'm not out to my family yet, it totally has started a snowball effect, I think. Isn't it weird how one's perspective can shift so quickly? :P

  3. There is nothing like falling in love, being accepted just the way you are, to finally learn to accept yourself without conditions without constraints. Congratulations, Chris.

  4. I, unfortunately, underwent 'reparative therapy' of sorts, for almost a year. It was through a church org that I was volunteering with at the time, and my parents never found out. I can't say how damaging 'ex-gay therapy' is. I'm still recovering from the damage.

  5. I'm sorry you went through that Ted...even voluntarily. I hope you find that day when you could never imagine doing that again.

  6. *hugs* Ted. I hope you will one day truly recover, as Bryan said in the post, "...get to the point of accepting your sexual orientation as a fundamental and natural part of yourself." And may I add, you sexual orientation is also a beautiful part of yourself.

  7. Belittling, coddling, perverse practices of undressing and fondling, even electrocution: what is it that drives these people to such extreme lengths? I think it’s that love is such an ingrained human condition that a slight deviation from the ‘norm’ sends people into a wild panic. Ever since the dawn of time, the concept of love has not only endured but played a major role in how we see ourselves as humans. There seems to be no emotion depicted as human more than love: it is love that drove Orpheus into the Underworld and sweetened his music; it is love that bridged the gap between the feuding Montagues and Capulets. It is also love that caused Oedipus’ descent into madness, the fall of Camelot, and even the creation of the Galactic Empire.

    Before all this Fundamentalist Christian nonsense, love was far freer than it is today. Unconventional love was admired and applauded amongst the powerful. But even in this golden time, there was a division line as to how far was too far. It is easy to demonize, or even dehumanize, behavior that is outside the understanding of the norm because they see themselves as human and anything that is foreign as non-human.

    People fear what they don’t understand, and fear is ever so close to anger and hate. …and as we all know, hate in every reality leads to suffering: the emotion itself carries a self-imposed suffering that gnaws as a hungry dog on its master’s heels. That is what I see when I hear about people like Ted Haggard or George Allan Rekkers, and I can only feel pity for them. The more they push and brawl, the more they hurt themselves, and eventually they will be consumed by their own foul creatures.

    The worst part is that many are blinded by the ideologies and mindsets they were raised on, and I would venture to say that these delusions still rule them to this day. They refuse to see the light because they’ve been told all their lives that it is not light at all, but darkness. Condemnation might help bring some to their senses, but the only ones that could understand your rebukes are those most unlikely to listen.

    When I was still in High School, a friend of mine had a friend (that’s right, a friend of a friend) whose family was in the Mormon Church. She turned out to be a lesbian, and had a huge struggle trying to rectify her position with her family, the Church, and God. Eventually she was excommunicated and despite my friend’s most earnest efforts, she descended into a depression and all the terrible situations that naturally follow it. I honestly have no idea how this story ends, but I cannot help but feel somewhat guilty about it. I wish I had the strength to try and help her out in her time of need, but I didn’t. Besides, there should have been more support for her than just two High School friends. Regardless, it was not the fear of being thrown out of her family or Church that really got to her, but the idea that she would be cursed by God and no amount of reason could retrieve her from this conclusion.

    Despite all the fear, one from an outside vantage point must think all this is a little hypocritical. Since when was humanity uniform? In reality, there is no ‘norm’ of love or any other emotion. Part of the human condition is being unique, that the body of humanity is composed of many billions of exclusive, unique parts that are not interchangeable. So I submit that the idea that ‘norms’ alone can be used to unfairly persecute is fallacious. Perhaps we should stop trying to carve a suitable humanity out of what’s already here, but rather work to better understand the beauty and perfection of what we already are!

  8. I had a friend who was in an ex gay group. They used to pair them off into couples and encourage them to develop a strong relationship with each other but not have sex. My friend once woke up with his buddy wanking over his face.

    Who is betting that the group leader always ended up with the hottest looking platonic friend?

  9. I am sorry to hear of your friend's friend, anonymous. Her struggle is the struggle of every gay Christian, to learn that contrary to some orthodox teaching, gays don't have to go to hell, that gays can be loved, too, that God loves gays as well as straights. But no words nor theology can change how one feels, that innate sense of loneliness, not born of being gay but of being human. That's why every human culture has religion, because in our loneliness, we find fulfillment only from knowing our Creator. The homophobia in some religion keeps some people from this fulfillment, and that is a crime worse than any sins they can name. They deny what they do not have themselves, and bar others from it. That is why no human being should place himself or herself above others, and presume to speak with final authority, which is reserved for God alone. We are here to love one another. Everything else is mere commentary.

  10. Thank you, Cowboy. I think one of the worst results of this discrimination is that they drive people away from their religion and end up discrediting an otherwise ancient and reverent practice. Christianity has a long and, at times, admirable history, and when fundamentalist Christians speak out against Homosexuality, they tarnish Christianity as a whole. Not to mention the hypocrisy of their actions: anyone who seriously studies the Bible knows that Jesus preached love and tolerance above ALL ELSE.

    I think this has contributed to the loss of credibility for Religion as a whole and the view that Religion is an outdated practice in today's world. Since the Scientific Community has long ago cast the idea of Homosexuality being a choice or mental illness aside, they view Religion as being just mere superstition with no actual base to their claims (which, of course, is true in this case). So the few ruin the ideology of the many.

    But Spirituality is essential to the human condition, and all the loneliness you spoke of and uncertainty of life and who we are must be answered in part, I believe, through some type of Spirituality. Some may not want to join a Church or cloister, but all feel a need to explore and discover, to think and contemplate.

  11. We can't blame people for being turned off by religion. It is why Bryan's light shining on the world is so important. It is not just to expose the hypocrisy of the homophobic churches, but also, and in my opinion more importantly, to show unbelievers that Christians are about love, not hate.


    Self-hatred, indeed, is not therapy, but neither is self pity and self-effacing one's will by resigning oneself to a biologically aberrant and ethically indefensible behavior.

    Nature does not condemn anyone to engage in biologically aberrant sexual or pseudo-sexual (TRUE sex implies male/female, otherwise it's just rubbing) behavior.

    Everyone is FREE to chose who they will be physically intimate with and what they will insert into the orifices of their body. Self-determination is REAL.

    Change is possible when it is wanted and willed. To deny this, is to deny those who engage in biologically aberrant sexual behavior the FREEDOM they possess to act as THEY want as opposed to as the partisans of the Malthusian Aberrosexualist ideology want them to act.

    The macabre "celebration" of biologically aberrant sexual behavior is not just unhygienic, unhealthy and insane, it is, above all, self-destructive, as experience amply proves.

    As with many other things, for the man or woman addicted to biologically aberrant sexual behavior, HELP is within you!