John Shore has posted a heartbreaking letter from a woman who had the misfortune of being the girlfriend of a man who was trying desperately to pray away the gay, and like virtually all “ex-gays,” failed miserably. They were both involved in a fundamentalist church, and the story she tells is amazing, in part because of the way she was treated by their church throughout the process. You see, she was just a woman, just a pawn, a tool to be used in helping de-gay this man. They didn’t care about her feelings, which is de rigueur in the misogynistic fundamentalist world. We often ask “ex-gay” charlatans, with a bit of amazement, whether they actually care about the wives of these pretend-straight men, whether it bothers them that these women are being brainwashed into accepting marriages to men who, at the end of the day, close their eyes and think about guys when they’re performing their “heterosexual duties.” The question is rarely, if ever, answered.
I’ll excerpt some of it here, and then please click over to John’s place for the whole sordid tale:
The drive to “cure” him came from himself and the pulpit, not his parents. He was taught by the church to find causes, and to lay blame.
I accompanied him to some of his “You Can Overcome Your Gayness” meetings and counseling sessions. At that time I accepted some of the theories such ministries pedal that I have since come to reject, such as:
• His mother had been too protective. Big big yawn: she was a lovely lady who loved each of her children just right.
• His father too distant. Not! The man was always there, physically and emotionally.
• His parents’ marriage was not a good example. Give me a break. They are one of those inseparable and affectionate couples, even after decades. But those so-called counselors found stones to throw at them anyway.
• His parents rejected him. They most certainly did not. Not over this, and not over anything else. They accepted him before he accepted himself.
• Girls at school had been mean to him and turned him off women. Well what comes first: the boy living a lie, or the girls who can see that?
• He had been introduced/seduced into ‘the lifestyle.’ Or he had known what he wanted since he was six years old, and he was ready when the opportunity came along.
So despite that he had excellent, loving parents, had always felt toward guys the way he did, and that no one had ever “turned him,” he still believed that his sexual inclination was “learned,” and that the right system for “unlearning” them was out there somewhere. I believed in miracles too, so I was also confident that such a system or influence would come along.
When he would fall, and he did, frequently, the church authorities would rally to “fix” him, but they kept telling her to stay in this abusive relationship. They didn’t care about her. And yes, it’s an abusive relationship. I see parallels here between loving an addict and loving an “ex-gay,” just as there are parallels between loving an addict and loving an emotionally unavailable human being. When one loves an addict, TLC and abiding love actually enable their addiction. When one loves an emotionally unavailable person, “being there” for them and being willing to “go with the flow” enables the psychoses that allow that person to hurt people without remorse or accountability. And likewise, when a person loves an “ex-gay,” they’re enabling a horrific kind of self-delusion that denies both partners the opportunity to grow into full human beings. And these people, whom she was trained to respect, encouraged her to set herself aside and waste her life on a person who was incapable of being what she needed.
I’ve said it a million times. Fundamentalist Christians, on this issue, care far, far more about their ideology than they care about people. Any worldview that would encourage a person to stay in an abusive relationship needs to be discarded, immediately.
Later on in the letter, the writer explains all the different people that “ex-gay” businesses end up hurting, from personal experience:
Ex-girlfriends, boyfriends, and spouses are collateral damage of the “ex-gay” self-appointed counselors and ministries. But that group occupies a poor third place on that podium of misery. At least we “partners” get to pick ourselves up, limp away and put our lives back together.
Second place goes to all the regular fathers and normal mothers who get blamed for their children’s sexual orientation. A double twist of that knife is that many of them are taught to reject their own children. Parents whose children are alienated from them through these bag-of-accusatory-lies ministries do not get to start over with another child.
And the gold medal of pain, of course, goes to the “ex-gays” themselves.
Indeed. As I said, click over and read it all.