Christian Physician Assistants group issues statement

This evening the Fellowship of Christian Physician Assistants issued a press release regarding the American Academy of Physician Assistants House of Delegates action to oppose certain types of sexual reorientation therapy.

We have been discussing this matter on other threads. Bottom line, the professions discourage imposition of therapist views opposing homosexuality and they oppose therapies which begins with the premise that homosexuality is a mental disorder to be treated.

123 thoughts on “Christian Physician Assistants group issues statement”

  1. Timothy,

    Not that it’s any consolation but the kind of censorship you cited is across the board. I still vividly remember when we tried to do a meeting called “Jesus Didn’t Come to Condemn”…we planned to evangelize but also to confront other attenders with their own homophobic attitudes. I lined up an ad with our local paper, even specifying for our $$ spent where I’d like the ad to appear. They buried it in a corner of the back page! I actually went through the paper twice before I found it! (This was years ago and the other POV but it demonstrates that there are still plenty of people out there who have redefined ‘free speech’ and what’s ‘appropriate for the community’.)

    On the opposite doorframe, I have another quote by Abraham Lincoln: “Whatever you are be a good one.” Sometimes I get a good chuckle out of the ‘whatever’ but mostly I just try to live by the advice. (LOL! I’m wanting to write to Alan Chambers re the radio ad promising ‘sudden radical and complete change’ but I’m afraid I can be an extreme bitch when I’m all fired up…I need a cooling off period before I can become

    a good bitch.) Hope that word didn’t offend anybody…in this case, it is the most accurate word for the situation…

    Was ‘sudden’ really the first word or have I inadvertently substituted another? If they said ‘sudden’, then I’m not any closer to cooling down! ARRRGGGGHHH!!!

  2. Eddy,

    I too love the Gracie quote. But it is a bit ironic in this context.

    “God is still speaking” is currently the motto of the United Church of Christ and is used in connection with their efforts to openly support gay men and women and their relationships within the church. It is based on the Gracie comma quote. It is this program that was not allowed to advertise on network television that they welcomed gay people because, as CBS said, showing gay people attending church is “controversial” and “and the fact the Executive Branch has recently proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast on the [CBS and UPN] networks.” (apparantly showing gay people attending church runs contrary to marriage laws). Incidentally, overwheming UCC voted in 2005 affirming “equal marriage rights for couples regardless of gender.” It is left up to the individual churches whether to perform marriage ceremonies but many do – and a few have gone so far as to say that the will not perform opposite-sex ceremonies until such time as same-sex couples have the same rights. Those wacky Congregationalist/Pilgrims.

  3. TIA alert: “When [the guy with the homosexual problem] begins to trust men, his homosexuality disappears.” J. Nicolosi.

    That’s amazing stuff! Why didn’t I think of that? I wonder… do I have to trust all men, or just Joe and his buddies (Cameron, Berger, Schoenewolf, et all)?

  4. LOL, I love Karaoke! For three years after leaving EXODUS, I was a host at a gay Karaoke bar. Too bad there wasn’t some sort of conversion therapy for some of the singers! Ouch!!! Made my ears bleed, I swear. Now, I still do karaoke sometimes, but usually limit my singing to church choir and Master Chorale.

    Regarding the search for 100%, back in my EXODUS days, I did not expect that. I didn’t really want that. I really would have settled for just a little heterosexual attraction towards my wife. Any straight arousal would do… We both believed that gay feelings would diminish over time and that God would bless our marriage by creating at least some “normal” heterosexual attraction — if only toward her. Sadly, that never happened. She deserved more.

    Now, I am happy being gay. The search for 100% is in response to misleadiing “hype” (your word, Eddy) that would suggest that change is “sudden, radical and/or complete.” Radical, maybe? But not suuden. Not complete. Meanwhile, after decades of prayer and study, I have reconciled my sexuality and my sprituality — using the Bible as the foundation for my sexual identity. For me, they are no longer in conflict. I am looking for 100% change because I already know that those who are already BISEXUAL to some degree can become straighter bisexuals. That’s not for me. I don’t want attractions to both.

    I am not cut out for celibacy. I have a very strong (and I beleiev God-given) need for emotional, romantic, sexual and spiritual bonding with one special man — a spouse, a life-partner — in a monogamous, committed, Christian relationship . I found that in Gary — loving and being loved on ALL those important levels… And I have been blessed to find it twice since his death.

  5. My own belief is that you will likely NEVER see that 100% change that you speak of. Even in my ministry days I said I expected that most would continue to have homosexual feelings/urges/temptations but that they would diminish in frequency and intensity. (Yeah, I know age does that too…but I’m talking about 30 years ago!) I said quite emphatically that the Bible never promised the absence of temptation but rather that ‘with every temptation there would be a way of escape’. I recognized early on that people who were expecting 100% were getting tripped up. The expectation of 100% didn’t come from psychology OR the Bible but rather from an odd mixture of charismatic belief and homophobia. (As charismatics, they believed God could and would do just about anything and they couldn’t imagine God could let a person continue to have those ‘yukky’ feelings.)

    Some people in my church were pushing me towards marriage in a matter of months; my pastor advised that IF a relationship with a woman was part of God’s plan for me, it would likely be several years before I would be ready for that ‘journey’. (Although I heeded his advice I do recall that as a ‘maverick charismatic’, I did think ‘his God was too small’ and that, if I was obedient enough, God would one day whap me over the head with heterosexual feelings and urges.)

    Since neither God nor psychology expects 100%, I’m puzzled why it’s such an important search for you? I do think there are a number of 90% to 95%’ers out there. And I believe there are many others who are in a ‘celibacy of unknown duration’. They are experiencing personal and spiritual growth but nothing much measureable on a heterosexuality scale. I also believe that an individuals level of gay-identification factors in here. Those who were more bi-sexual to begin with have less to contend with and a shorter road to travel.

    Glad the Gracie quote brought some smiles. I sang “Just Dropped In to See What Condition My Condition Was In” at karaoke Friday night and later realized that this blog is what triggered me to remember the song in the first place.

    So far, karaoke is as heterosexual as I get. I can make the ladies swoon with Town Without Pity or a Neil Diamond tune. I am getting more comfortable with flirtation but I’m also expecting it to lead nowhere. What’s ironic is that karaoke is also about as homosexual as I get, as well. (Some songs just bring out the ‘inner camp’.) A few people know ‘my whole story’; many know that I’m not straight and, by default, assume gay. That’s fine with me. It’s one way that I still get to make a dent against homophobic attitudes and to encourage acceptance. And, of course, there are many others who I don’t know or who don’t really care what a person’s sexuality is. (The place where I sing gets the most unusual mix of people…truly eclectic. Gays and lesbians can sometimes make up to 30 percent of the mix.)

  6. Oh how true about that quote! Gracie is on of my hereos.

    Michael, the photosof the criminals did not pop up??

  7. Eddy, Yes they caught ’em. Five gang members and the girlfirend of one — who hid the gang from the police. All did time, ranging from three months (for the girl who hid them and the man who drove the getaway car — to seven years for the three guys who just punched, kicked and held Jeffery down so he COULD be stabbed.)

    The first two are already out (of course) and the others have not yet been paroled. The stabber got 25 years. The Governor called it a Hate Crime, but there was not enough evidence to prove that in court.

    Eddy, would love to correspond with you off the blog — I will give my email to Dr. Throc. Hey, I like the quote about the comma! And, no, I have not put a “period” yet… Thirty years later, I am still looking for that ONE man who went from 100% gay to 100% straight — sudden or not. I think Mary is the first female I have met who made such a change. Not saying it’s not possible or that God can’t do it, just that I personally have not met one yet. So, I keep looking… (I honestly believe that Bigfoot and Nessie may also be real…) 🙂

  8. Like Mary, I don’t tend to think of myself in terms of my sexuality. But, when I do, I’d like a tag that fits. LOL! How about Evolvasexual? Uniqueasexual? Bibliadystonic Sexuality? (Makes “ex-gay” sound better all the time.)

    Michael, did they ever apprehend the animals that attacked you and murdered Jeffery?

    BTW: I have a framed quote hanging on my door frame that you might enjoy: “Never place a period where God has placed a comma.” Gracie Allen. (For the youngsters out there, she was George Burns comedy partner years and years ago.)

  9. Also, the word is part of the language now, even with all its varied meanings. As long as there’s a internet, you’ll be able to google it forever… (grin)

  10. If you like it, use it Eddy. I think I may have actually made it up so you can have it. (LOL) BTW, I do believe that both of you have experienced REAL change. We all have. Christ changes lives.

  11. LOL – I only use the term ex gay in selected groups to identify the idea that I have been a lesbian and now am not. All the emotions and what not in between are SOOOOOOO varied. How does one decide on a term? We could be like Jack on Will and Grace and call ourselves “Just Me! 2007”

  12. Thanks Michael! Thanks Everybody actually. I was actually a little afraid to ‘tune in’ tonight but I’m glad I did. Makes me want to say “Throck, toss us a good topic while we’re being amiable.”

    Regarding ‘the term’: LOL! It seems everybody but me has trouble with ‘ex-gay’. So, if we dump it, what takes it’s place? I’ll still need a ‘tag’ by which I can easily find others who may share my views…that magic word or phrase that I could google to learn more about others who share my views. Mary and I, though extremely different in experience and level of change, have some pretty fundamental things in common. Do we have to have separate ‘tags’ for every level of change?

    As a very vocal supporter of the term ‘ex-gay’, I feel I need answers to those two questions before I could let it go. What takes its place? Do we NEED separate ‘tags’ for every level of change?

    LOL! If we actually discuss this question here, we could create the longest thread in ThrockBlog history.

  13. Umm- I have to say though ex gay is a debateable term it would be prudent to keep in mind that one person’s definition for it does not fit ALL people’s definitions of it. I for one have experienced re-orientation. So for me change means change. It does not mean that I will not think about a woman again or that it is not possible to be attracted to a woman in the future. It does mean my orientation is towards men.

  14. Michael,

    I love you dearly. But… I think now everyone who has ever visited this site – or perhaps everyone in the universe – now knows that Alan doesn’t like the term “ex-gay”.


  15. Oops. Typo. Alan’s remark was that (the term “Exgay”) does “NOT really reflect what the change process is all about.” And, as you know, I strongly agree.

    Eddy gave me a great idea, in place of my insufferable rants, I think I’ll just call for “TIA” — Truth In Advertizing. Would save space, huh?

  16. Eddy: Sorry for calling you an “EXODUS supporter”. I thought you were. My bad. From now on, I’ll talk respond to you and EXODUS separately! I promise.

    If you do happen to talk with Alan, I think you may be surprised to learn that he dislikes “ex-gay” for most of the same reasons I do. At one point, he even suggested a joint press conference to “offically retire it”. He said, “It’s more negaitve than anything — and does does really reflect what the change process is all about.” I agree. Arguments like yours and mine on this blog seem to bear that out.

    By the way, thanks for your valuable contributions to the history of EXODUS, for your faith, and for your heart for gay people. You’re a good man, Charlie Brown.

  17. Michael…

    Thanks for the update re Alan Chambers and ‘ex-gay’. I will try to find out more about why he’s uncomfortable with it. I won’t labor why I still like it since I’ve done that at least a half dozen times. I don’t think I’ve told Exodus or Alan why I support the term.

    I’ll try to discuss this with him but I don’t have faith that it will evolve into daily exchanges like this blog.

  18. For some odd timing fluke, 5 posts–including another from Michael–appeared after I submitted 30671. That post was specifically commenting on Michael’s 30517.

    LOL! Michael, you really baffle me. I hear some incredibly insightful things from you and then I also get a taste of the ‘fuzzies’….the very thing that you accuse ‘ex-gays’ of. Were you including me when you said “Exodus and its supporters were finally getting real with the general public”? (Please, answer this to yourself–yes or no–before reading on.)

    I could be wrong but I think you were including both Mary and myself. My problem with that? The definition of ‘supporters’ and the definition of ‘finally getting real’. I have been on my own journey–apart from Exodus and apart from any ‘ex-gay ministry–for more than a decade. You and Warren pulled me out a very pleasant hibernation to clear up early Exodus history. And I can speak with clarity regarding much of Exodus’ evolvement for the first decade. But that’s it! When I’m speaking history, I’m speaking history. Otherwise, I’m here for personal reasons…you’re talking to ME, Eddy, solo…no church, no board, no organization or ministry. Some of my opinions are going to be similar to opinions held within Exodus but that doesn’t make me ‘an Exodus supporter’…I don’t know if they’ve seriously changed course in the past 20 years or if you’re just magnifying some relatively minor blemishes. I’m still trying to find an OBJECTIVE way to research that. Anyway, I don’t support things I don’t know. That’s simply never been my way. So, please, if I’m talking to you in the present tense, don’t respond to me with something Exodus says as if I’d said it or believe it. I don’t want to be put in the position of defending Exodus…or even discussing Exodus for that matter. I see myself as a middle man. And, truth be told, in most areas I’m not really in the middle…I’m closer to your perspective. (I have always had this radical belief, for example, that man-made laws restricting ‘sinful behavior’ actually get in the way of God ‘convicting’ via the conscience.) So, please, if you’re talking to me, don’t confuse me with Exodus…and if you’re responding to me, respond to MY words…don’t throw Exodus at me. It’ll be less frustrating for both of us!

    BAck to point. If you were including me in the inference and you say “FINALLY getting real”…then you show you have no knowledge of a decades worth of honest and straitforward writings of mine…Wayward Emotions, The Reality of Temptation, Lessons for the Battlefield, Reckoning with the Roots, Masturbation Dilemma. Finally (?) getting real? We’re talking 70’s and 80’s here! (And this, by the way, was a realness that was embraced by most, but not all, of early Exodus.)

    Anyway, if you WERE including me in the inference, you accidentally left two wrong impressions aka confusion…fuzzies. And, if you weren’t, my bad! I apologize.

    Michael, the radio ad you describe makes me squirm. I agree with you that it’s hype…but, duh, isn’t that what advertising is? Don’t get me wrong. I want to see this stuff curtailed…but–through reasoning and mutual understanding and respect. We’ve GOT to start having on-track, constructive dialogue HERE before we can begin to make any inroads THERE.

  19. Wow. I’ll be brief. I’ll quit griping when EXODUS gets honest. Alan said he wanted to drop the term “Ex-gay” — the very first time we spoke. No rants. No e-mails. No pressure. It was a friendly conversation. Alan will tell you.. So will Dr. T.

    I simply asked: “So Alan, what do you think of the term ex-gay?’ And Alan — with no prior contacts from me of ANY kind == gave his calm, refreshing and straightforward reply. It’s the truth. Ask him.

  20. Michael,

    I’m speechless. I kept wishing and hoping that we could find some common consensus…just one damn thing that would prove to me that we could actually carry on a conversation–and maybe even move on the discussing the weightier, more complex issues.

    I honestly don’t know how I can say what I said in my last post any clearer…and it appears that Timothy got it…I wasn’t asking for a concession; I hoped for some sort of common ground where we could all say “okay, I can live with that, now let’s move on.” “Yes, there’s a communication problem” but would you rather be among the people who try to bridge the gap and resolve or would you rather just keep griping with no end in sight? Don’t bother. The answer is all too apparent. Every single time that I think we bloggers might be close to a consensus on anything, it seems you find your way off on some tangent.

    Rather than answer my direct question, you went off on your usual tirade against the term ‘ex-gay’. “It could mean anything”…yeah, it could. How would that be different from any other new term??

    Oh, you don’t want a new term. You think we need to just adapt to the ones that already exist. Well, have a nice time in fantasyland. I made it quite clear in my post why that just isn’t going to happen. You can wish it all you want. You can rant daily. But the ‘ex-gays’ are not going to adopt your psychological language for the reasons I went to lengths to explain.

    –and regarding your repeated allegations that ‘ex-gay can mean anything to anyone’…so can homosexual or gay! You use the label but I’m willing to bet that your homosexuality is quite a bit different than the others who blog here. Some are in monogamous relationships; some feel monogamy is a bunch of hooey. Some have been entrenched ‘in the lifestyle’…have strong ties to the gay community…are very political minded while others see themselves more as sojourners. What I find so damned laughable is 1) you claim to hate the term ‘ex-gay’ because it’s misleading although I have clearly demonstrated that the term itself is not 2) you object to it because ‘it can mean anything’ but you apparently have no qualms with the ‘ex-gays’ accepting the label homosexual…boy, how will that color the definition of ‘homosexual’ 3) the real irony is that you haven’t challenged the words ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’ for THEIR confusion. Open your eyes, man. The words actually CHANGE gender and connotation based on whether or not the words ‘and lesbian’ are added. “If we don’t say ‘and lesbian’, then ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’ means a person sexually attracted to their own gender BUT, if we say ‘gay AND lesbian’, then ‘gay’ only refers to the guys.” And, desiring to be inclusive, we also accept bisexuals and transexuals into the word ‘gay’ but we’re iffy about using the word ‘homosexual’. Talk about straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel!

    But, it’s your world. You are immersed in it. Those nuances of meaning and usage are second nature to you. So, they don’t look confusing. (But they are, Blanche, they are!) Your rantings about the ‘confusing’ term ‘ex-gay’ are prime examples of the pot calling the kettle ‘black’.

    LOL! For a while there, I actually kinda thought that the Holy Spirit actually might have us hear each other and come to a consensus on just one point…where the term ‘ex-gay’ came from and what kind of constraints should be put on its use. But then I remembered your amazing knack for missing the point and detouring the discussion. Words can’t express how disappointed I was to see the same damned diatribe in response to my ‘point by point’ laying things out as I did. Imagine how it felt to try very, very hard to communicate…I’m thinking it was about an hour composing that comment…believing in what I was saying…believing that you would actually try to hear what I said. You at least owed me the courtesy of challenging my arguments if they were off-base but it’s like you wrote an opening sentence that REMOTELY connected to what I said and then punched up “Rant 49” on your computer.

    The political aspects…the misuse of the term…how to constrain Exodus from misrepresenting….they would have been future topics for discussion. But I see we are cursed to travel this same insufferable loop of yours until we die or cave in due to exhaustion. (Which, by the way, is MY take on why Alan Chambers said he wants to retire it…how many e-mails and phone calls did Alan receive from you? I assume you’re a touch nicer here than you are when standing up to the bullies… If I were in Alan Chamber’s shoes, I’d say just about anything to stop the broken record.)

    I don’t even know why I’ve written this. Just more words for you to misunderstand…just more excuses for more repetitious ranting. I think I’m out of here for awhile. Right now, trying to communicate just seems like a huge waste of my time.

  21. Well…. Sudden, radical, complete…. a SPIRITUAL revolution. Freedom is possible through Christ if you allow it…. but then ask so many who were fervent in their belief, seeking the Christ, and yet for whom freedom from “same-gender attraction” did not come.

    What? “Same-GENDER attraction?” I guess they are trying to leave the sex out of it.

  22. Eddy said it seemed to him that sometimes “we” didn’t really “want to understand”. The confusion was “our” fault. “We” asked for more honesty and clarity. And, “we” seemed to be getting it — with honest explanations on this blog from Mary and Eddy.

    Even Alan Chambers went on record (June of last year) that HE wants to be more clear, drop “ex-gay” and see to it that EXODUS more clearly describes “what the change proccess is really all about”. We seemed to be making real some progress! After considerable prodding, Alan even posted a personal anti-hate/anti-bullying/anti-violence statement that he hopes will become official EXODUS policy.

    My hopes were up. EXODUS and its supporters were finally getting real with the general public… And then, EXODUS proves (once again) that they are more interested in attracting media attention than they are about telling the plain truth. Shame on them. Everyone on this thread seemed to agree that WHATEVER “change” or “ex-gay” meant, it certainly WAS NOT “sudden”, “radical” or “complete”. Who’s zoomin’ who?

  23. OMG, They’re at it again. From EXODUS radio spots, promoting their upcoming event in Irvine CA: ”

    “Revolution – a sudden, radical, complete change – through Christ – freedom is possible for those who struggle with same-gender attraction…””


    Hardly. Let’s see some truth in advertizing, guys.

  24. Eddy: I have not said that “Ex-gay” “never meant hetersosexual”. YOU did! (In fact, I think that at various times, you and I have BOTH said it.) Hey, weren’t YOU the one that said that the notion that “ex-gay” meant “heterosexual” was a “total fallacy”? How do you think people got that fallacious idea? It’s not out fault. It’s the term itself. The word IMPLIES it. It’s time to take Alan Chambers advice and “officially retire it” and “see that it is never used again.” More than anything, I think that ONE provocative, misleading, vexing, puzzling, vague and confusing word has been the “sticking point” — and one of the most valid complaints about the “change” movement.

    As has been pointed out MANY times by those who use “ex-gay”, it can (and does) mean whatever they WANT it to mean — and they insist that no one has the right to ask for clarity. If we do, we are accused of trying to force others to accept OUR labels, of insisting that they must “just be happy being gay” — or that we are telling them that they “don’t have the right to TRY to change”. Not true.

    At least, I am NOT asking this. I am asking folks to be honest, DROP the labels althogether — and JUST TELL THEIR STORIES. Please, please, just tell us. I think you would get a lot more mileage and a lot more respect. Eddy, I’ve been around since this all started. I used to use “ex-gay” the same way they still use it. In fact, I actually think this might be my fault. I think made have made it up (about 1974) and may have been the first person to ever use it publicly.

    Since then, I have figured out what it REALLY means. I get it. It is (and always HAS been) primarily a statement of faith and intent — NOT an indicator of a any sort of change in sexual orientation. It is entirely personal and can mean just about ANYTHING. You pointed out that “celibate” was the most correct of all of the labels for many of you. By the way, your ministry partner and one of EXODUS’s founders, Robbi Kenney, seems to agree with this when she said some years back: “Know what you are promising — not heterosexuality but the power to come into celibacy…”

    You say, “some were married; some were still ‘working their way out of a relationship’; some were ‘falling’ somewhat regularly.” In other words, no matter what they meant, they were all STILL homosexual in orientation. Other things may have changed dramatically, but the gay attractions and behavior had not necessarily changed at ALL. They were NOT heterosexual in the commonly accepted use of that term.) They were just sincere, Bible-believing Chistian homosexuals “trying to quit”. But, come on, that’s not an “ex-gay” or “former homosexual” — that’s just (to use Joe Dallas’s words) a “Christian WITH homosexual tendencies who would rather not HAVE those tendencies. It just rolls of the tongue easier.”

    That “easy-on-the-tongue” word was a statement of FAITH, of HOPE and of INTENT. It fit their “faith” model of believing they were new in Christ and were “trying to quit”, as you put it — and they didn’t feel comfortable with gay, homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual or straight — so they just made up their own word. I agree with EXODUS’s current president. After more than thirty years, it has been more confusing and negative than anything and it is time to level with the public –as you have done.

  25. Michael,

    I’ve actually appreciated–and agreed with–much of what you’ve said in this thread. I do continue to contest that ‘ex-gay’ NEVER meant ‘heterosexual’…the main reason we wanted a new word was that most of us weren’t comfortable calling ourselves ‘heterosexual’. Even the charismatics would qualify it as ‘heterosexual by faith’.

    There was a period of time when ex-gay ministries were strongly charismatic-influenced and that may have helped form the impression that ‘ex-gay’ meant ‘heterosexual’ but we wanted an inclusive term that fit all of us who were in the process of ‘leaving homosexuality behind’. Many of these people were okay with the thought that God might ask them to quit their homosexual lifestyle but, for a variety of reasons, couldn’t even fathom heterosexuality as an option. The term fit them as well.

    When you asked your class what they thought a person was saying when they said ‘ex-gay’, NOT ONE thought that it meant ‘heterosexual’. I taught at a number of Exodus conferences and my classes centered on ‘lessons for the battlefield’ , ‘reckoning with the roots’, ‘the reality of temptation’. My books and teaching handouts were promoted by Exodus. This is clear evidence that Exodus was not saying that ‘ex-gay’ means ‘heterosexual’. In my 10 plus years as a minister, I saw less than a dozen clients who decided to ‘try heterosexuality’…anything from hand-holding or dating all the way up to marriage. But, we ALL identified as ex-gay.

    As Christians who had been cleansed of our sins, it felt wrong to call ourselves ‘homosexual’. (Please, set aside the ‘is it a sin’ issue for the point of this discussion.) WE believed it was a sin; WE felt we had been cleansed and were asked to turn away from it…WE simply couldn’t, in good faith–literally, still call ourselves by the thing we felt God was setting us free from.

    (Have you ever met someone who simply CANNOT tell you their astrological sign…not because they haven’t heard what it is, but because they believe astrology is ‘of the devil’? When they tell you their sign, they believe that you will start ascribing certain personality traits and luck cycles to them. So, they do the only thing they can do in good conscience, they refuse to answer. For somewhat similar reasons, an ex-gay will not give your value system (psychology) precedence over their own (religious).) I’m not trying to assess the rightness or wrongness of this ‘stubborn stalemate situation’, I’m simply trying to explain that it exists and, quite frankly, it isn’t going to go away.

    I knew very few ex-gays who were comfortable calling themselves ‘heterosexual’ either. If you’ve hardly had a heterosexual inkling in your life, it feels totally dishonest–even as a profession of faith–to say it.

    ‘Bi-Sexual’ didn’t fit either. If we hadn’t yet had feelings towards the opposite sex, where’s the Bi come in?

    The remaining option ‘celibate’ was the most correct of all of the labels for many of us but didn’t fit all. Some were married; some were still ‘working their way out of a relationship’; some were ‘falling’ somewhat regularly.

    …So, we needed another term because the dictionary didn’t have one for us yet. We all had gay backgrounds in common…and we were all trying to quit. ‘Ex-Gay’ is what we came up with after debating about a half dozen possibilities. (I remember thinking ‘Christo-sexual’ sounded a might ‘high-handed’.) 🙂

    Could you accept ‘ex-gay’ if 1) it had the inclusive definition I described way up in the first 3 paragraphs (I said it more succintly somewhere in another thread…) and 2) people pronouncing themselves ‘ex-gay’ in public policy (political/educational) forums would be expected to define their personal ‘ex-gay’ experience…and challenged/confronted if they don’t? (LOL! I know you’d prefer that they’d just get out of public policy forums altogether…and, for the most part, I agree…but that’s another thread.)

  26. Eddy commented: ““I swear…it’s like they PURPOSELY try NOT to understand…”

    And I feel like: “I swear…it’s like they PURPOSELY try NOT to clarify — they just keep defending vague and perplexing labels — instead of just TELLING us what they mean…”

    And that, in some ways, is the “great divide”. I strongly believe that those who post here (on both sides of the “change” issue) really WANT to communicate — but it’s as though some of us are speaking Italian and some are speaking Madarin Chinese. Pray that the Holy Spririt will send an interpreter — maybe someone like Warren?

  27. So…we’ll keep on muddling and trying to communicate the best we can.

    Yep… it’s all we can do.

  28. Timothy,

    I just went back to your quote from Anon2 and your response. It seems that you and I both made assumptions from Anon2’s simple statement “my so-called ‘sexual attraction to men’ wasn’t that at all”. I put more meaning into the single quotes than I should have without inquiring further. (I’ve often used the illustration of my so-called ‘gay laugh’…Truth is, it’s a very unusual laugh but it’s not gay. On low, perhaps a chipmunk. Revved up–a bit like Woody Woodpecker. Out of control–hyenas come to mind. But, I’d have people, both straight and gay, call it a ‘gay laugh’. So, whenever I use the illustration, I tip off that I don’t necessarily concur by using the word “so-called” and then I put the phrase in quotes.) So, I assumed that Anon2 was talking about those situations similar to the non-sexual ones I described.

    But, if you remove any contextual impact of the quote marks, it does sound like self-justification in the extreme. And that deserves all the bold type confrontation it can take!

    I’ve honestly seen both types in operation: the healthy non-sexual and those that are impacted by sexuality. (If you’re an ex-gay whose day is ruined because John failed to stop for a smile and a chat, I’m willing to call that ‘impacted by sexuality’ even though nothing overt is going on.)

    You would have thought there was a bemused chipmunk in the room when I read your final paragraph…the one about confusion. It was less than two weeks ago when I confided to some friends, “I swear…it’s like they PURPOSELY try NOT to understand…” (And I was talking about you guys…)

    So…we’ll keep on muddling and trying to communicate the best we can.

  29. I see people earnestly defining themselves in a new way that does not fit neatly into either the christian fundamentlists’ view or the gay activists’ view. That can only be upsetting to both sides – while the real individuals are trying to live real lives.

  30. I was simply replying to your earlier response when you said that the desires for a same-sex friendship were homosexual attractions. (I believe you even ‘bolded’ but I don’t know how to do that in the blog.)

    Eddy, I think you misread what I wrote.

    What I said was that claiming that sexual attraction is really just some misdirected desire for a buddy ignores the fact that sexual attraction is exactly what it is: sexual attraction. I refuse to confuse the two and I think it is irresponsible and self-deluding for anyone else to do that as well.

    Buddies are buddies and sexual attraction is sexual attraction. And while there may be overlap, these are not interchangeable concepts.

    And please don’t suggest that I’m the one confusing the difference. The only folks I see trying to confuse sexual attraction with friendships are the ex-gay ministries.

  31. Thanks Anon2. I support you and encourage you to continue on. Change does happen. And it can be very satisfying to the soul.

  32. Maybe what gay people need to is to switch to a sex-positive religious position, some kind of pantheism or pandeism (of the ‘god shares in all nature’ variety). At least then they could relax in the belief that whatever they did was sharing a positive experience with God instead of doing something sinful for which they should be reviled.

  33. Mary,

    You are right on this. I think we can only see things through our own experience and should be able to define ourselves accordingly. When others begin to impose their definitions on us based on what they may have experienced I believe we are off the mark. I guess this has been the issue for me for so many years and especially with some of the comments on this site. When those who have accepted their homosexuality as being a normal part of themselves try to impose this upon me without understanding where I have come from I feel this is a judgment on their part. How can they be so sure that their experience is the same as mine? I may have very good reasons for not wanting to embrace the lifestyle they have choosen for themselves. I may have also experienced a level of change in my life that makes me very hopeful and do not wish to go back to something that was extremely painful for me in the past.

  34. And the story of Babel has never ceased to exist. It is an ongoing story. Philosophers have struggled with this for 5k years or so. Look at all the bible versions. Just to really understand the bible a person has to become fluent in hebrew and greek, and the culture of the times in which the texts were written. That’s alot of work.

    I don’t know if you will ever truly understnad what it is like for an ex gay person and how they define themselves. I doubt my shrink really understands since she has not had this issue. But I think we have to come to a place where we say – I don’t understand but I accept. And stop the debate and live in peace. Gay christians interpret the bible very differently than the I. conservative christians interpret a very different meaning than you and I. And then there are some real nuts out there that just make up stuff and no one can figure out their reading… and on and on it goes.

    We do live the story of Babel – it wasn’t just told and was finished – it kept living on. It wasn’t just different languages but how we used the same language as well.

  35. Then Michael you will have to listen to individuals who tell their story and not “groups”

    I’m sorry – but I have heard as many definitions as you have heard. I’m trying to tell you that it is an individual expression and ex gay is an emerging term. I don’t how more clear I can be. Thank you for your honestly and desire to know.

  36. Mary: I hope you can seee that I am not trying to define you. On the contrary, I am asking you how you define yourself? What do YOU mean when you use the words you do? You seem to use them in a very personal and impressionistic way. I am more of a dictionary kind of guy.

    By the way, I call myself gay or homosexual. I am not “straight” — and never have been. I have had straight SEX but I had to think about men to function. In terms of BEHAVIOR alone, I suppose you could call me “bisexual” — but my orienation is, and always has been, homosexual.

    Words are very important to me. Fow example, currently, I am trying to become bilingual in Spanish — because I want to be able to communicate with Spanish speakers, not to pigeon-hole them, define them or tell them how they should believe. I want to be able to really talk with them — to be sure we are somewhere on the same page. So when I ask for “comida” I want to be relatively sure that we understand each other and I don’t get a bucket of sand instead.

    I know it may be hard for you to believe, but I really DO want to understand your personal experience — and all who have “changed” — but I at least need to know what THEY mean when they use their special, personally defined language. Otherwise, it’s the story of Babel all over again.

  37. Timothy,

    I appreciate your response. I do want to qualify, though. I did not suggest that the same-sex friendship had the goal of diminishing homosexual desires or creating straight ones; I was simply replying to your earlier response when you said that the desires for a same-sex friendship were homosexual attractions. (I believe you even ‘bolded’ but I don’t know how to do that in the blog.)

    I believe that the desire for same-sex friendships CAN be sexual but USUALLY is not. I see it as a phase that many–but not all–ex-gays go through. Some do it to glean some sense of a masculine identity; some do it because they never had any male bonding in their past. Others do it trying to figure out ‘what makes straight guys tick’; still others pursue these friendships mostly because they feel God wants them to. If the friendship seeker has a very deep level of need, it is likely that homosexual attractions will occur BUT, for the majority, there is no sexual attraction playing into the picture…therefore no homosexual attraction.

  38. Sexuality is a very personal issue. People define it differently. And it bothers me when gay people start trying to define me – just as it did when I was gay and I heard others define my homosexuality. It’s mine, belings to me and I define it my way – as I am sure so do others.

    I mean, you had sex your wife – I could call that all sorts of kinds of sexuality. But don’t you prefer to be called what you call yourself – gay?

  39. Mary said: “Everyone has a different definition.” Mary, that’s my point! — and why dictionaries can be so useful. Otherwise, we are back to apples and kumquats, camels and aardvarks. Without defining terms, who knows? You and I might actually be in complete agreement without knowing it!

    Do we mean the same thing when we say “Jesus died on the cross and rose bodily from the dead and sits at the right hand of God”? (I suspect and hope that we do.) Or do you have your own personal meaning? Maybe he just fainted and rode away on a Harley…

    Mary, I am truly baffled here. Could you explain why you have such strong opposition to defining terms? It is now, and always has been, one of my biggest problems with the ex-gay movement. Robbi Kenney, one of the founders and ongoing defenders of the ex-gay movement admitted: “EXODUS has ALWAYS had a problem with definitions.”

    Even Alan Chambers seems to admit that it’s a problem. That’s why he wants to get rid of the term “ex-gay” entirely, in favor of more clearly describing the change process.

  40. Mary: Thanks for clarifying. It really helps me when people explain their experience and attempt to define the terms they are using. I think I finally understand your experience. It’s less “fuzzy” now. I am still curious… Are these attractions to men a new thing — or have you always had some measure of opposite sex attraction?

  41. IN addition, when you consider the history and origin of the english language, it’s varieties, dialects, etc… yes, ex gay is an emerging term that is still being defined.

  42. Also, Michael – everyone has a different definition. I know married women who have had same sex attraction but do not “struggle” with it today. They might in the future have an attraction again – I don’t know. I have “straight” friends who had sex with their own gender and would do it again in the future but consider themselves straight. I know lesbians who have had sex with men but call themselves lesbians to the core. Truly, I think being called gay or lesbian is a matter of the heart more than the genitals. As well, as being heterosexual. In fact, I think the term sexual is linguistically vague. Since it encompasses the heart, the body, the mind etc…

    It’s not linguistic sloppiness as much as language is not static and in transition just as much as culture and individuals.

  43. Michael,

    I call myself ex gay, heterosexual. I can see that I could be attracted to someone of my own gender in the future – only because it is part of my past. But my attractions are directed towards men. I do not think about women in a sexual/romantic way, I don’t desire that or struggle against those kinds of desires today.

  44. Eddy,

    I think perhaps you are confusing admiration of aesthetic, same-sex friendships, and sexual attraction. I’m not trying to define for you what is or what is not “sexual attraction” – I don’t know that I could. However, I am quite certain that if sexual attraction is directed towards the same sex, one isn’t heterosexual.

    I do want to touch on the friendship notion for a moment. I see this as a recurring theme – that non-sexual friendships are non-existent for gay men and that once a gay man finds acceptance from other men his sexual orientation fades or changes.

    I think that notion is completely ridiculous (no offense). I’ve always had friendships with other males – as have many of my friends. Perhaps it is true for some, and maybe for those who seek reorientation, but the gay men I know all have male friends – gay or straight – who are not in any way sexual. And we don’t have difficulty making the distinction.

    I too see handsome men that don’t raise my interest. And I will at time see someone who might not be that physically beautiful who, for whatever reason, I find to be attractive – in the sexually-interesting way. My reaction is not identical to every physically appealing man.

    Really, Eddy, I think we all (well, except the young’ens) have different levels of attraction and different levels of appreciation of phyical or aesthetic appeal. I do notice a pretty or a striking woman.

    But I know for me, sexual attraction is only directed towards the same sex. Which is why I could never use the term “heterosexual” to apply to me.

  45. Richard Taflinger, in an essay on the “power of words” put it this way, drawing an important distinction between the connotative use of a word and the denotative use.

    The denotative meaning is “basically the dictionary meaning, the one that almost anyone can understand who speaks or desires to speak the language.”

    Connotative (or “fuzzy”) words are those that “have no concrete referents, for which there is no object that can be pointed at to clarify what the speaker means.”

    Fuzzy words can mean whatever you think they mean, and thus can mean different things to different people. The thing that is clear is that fuzzy words are virtually all connotation, with their denotative meanings dependent on who is defining them.

    In my experience, the “change” movement is notoriously “fuzzy” when it comes to language –and this linguistic sloppiness has created a lot of needless confusion and skepticism. How can we trust what the ex–gay movement is saying when they proclaim that words can mean whatever they want them to? Shouldn’t our “yes” be “yes” and our “no” be “no”? I think Jesus had something to say about that…

  46. Mary, you and I certainly have the RIGHT to define ourselves using any words we please, even make up words if we want, or define them in a strictly personaly way. But, to use your own words, THIS is really all I am asking: I am asking folks to “tell us what they mean when they say they are this or that.”

    If you use “heterosexual” in a way that most folks would NOT typically understand that term, then please tell us what YOU mean. If you use “ex-gay” to mean something OTHER than “I used to have a homosexual orientation but now I have a heterosexual orientation instead” — then by all means, tell us what YOU mean.

    I am not asking you to accept MY definitions. I am just asking for YOURS. Otherwise, how do we know if we are agreeing or disagreeing? Without defining YOUR terms — and insisting that you can use them any way you please (and that no one has the right to question them) — how do we know if we are even talking about the same thing? You could be talking camels while I’m talking aardvarks.

    We may not agree on much else, but can’t we at least come to terms?

  47. Michael,

    I’m sorry for being flippant – it’s just that we need to listen to others and have them tell us what they mean when they say they are this or that.

    As it is, I know some people would still call me gay by their own definition. And some would call me straight and so on…

    And gays are always calling ex gays bisexual (to begin with anyways), celibate homosexuals, and so on …. anything but ex gay or heterosexual. I know plenty of gay men and women who have slept with the opposite sex while saying emphatically that they are gay.

    You may not like it because it does not fit into your defined world. I may not like it because it does not fit into mine – but if there is anything I know – it is that people define themselves in their own ways.

  48. That’s the great philosphical problem with how do we get ideas from our mind into the mind of another – definitely a long standing issue since pre-recorded history.

  49. I am all for you being able to explore on your own terms what it means to be a kumquat — and if you ONLY had yourself to talk to, I guess it wouldn’t make any difference at all what word, sound on nonsense syllable you used — as long a YOU understood it. But if you really want to communicate to apples, better speak applish. I think that’s why Paul was so adamant that if “toungues” were to be used in church that SOMEONE must interpret — otherwise its just a mess of fruit cocktail.

    On a more serious note, how would we communicate the truth of the gospel, and lead people into a saving knowledge of Christ, if the speaker was free to use words in any way he or she happened to feel the urge that day — and having a meaning only the speaker understood? What if people applied this illogic to traffic signs? To ME, a “STOP SIGN” means to close your eyes and floor it…

  50. That’s why we need client centered therapy. This way we can have some standards to avoid the wierdos and the overly relgious zealots who WANT you to change and the gay affirming who WANT you to accept your gay feelings etc and someone who can help you explore on your own terms what it means to be a kumquat.

  51. Oh well…so much for not belaboring things…

    But, isn’t the even grander question this? Why does the kumquat pretend to be an apple? Why can’t the kumquat in his wildest dreams believe that he may possibly have his place and be a part of the grand fruit salad in the sky in the first place? And, even if he really wants to be an apple and believes he can be an apple, why can’t he still just be a kumquat trying to be an apple instead of pretending to be an apple? Could it be that all the apples have somehow shamed the kumquat into pretending to be an apple?

    Let the kumquat be and live according to his own fruit salad recipe….but….let him be a kumquat with no shame in seeking his place in the salad.

  52. Thanks for discussing it with me.

    I think I’ve had a grand revelation in that I married a kumquat pretending to be an apple.

    I think I misunderstood what you meant by prevailing, Mary. Tdub’s attractions probably never were prevailingly straight, only his definition of himself at that time. *big sigh*

  53. I agree with Mary on her last point. All sexual orientation really refers to is the PREVAILING and PREDOMINATE direction of one’s sexual/romantic/erotic attractions. As in, “the compass needle has a northerly ORIENTATION.”

    Men who call themselves straight or heterosexual typically do not have a homosexual orientation — even though they may have had some gay experiences or fleeting admiration, curiousity or attraction. IF BOTH attractions persist over time, I think that bisexual is the common and sensible term to describe that internal experience.

    Sexual BEHAVIOR, IDENTITY, LIFESTYLE, etc. may refer to something else altogether. For example, the language sometimes gets so vague that a person may say that they are “formerly gay identified”, “ex-gay”, “from gay”, “post-gay” — even if they have NO hetersosexual attractions at all == and may even PERSIST in having sex only with the same sex or only solo masturbation to gay fantansies.

    I have met such people. As you can see, defintions are very important here, not to put people into “black and white” boxes, but to be confident that when I am talking apples, you don’t think I mean kumquats.

  54. Pam,

    You know, I feel for you. I really do. You husband was not ready for marriage and should have explored his feelings before commiting to another person – male or female.

    There is currently a man I am interested in. We talk about our lives our past etc… and it is a way of evaluating how he and I have come to a place of growth and peace in our own lives. Knowing who you are and who you are marrying, I think is valuable. Of course, you assumed TDUB was straight and he did not disclose these other feelings to you. He should have. He was grown man and not a child. That’s just my opinion. He did not all of a sudden begin to realize he had same sex attraction – he had it all along.

  55. Mary,

    I really don’t like belaboring points on these threads…but still….where does prevailing direction leave people in the sort of marraige I was a part of? Yes…Tdub prevailed toward being straight right up to the point that he prevailed back to gay? I’m sorry, that just doesn’t cut it for people who end up hurt in the fringes of all this mess.

    I totally get what you are saying and I would have probably agreed 100% for as long as Tdub prevailed toward straight.

  56. Pam,

    I think most shame comes from within. People internalize from their upbringing or their current social setting or whatever. My perspective is that if someone says they are ex gay – so be it. If they say they are gay – so be it. If they say they are straight – so be it. I wish I did not have to say ex gay to tell my story – but it seems to be the only word people understand or somewhat agree on. I would love to see conversations like the one you propose taking place all over the place. But I feel the pull from gays and ex gay “ministries” to be one sided. I’m not. I see both sides. Be who you are without the shame.

    I also wish we could live in servanthood to eachother.

  57. I think prevailing direction of one’s sexuality is a good place to start. People can be anywhere along the spectrum and I guess it just matters what direction they are prevailing in moving – I suppose.

    It’s just that gays are often calling anyone with a same sex experience a homosexual or bisexual when that person has no indication of doing the same thing again. It’s as if one slight move towards same sex attraction of ANY kind automatically gets called homosexual (latent homosexual, repressed homosexual etc..) as if to justify themselves. And that’s just not the way it is for human sexuality. There are plenty of young women who have experienced same sex sex and have never moved in that direction again or did so only during exceptional times – it doesn’t make them bisexual or homosexual in the the scheme of things – they would still identify as heterosexual and from all appearances are. Just where is the line drawn? I think at that person’s discretion.

    Sooo, I think prevailing direction is a good indicator.

  58. I’d like to live in a world where either of these sorts conversations might take place more often….and you can insert gay or straight in either blank but I’m obviously writing it with gay in mind.

    New Friend: I’m ___________.

    Me: How’s that workin’ for ya?

    New Friend: Not so great, I’m struggling to live faithfully so I’m getting some help.

    Me: Cool. Let me know if there’s anything I can do or you wanna talk about it. Where’s lunch?


    New Friend: I’m ____________.

    Me: How’s that workin’ for ya?

    New Friend: I’m great!

    Me: Cool. Where’s lunch?

    That may sound a bit trite or flippant but I really don’t mean it that way. I just wish we could get over these words and live in servanthood to one another.

  59. Timothy,

    I just attended my nephew’s wedding. His mom, my brother’s wife, has 4 strikingly handsome brothers. (One of them used to make my knees weak back in my teens.) Anyway, they come parading down the aisle all gussied up and I find myself assessing how well they’ve aged. You’d call that sexual attraction and, by extension, homosexual feelings.

    I was sitting next to another of my brothers and his wife. My brother turns to his wife and I and comments, “Now there’s a family that could have all been actors.” What was he saying? He wasn’t referring to their talents; he was talking about how handsome they were. I’m sorry but if you define that as sexual or homosexual, you’re way off the mark!

    Straight men do notice other men. The media tells us what’s ‘good looking’ for the respective genders and we notice. I notice ‘stunning women’ at karaoke and at work; I’ll even notice how an outfit flatters their figure but I don’t see it as sexual and I still wouldn’t call myself heterosexual based on those ‘feelings of attraction’. And yes, they are feelings of attraction. I now sing duets and dance with the one woman; I talk to the ones from work in passing or on break. But I’m not even remotely considering any form of physical or sexual relationship.

    I believe quite strongly that many ‘feelings of attraction’ are not sexual…could be admiration, envy, jealousy, respect, kinship. I’ve come to believe that ‘kinship’ is a very strong need and one that is most often confused for homosexual attraction. Most of us who are or were homosexually attracted also experienced strong feelings of disassociation with our peers. Michael has given us some graphic examples of this. So, along the journey, we’re going to want a few same gender friendships that affirm us. If we keep them on that level, it’s NOT sexual. You might think that’s confusion but I think it’s discernment. It’s an important distinction that needs to be recognized.

    I am not saying that homosexual attractions don’t happen…there was that one guy at the reception that I found myself ‘noticing for the wrong reasons’; I’m saying many attractions aren’t sexual at all. Learning the difference has been key for me and many others.

  60. Mary,

    And where do you think that sort of shame comes from? If we have words that mean things, let’s just use those words with no shame. I never minded folks saying Tdub was gay…..I was concerned about him living faithfully to me in our marriage. I see what you mean (in theory) about people being able to call themselves whatever they want….but in practice, it very often results in the sorts of situations like mine with Tdub was. And yeah, shame is involved there. But it seems to me (and I know I’m biased because of my experience) this aspect only further strengthens my point.

  61. Mary, I admit the sexuality is not black and white, but for the sake of convenience and mutual understanding, would it be too much to ask that we come up with some basic defintions that we could agree on?

    If you don’t like gay, homosexual, heterosexual, straight, bisexual and the like, could you suggest some other terms we might use to discuss sexuality?

    Also, if words ought to mean whatever a person wants them to — and no one has the right to challenge their meaning, would it OK with you if “ex–gay” or “former-homosexual” meant that the person was still actively having gay sex?

  62. Mary, I admit the sexuality is not black and white, but for the sake of convenience and mutual understanding, would it be too much to ask that we come up with some basic defintions that we sould agree on?

    If you don’t like gay, homosexual, heterosexual, straight, bisexual and the like, could you suggest some other terms we might use to discuss sexuality?

    Also, if words ought to mean whatever a person wants them to — and no one has the right to challenge their meaning, would it OK with you if “ex–gay” or “former-homosexual” meant that the person was still actively having gay sex?

  63. Well, Tdub and I took very different paths. I always referred to myself as gay or lesbian for years and years. I have changed considerably not only in tastes and preferences but in attitude. I never resisted being called as such when that is how I saw things. And should I ever marry, he will know this aspect of my life – no secrets. That’s the big difference. Tdub kept his secret from you and himself. He was ashamed.

  64. I tend to be obviously more sympathetic to Timothy’s view of this…..for personal reasons of which we are all aware. Tdub resisted ever being referred to as gay OR ex-gay….until he decided he really was gay. I wish he’d have been able to come to grips with that fact WAY before he did… in, before he married while calling himself “straight”.

  65. Michael,

    Sexuality is not as balck and white as many people would like it to be – not the gay community and not the church folks. Sorry – but we will have to agree to disagree on this.

  66. Oops, in my post above, I meant to say that Heterosexuality means attracted to the OPPOSITE sex…not the same sex, My bad…

  67. Mary: having words mean what ever the speaker WANTS them to mean is not communication. Suppose I said, “I push raspberries up my nose” — by which I mean “I really like the scent of them”. Would you know that I meant “smelling” when you heard me say “pushing?'” NO. You would be scratching your head, looking for juice running from my nostrils and saying “what”?

    It’s the same with terms to describe the PREVAILING DIRECTION of ones sexual attractions. Any dictionary I have ever checked (and I have read lots of them) — says “heterosexual” means “attracted to the same sex”, “homosexual “means “attracted to the same sex” and “bisexual” means “attracted to BOTH”. Why complicate things uncessarily? It’s really preyty simple. In fact, back in 1991, EXODUS itself officially defined Hetero, Homo and Bi in this way. I have their official 1991 policy statement with these very definitons — if you would care to see it.

    Re-iventing these terms, to mean something purely personal to the speaker, is one of the main, LEGITIMATE objections people have to the ‘ex-gay movement”. Please do us all a favor and just tell l your stories. Tell us exactly what changed. I would really like to know. I suggest that we dump the terms if we are not going to define them, come to some common understanding about them — or use them the way most english speakers (and any dictionay I have ever checked) already define them.

    Imagine if you went to Mexico — and decided that “comida” meent “vomit” and “comer” meant “defecate” — just cause that fit your particular “identity” or “experience”. Most Mexicans would probably give you an odd look — and hestitate before inviting you to a classy dinner party.

    Acorrding to your logic, I should be able to use WHATEVER words or sounds I choose — and have them mean whatever I WANT them to mean. Using your argument, nobody would have the “right” to challenge what I meant. In pscyhiatry, we call such individually defined words or sounds “neologisms” and when they are tossed together, “word salad.” It’s usually considered a sign of serious mental illness, evidence of psychosis. The PATIENT may know what he or she is talking about — but everyone else just hears gibbersish.

  68. I am quite sympathetic to the views of Mary and Timothy, as contrasting as they are. I resonate with define-yourself-in- keeping-with-your-core-beliefs but I also think acceptance of self as is allows one to better pursue those chosen beliefs. In counseling I have moved toward more of an acceptance without approval stance. Accept what that my brain responds in such a way to certain people and pursue what I value at the same time. See ACT and for more about this.

  69. I still think that people ought to define for themselves who and what they are in this regard. No one else has that right – even for you.

  70. Mary

    I think people need to define for themselves what they are – no matter where they are on the spectrum.

    I’m sorry, but no. I believe that communication is based on shared understanding of the meaning of words.

    And if on the inside someone wants to tell themself that they are hetero, well goodie. I tell myself that I’m handsome and smart and funny. Some people tell themselves that they are successful – it just hasn’t shown up yet. But if we are going to communicate with each other at all we have to let go of our fantasies and communicate in a manner that accurately reflects things as they are.

    What possible benefit is it to either of us if someone (say “Joe”) tries to have a conversation with me in which he is simultaneously “heterosexual” and also “struggling to rid himself of same-sex attractions”. And especially if that later part is conveniently forgotten.

    Then take it a step further. A third party hearing this would say, “but Timothy, if Joe was gay two weeks ago and now he’s heterosexual, then why shouldn’t you be banned from any civil rights. Just give it two weeks and you can be heterosexual too.”

    I know that you support equality, Mary, but most visible public ex-gays do not (wait, make that ALL visible public ex-gays). And this is their favorite trick.

    Surely we here can all agree that the best approach is forthrightness, honesty, integrity, and letting our yeas be yea and our nays be nay. We don’t have to redefine “heterosexual” to include people attracted to the same sex but not to the other sex, do we?

  71. Anon2

    What I have found by being honest with myself and with others who are important in my life is that my so called “sexual attraction to men” was really not that at all, but rather a desire to be able to feel like I fit in with other men.

    Without seeking to offend, this is exactly what I find so frustrating with the ex-gay movement. You want to redefine words to mean the opposite of what they are.

    I’m sorry, but sexual attraction is…. da ta ta da… sexual attraction. You may think of it as wanting to fit in redirected in a broken way – fine – but regardless of how it came to be, or regardless of how you think of yourself, it is sexual attraction.

    It makes me scream when people reassign words.

    I don’t mean you disrespect but please… if you are sexually attracted to other men for whatever reason then guess what… you’re sexually attracted to other men. And those who are sexually attracted to other men (even if its because deep inside they want to fit in) are not called heterosexuals.

    If that goes away at some point, well then jolly for you. I’m glad you met your goal. But in the meanwhile it only frustrates the heck out of people who try to find a common ground when you don’t use the English language. We don’t find changing the meaning of words to be, frankly, all that honest with yourself.

  72. Jayhawk,

    Let me clarify – for myself I am attracted to men – and I remember what it was like to be attracted to women in a romantic and sexual way. And it does not occupy my thoughts, actions, etc… the way it does for someone whom most would describe as gay or bisexual.

  73. Timothy,

    I think people need to define for themselves what they are – no matter where they are on the spectrum. It shouls not be my decision to define others. If you say you are gay – then that’s what you call yourself. If I say I’m straight then that’s how I see myeself.

  74. Jayhawk,

    I did not say I am attracted to both sexes. What I said was that to say wholly attracted to your own sex is a narrow definition. Many people wonder what it is like to be with their own gender but they do not wonder what it is like to be with their own gender for a lifetime. That is not bisexual. That is not homosexual.

  75. Jaywalk,

    I would have to say the same to you about those who wish to promote a progay position. I am not from the US but I can tell you north of the boarder we have had the whole gay issue pushed at us for way too long now. For less than 3% of the population fitting into this catergory I find it hard to understand why the public funded media (ie. CBC), which, as far as I can make out should provide a representative balanced view, feels it necessary to focus 30-50% of its broadcasting on homosexual issues. There seems to be a real imbalance there. I will admit both sides are presented through other avenues though.

    Maybe part of the problem I have with some of the things said on this site are that I have had a very different perspective from this side of the boarder. There seems to be much less respect for faith issues in general here, so I don’t see the same political power in the hands of the so called Christian-right. I am grateful that the former liberal government was defeated and I hope it is not back until it can find its balance once again.

  76. timothy,

    What I have found by being honest with myself and with others who are important in my life is that my so called “sexual attraction to men” was really not that at all, but rather a desire to be able to feel like I fit in with other men. Once I stopped looking at myself as being different it became much easier to feel like one of the guys. I did not have to feel I needed to close myself into the subculture of homosexuality any longer. What I found was that I was really not that much different than most men. Sure I did not fit the macho male image of Hollywood, but I have met many men who do not and you know what they have helped me realize much about who I really am.

  77. Mary,

    If you are attracted to both sexes there is already a term for that: It is not heterosexual, it is not homosexual – It is bisexual!!!! I don’t understand why our society has such a problem using that term.

  78. Would you accept a definition that one is overwhelming sexually attracted to the opposite sex with very little sexual attraction to the same sex?

  79. Amen to that.

    Hmmm, at what point does an immigrant identify as an American? Is that sanction by someone outside the individual who points their sceptor and says “Now, you are an American?” Or does a person decide for themselves. BTW, I disagree that you have to be wholly and only attracted to your own sex in a sexual way to be considered heterosexual. That is just to narrow of a definition and would exlcude many so called straight women that I know.

  80. Jayhawk said: “If the Ex-Gay movement didn’t have its hands so deeply rooted in politics, I’m sure there would be MUCH less opposition to it.” I agree! I know for sure that I would have less opposition to it if they stuck to ministry — which was EXODUS’s original and ONLY mission.

    Two other changes might actually prompt me to make referrals to such programs: (1) that they drop the “ex-gay” newspeak, be honest and straightforward about what they mean by “change” — and just tell their stories and (2) that they drop association with NARTH — so long as NARTH continues to allign itself with Cameron, Schoenewolf, Berger and the like.

  81. Michael,

    Amen! I think you hit the nail on the head when you said people should live according to their beliefs, as long as they don’t impinge on the rights of others. If the Ex-Gay movement didn’t have its hands so deeply rooted in politics, I’m sure there would be MUCH less opposition to it. Just because you disagree with someone on an issue, doesn’ t mean you should use your views or majority status to prevent others who believe or live differently from having the same rights as you!

    I think that was what you were getting at anyway 🙂


  82. My experience for many years now is that if I change my behavior and begin to carry out healthy activities and find supportive friends much does change in the way I identify myself.

    No one doubts that behavior changes identity.

    If I moved to Japan and immersed myself in the culture, I might begin to consider myself Japanese. And from the perspective of “identity” alone, I would be Japanese.

    Now at what point in my relationship should I be allowed to consider myself heterosexual.

    You can consider yourself heterosexual when you become so – ie. when you are sexually attracted solely to the opposite sex. We have to use the definitions as they are and that’s what that word means.

    In the meanwhile, why don’t you focus on being you rather than being a heterosexual. I think you’ll be happier if you just say, “hey it’s me, anon2, who finds himself more sexually attracted to guys than he’d like to be but is just going to be fine with that fact because he’s pursuing a life that he wants and maybe it’ll change and maybe it won’t – but I’m fine with the way I am right now”.

  83. ANON2 –

    Don’t forget, many gay men have been married. I have a good friend who is bisexual who is married and has children. He would never claim that he isn’t bisexual just because he lives what some might call a “straight” life.

    I hesitate to use this example, but alcoholics who never abuse alcohol for the rest of their lives, never, EVER ca;; themselves ex-alcoholics, even if they don’t feel the urge to drink anymore. The reason for this: they know they have primarily changed their behavior, which I’m sure has helped them changed desire to some degree, but they know they will always be alcoholics. It seems to be the same for most ex-gay people I’ve spoken with – as well as many Ex-Ex gay people.

  84. Anon2: I am with you on this. I would also have a BIG problem with any therapist who categorically told a client that “NO change is possible”. It may even be possible for a person who was exclusively attracted to men to lose this attraction and become exclusively attracted to women. I just haven’t met such a person. I would really like to talk with such a person and find out how this happened.

    I believe that sexuality and sexual orientation may be somewhat fluid, more flexible than some would like to believe — especially for those who are already bisexual to some extent. I also believe that sexual orientation tends to be VERY consistent over a lifetime — especially for those who are not already bisexual to some extent.

    By the way, if you and your wife are happy, I say forget about those busybodies who “ask why she would stay with me”. What business is it of theirs? I stayed with my wife becasue I love her. I still do. I just realized that she deserved a fully heterosexual man. She was remarried recently and now, she does.

  85. Michael,

    I also have a problem with the idea that no change is possible. My experience for many years now is that if I change my behavior and begin to carry out healthy activities and find supportive friends much does change in the way I identify myself. I think this has more to do with who I hang around with than whether or not change is possible. How far can this change go, I do not know, but the fact that it does occur gives me much hope. By the way I use to think I was “gay”, but marriage and a family may indicate that I was more bisexual. Now at what point in my relationship should I be allowed to consider myself heterosexual. You know what, it does not really matter because that is not for anyone else to decide for me and I wish there was more support for my wife so that she could find encouragement as well, rather than be ask why she would stay with me. After all everyone “knows” by now that change is not a possibility or at least that is what we have been led to believe even though there is much scientific evidence to show that the brain is quite maluable even in older age if it is taken care of properly.

  86. Mary,

    And let’s not forget – groups like Exodus International – the mothership for exgay groups – uses their influence, not just to help people change, but to undermine gay people’s search for equal rights. The Ex-gay movement is as much a political tool of the radical right as it is a therapeutic tool

  87. Mary,

    The VAST majority of people who are uncomfortable with their sexuality are conservative Christians. The Ex-Gay movement is funded and spearheaded by extremely conservative Christians. I don’t doubt there are a few others who are not – but lets be honest, I don’t know of any gay person that, when they realized what they were, were just happy with their orientation, but that just meant that attitudes had to change. That doesn’t mean that someone should try to change something about themselves just because they are initially unhappy with it.

  88. Warren –

    Something else Michael said reminded me of another question: Just because a client has a particular belief doesn’t mean that that belief is good or healthy – we already draw lines on beliefs that are unhealthy so why can’t we say that a person’s particular religious belief might ultimately be unhealthy for him.

  89. Warren,

    Does that work the same way for heterosexuals? Are there heterosexuals out there who because of certain life experiences might actually be predominately gay and can find a happier life by experiencing a change in their sexual desires?

    I’m assuming this is true if sexuality is as malleable as you say?

    My other question would be, how do you decide if the person is seeking change for the wrong reasons? Are there any wrong reasons to seek change and if so how would you identify them and redirect the client?

  90. Michael,

    Just so you know, (and you know I can’t name names) but my therapist has been very helpful in helping me understand my sexuality in different terms. Though, I believe my change occurred long before entering therapy – I did have some challenges that no longer met my value/faith system and then entered therapy. She has helped me define my theology and sexuality in a more concise manner that has taken me much farther along the spectrum than I thought would ever happen. And I think people who go through a change such as mine, (and I am speaking in very general terms here) put more of an emphasis on relationship than sex (though sex is a component of intimate relationships) Also, keep in mind, this is from a woman’s perspective. (Just sort of thinking out loud here)

  91. Mary: I thought I had explained it, but I apologize for the confusion. Celibacy IS a legitimate life choice. I believe that healthy sexuality (in the broader sense of that term) is an important aspect of healthy personality — whether a client chooses to actually have sex, remain celibate — or not.

    I have NO PROBLEM with people opting to remain celibate for life. I just don’t know how to help a client achieve it. It is not an area of esxpertise for me. There may be therapists out there who are skilled in this area, but I am not one of them. I was trained that I should not give therapy beyond the limits of my education and expertise.

    I do consider myself a “client centered therapist” — but there are some clients who have goals that I am NOT equipped to help them achieve. I would be hurting them if I pretended that I did. The “questionable therapy” I was referring to was not counseling to support celibacy — but those who claim to be able to change sexual orientation from gay to straight.

  92. Anon2: You have my support for your journey. Like you, I would also have an “issue with those who INSIST that if I have any level of same-sex attraction then I MUST ACCEPT that I am “gay”. It’s not a therapist’s job to “insist” that clients “accept” ANY label or lifestyle! I believe that is unethical. I am gay-affirming, but I strongly agree with Dr. Throckmorton — that people have the right and the responsibility to live in accorance with their own beliefs — as long as these don’t violate the rights of others. I express my opinion in public, but in private sesssion with a client, the focus is on helping them make healthy life choices, not promoting my personal “agenda”. I don’t consider that “therapy”.

    So, certainly use whatever lable you feel most comfortable with. My only request is that people who refer to themselves as “ex-gay”, “formerly gay identified” or “former homosexual” please EXPLAIN CLEARLY what you mean by this. Otherwise, left unexplained, it gives the appearance of lying — trying to disguise the unpleasant truth that (regardless of what other positive life changes one has made) one has NOT become “heterosexual” in the common sense of that term.

    I use “gay” only as a synonym for people like me who have exclusive (or nearly exclusive) same-sex attractions — that’s all. I don’t mean it as label of affirmation or acceptance. I know that some people use it that way, but to me, it’s just the opposite of heterosexual. I believe it would help the debate a LOT if those who have “changed” dropped the labels altogether and simply told their stories. Explain it to us. What changed? How?

  93. Michael,

    I acknowledge what you are asking for and do not expect you will find it when the scientific community is fixed on trying to prove there is a gay gene that is causing this.

    My issue is with those who insist that if I have any level of same-sex attraction then I must accept that I am “gay”, and if I don’t admit this then I are lying. I am sorry to say there are some who do this and I find this to be extremely damaging. I can admit that I have some level attraction, but that is not my total being. This is not an all or none issue and as soon as I can see that this is no longer the attitude that seems to draw liberal media attention I will be content to simply live my life the way I choose to live it and not expect to be judged by someone who chooses differently. That to me seems to be all you are asking for, so I would appreciate the same. If I feel there are reasons other than my genetic makeup that have resulted in me feeling attractions to other men then I must be given the freedom to explore this and I would hope that others who wish to research this avenue would also be provided with the resources to do so with out fear of ridicule or condemnation. This does happen and I think it is a tremendous deterent for getting the kind of research you claim you would like to see. There are many more people being effected by this debate that has now continued for some 25-30 years than just those who are 100% gay. In fact I suspect there are far more who are less than 100% same-sex attracted that are even more effected and have been silenced by the rhetoric that has been going on at either extreme.

  94. Anon2: The “good scientific evidence” I am asking for (and which no one to date has been able to provide) is OUTCOME data — not research on possible “causes”.

    I have no doubt that there are people out there (to use your words) that “are able to change their orientation TO SOME DEGREE or live celibate lives or live lives that are more rewarding and positive.” I am sure that happens. No debate here.

    I have no doubt that some people who are ALREADY bisexual to some degree can become even “straigher” bisexuals — Joe Dallas of EXODUS comes to mind. I have no doubt that there are some gays out there who have developed SOME sstraight attractions or behaviors — even though they remain predominately homosexual in orientation.

    I have no doubt that some develop a non-gay “identity” — even though no one seems able to define what that means. I have no doubt that some resolve sexual addictions or make major lifestyle changes. I have no doubt that there are people who are happliy celibate (I have met a few) — or are now living happier, more rewarding l lives — I have met MANY. That’s not what I am asking for.

    I am asking for a good outcome study, based on sound scientific methods (not anecdotes) that gives verifiable, convincing evidence that men like me (100% gay) can change to 100% straight. That, I submit, does not exist. If it does, where is it?

  95. As opposed to individuals that have worked with people for decades and have found that there are people that are able to change their orientation to some degree or live celibate lives and live lives that are rewarding and positive. But of course we know that would be unacceptable to report this to the case, because some of these people cannot claim a 100% conversion from same-sex to opposite sex attraction.

    You are, I think, talking about three things: changing orientation, living celibately, living a rewarding life.

    I think no one reports on celibacy because it isn’t news. We all know of folks who live celibately. Those of us who are church folk probably know several – whether hetero-, homo-, or asexual.

    As for living a rewarding life by choosing to live heterosexually, I’ve seen several articles recently about same-sex attracted persons making that choice – usually Mormons. I don’t know anyone who faults them – they aren’t being deceptive with themselves or their spouses. And while I think there is potential for long-term pain, everyone went in with their eyes open and aware of the possibilities.

    But you are right that the media is skeptical of claims of reorientation. And I think part of that is because such claims almost never stand alone. There is almost always a “therefore”. I changed my orientation therefore pass this law or amendment or policy. Or I changed my orientation therefore you should come to my seminar or join my program or adhere to my brand of faith.

    And because they are presented as evidence for a political or evangelical effort, the media is rightly skeptical. It’s their job. You don’t take political claims or religious salesmen (sorry for the term) claims at face value.

    That is where the ex-gay leaders have done themselves a disservice. If they didn’t have something to sell (either politics or religion), then they would be more easily believed.

  96. Michael,

    I still don’t understand – you say you don’t know how to be a therapist to someone who swears off sex forever. And you say you don’t think it would be wise. And you say that it is your opinion that sex is an imprtant part of a healthy personality. But then you celibacy is okay? This is confusing me. Can you clarify?

    So you do not have training in that area. And you say you would not refer a client to a questionable treatment. But where would you refer them to a treatment in keeping with their values?? Where?

    Well, why not refer them to a client centered therapist?

  97. Michael,

    I specifically stated that he was not an alcoholic. He did not drink excessively.

    Let’s try this. A woman comes in and she has been raped. She is pregnant and within the first trimester. She wants to have an abortion but is is against her religious view but she really really wants an abortion – what do you tell her.

  98. Michael,

    I do believe my view of what is good science and yours are quite different, unless you are referring to the way the media reports of possible scientific research that may or may not show any conclusive evidence that someone is possibly born with homosexuality and may or may not have had any other external conditions influencing why they may have come to see themselves as homosexuality.

    There seems to be an awful lot of possible maybes in what I have read over the years that lead me to seriously question what is being found through this so called scientific research that of course is “totally unbiased one way or the other”. Many of these researcher claim their interest in this issue is simply out of curiousity. As opposed to individuals that have worked with people for decades and have found that there are people that are able to change their orientation to some degree or live celibate lives and live lives that are rewarding and positive. But of course we know that would be unacceptable to report this to the case, because some of these people cannot claim a 100% conversion from same-sex to opposite sex attraction. I am not a firm believer is perfectionism, but I do believe in process.

  99. Mary: I think you really misunderstood me. Now you seem to be putting words into MY mouth. I did not say that I would help a person achieve celibacy. I said that I don’t know how to help a person achieve lifetime celibacy. I said, only, that I would respect their CHOICE. EVERY client has the right and responsibility to live in accordance with their beliefs. PERIOD.

    I did NOT say that I thought CELIBACY was “nearly impossible and could cause harm.” I said that I felt a strong professional and ethical responsibility to tell the truth: that changing one’s basic sexual ORIENTATION was not supported by any good science and that such attempts COULD caused harm. This is the official APA stance on the matter. Check with Warren if you think I am wrong here.

    You asked: “Let’s suppose I come in and present with an issue. I drink alcohol but not excessively. I want to stop because I don’t think it is good for me. What do you do?” Answer: I am trained and certified in this area. I am employed full-time at a local recovery center — helping persons become sober. I provide individual and group therapy, education and referrals to groups like AA, Rational Recovery, etc. I do not try to convince them they are wrong about wanting to be sober or that should keep on drinking. Alcoholism is a well-defined illness with specific symptoms and proven courses of treatment Homosexuality is not.

  100. Well, there are horror stories of therapists on both sides of the ideological spectrum pushing values and beliefs. My experience with colleagues is that they have no real guidance for clients who accept that they are same-sex attracted but refuse to come out as gay due to moral reasons. Witness the recent ACA article regarding sexual identity and religious conflicts. The conflict was mentioned but no examples were given of people who resolved their issues in favor of conservative religion. Therapists are not given any pictures of how to respect conservative religion and still deal with homosexual orientation in a realistic manner. I hope that changes soon…

  101. If a person does not like being gay a therapist can ….?

    Make them like it. Help them accept it. Find ways to make gay life and sex more fulfilling?

    Why can’t a person ask for help in finding a fulfilling life without being actively gay?

    C’mon, Mary, you know better that this.

    It is unfair to equate self-acceptance with gay sex. I am quite certain that even Dr. Throckmorton would go along the “help them accept it” route at least as far as saying that one has to accept facts about attractions as they currently are, regardless of identity, values, or hope for change. Though I’m not a therapist, even I know that the basis of mental health is accepting what is, trying to remove shame for what is not of one’s doing, and moving on from there.

    As Michael mentioned above, I seriously doubt there is a therapist in practice who tells their clients that they must go out and have gay sex or sex of any kind. From what little I know, they dispell the myths about homosexuality – ya know, the ones that Exodus lists on their websites (well, until recently) about the evils of the homosexual lifestyle.

    Probably the only area of dispute is the idea that there is “nothing wrong with homosexuality” and “you should accept your orientation”.

    You may not like that this is their position, but let’s not accuse them of pushing their pateints into sex.

  102. Michael,

    The truth be known many cannot accept what you are convinced of. You are basing your phylosophy on as much “faith” as you are condemning the Christian-right is doing. Sorry your approach is very disturbing to me.

  103. Gay and happy do co-exist. There are numerous examples in people’s lives. And there are people who cannot be gay and happy because of their religious/faith system.

  104. Let’s suppose I come in and present with an issue. I drink alcohol but not excessively. I want to stop because I don’t think it is good for me. What do you do?

  105. Michael,

    On one hand you say sex is an important part of a healthy personality. Then you say that you would help a client be celibate if they so chose. But you say that is nearly impossible and could cause harm. So, if a client does not want to be actively gay and swear off gay sex without trying to change re-orientation. Are you not leading that client down your belief path? I am having trouble following what you say you would do, what you do, and what you say is impossible and what YOU say is healthy as oppossed to what the client wants. Can you clarify. Thanks.

  106. Mary: In repsonse to your question: “Why can’t a person ask for help in finding a fulfilling life without being actively gay?”

    For the record, I NEVER tell a client that that they MUST be “actively gay to have a fulfilling life” — and I don’t know any therapists who do. I would have real problem with any therapist who pushed this sort agenda. If a client doesn’t want to have gay sex, I respect that. If they want to alter their sexual behavior, be celibate or refrain from a certain type of sexual activity, that is certainly their right.

    I DO tell clients that (1) homosexuality is not an illness, (2) that there currently is no convincing scientific evidence that sexual re-orientation is possible and (3) that such attempts may actually do harm. I see this as my professional duty — to tell the truth and give informed consent. That’s what my license and my conscience require. What I challenge is the irrational belief that gay and happy cannot co-exist.

  107. I have no problem with the idea that a client (gay or straight) might choose to be celibate for personal or religious reasons. However, I have absolutely no training on how to help a client swear off sex for life. I would have no idea where to start. In general, I don’t think it’s a wise idea — since I view sex as an important aspect of a healthty personality. I would have to refer this client elsewhere — but where?

    Honestly, in 30 plus years, I have never had a client express such a wish for a lifetime. I have helped clients who have chosen to remain celibate for a season — to deal with other more important issues. For example, I recenlty had a client who was sexually compulsive and HIV+ — who wanted to focus on getting his T-cellws up and chose to be celibate until he got healthier. This man had intitally refused all HIV medication because he believed that AIDS was God’s punishment… I challenged this irrational belief even though the client believed it strongly. Was this wrong?

    I would not and do not refer clients to “options not in keeping with their core beliefs”. What would be the point of that? But I also would not and do not refer clients to questionable treatments. I believe it is partly my job to be an educator about what has and has not been proven to be effective or harmful. The way I see it, that’s my professiona duty.

  108. Jayhawk — For me, the issue is respect for religious and viewpoint diversity. Counselors who engage clients to alter sexual feelings and/or religious beliefs run a great risk of imposing themselves on their clients. Clients who request help with either affirmation of sexuality or religious belief should expect sensitive responses from therapists without efforts to alter either.

    In addition, what this debate often misses are those situations where sexuality is indeed flexible due to characteristics of the client or their history. Like Nick Cummings, I have seen people, both friends and clients, who have experienced big changes in their sexual desires via a resolution of some issue in their lives. I have seen others who have resolved big issues with no change. There is immense variability in sexuality and I for one do not want to foreclose options for clients.

  109. If a person does not like being gay a therapist can ….?

    Make them like it. Help them accept it. Find ways to make gay life and sex more fulfilling?

    Why can’t a person ask for help in finding a fulfilling life without being actively gay?

  110. Jayhawk — I don’t know if there are any criteria for being in the FCPA but my impresion is that they are conservative.

  111. Or the client might opt for a celibate life…

    People consult therapists for all sorts of things they used to see the priest about. Therapists who direct clients to options not in keeping with their core beliefs are often judged as being ineffective. At least that is what my preliminary research suggests — it makes lots of sense to me that I am not going to stay long with a counselor who steers me away from my beliefs.

  112. It just seems to me that helping people live in accordance with their religious beliefs is primarily the job of the church, not psychiatry.

    For those who wish to “change” for religious or non-religious reasons, I submit that it is possible (and probably more prodcutive) to resolve all (or at least most) of the trouble without even trying to change orientation. For example, if one is sexually compulsive, a therapist can help resolve the anxiety and pain that fuel the compulsion. If the person wants to change because they are burned out on the “gay life-sytle” — a therapist can help the patient find more fulfilling activites.

    If they are lonely, isolated or rejected by family, the therapist can help the client grieve losses and build a network of support. If there has been childhood abuse or molest, a therapist can help the client rid themselves of the “toxic shame’ and live beyond their painful past. If they are addicted to drugs or alcohol, the therapist can mentor them into recovery.

    Effective therapies for all of these issues are well-established. Why should any therapist feel obliged(simply because the client wishes it were possible) to try to change the client’s sexual orientation — when the real issues can be resolved without going down such a questionable, potentially harmful and unproven path?

  113. Not all people who feel uncomfortable with their sexuality are conservative christians. And your argument that people will find a way to do something regardless of the mainstream opinion seems to smack with the same predjudice and discrimination of the white folks back in the south. You know those people who said that blacks can get to their own schools and if they really want an education they’ll find a way. And if they really wanted to work to get out of poverty they would work harder. Or the idea that gay folks don’t need equal rights because they’ll find a way to get the same thing regardless of mainstream opinions. Just a thought?? You know, stick with your own kind of mentality.

  114. I’m not sure I understand the big deal with these resolutions. People who are so conservative that they feel the need to change their orientation almost always seem to find a way to do that, regardless of the position of the mainstream organization. So what is the real issue here?

  115. What sort of Christian Physician’s Assistants are they? Fundamentalist, Liberal, Moderate????????????

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