PFOX says, "Me too!"

New readers of my blog might wonder why politics isn’t in the tag line of my blog. Prior to the last couple of months, I focused on the issues of life, sexuality and mental health. And I will continue to do that, although I have taken a bit of a detour into the political. At heart, as a personal blog, this forum reflects my interests and preoccupations which right now is the presidential race and related issues. I plan a post or two on the non-political this week along with my series on Obama’s housing record.
I think I will start now…
I am late to this party but Parents and Friends of Ex-gays and Gays (PFOX) recently sued the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights asking for special protection for ex-gays. From the news release:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) is suing the Washington DC Office of Human Rights for failing to protect former homosexuals under its sexual orientation anti-discrimination law. “The ex-gay community is the most bullied and maligned group in America, yet they are not protected by sexual orientation non-discrimination laws,” said Regina Griggs, PFOX executive director.
The DC Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on “sexual preference,” “sexual orientation,” “gender identity,” and “gender expression.” The Office of Human Rights maintains that homosexuals, bisexuals, transgenders, and cross-dressers qualify for protection under this Act, but ex-gays do not. PFOX’s lawsuit asks the DC Superior Court to direct the Office to include former homosexuals under the sexual orientation law. “Shouldn’t ex-gays enjoy the same legal protections that gays enjoy?” asked Griggs.

The action appears to me to be primarily about publicity using Obama as the hook (read the whole news release – can’t get away from it). As the news release notes, Washington DC prohibits discrimination based on “sexual preference” and “sexual orientation.” So ex-gays, even if not considered a special suspect class, would be covered because of their sexual preference. If someone really was dismissed from a job after disclosing ex-gay beliefs, the statute might also be applied due to belief/religious discrimination.
Having been involved with this group in years past, I can tell you that, in my opinion, this is an effort to use the language of civil rights to gain publicity.

87 thoughts on “PFOX says, "Me too!"”

  1. A person may question what another means by ex gay – if it is unclear to him/her. Though to swath a whole group with one definition from one’s own experience or imagination or bias is ……
    Especially after is has been made clear that those ex gay people define it clearly.
    I dunno … what do you call it… Hmmmm?

  2. If a major premise has been refuted and its speaker doesn’t hear it, is it no less a line of bull? There may be a number of reasons why Jayhuck hasn’t responded to the posts by Evan, Ann and Mary; it’s possible he’s not subscribed to this post…thinks they are from me…is distracted by the post election commentaries…
    I can live with that.
    But I’m also resolute that we will not take this same detour again. I encourage the three of you to mark this thread. It’s easily found by typing either “PFOX” or “me too” in the search box. If he tries to pass this opinion off as fact again, simply and firmly refer him back to this thread, reminding him (and other readers) that his premise has been refuted. If he wishes to discuss the validity of the refutation or to present actual facts that support his opinion, please be willing to listen. But I see no reason why we should have to go through all of this again simply because he’s not acknowledging the discussion. I also see no reason why that new topic, whatever it may be, should suffer from the lengthy detour that would likely ensue.
    I realize, of course, that there are other issues beyond square one; I’m not speaking to those. But I do believe that we can say that square one (after what seems like years of discussion) has been achieved. He may not agree with that; I suspect that he won’t. That’s okay. He’ll simply need to speak it as a personal opinion (not necessarily shared by the whole world) that isn’t shared by a number of bloggers and that he hasn’t been able to support. He’ll need to be wary of using this opinion as a launching point for any other opinion or observation.
    Let’s try very hard to avoid personal attacks. It’s one thing to confront the validity of a person’s words; it’s entirely another to presume their motives for saying those words. May God grant us the wisdom and grace to know the difference.

  3. Evan,
    Yeah, afterwords I was thinking, perhaps youmeant something different. What a social klutz on my part. I apologize for not giving more consideration before responding. I get ya’ now.
    In fact, referring to someone as say the n word, or the f word, or gay when they do not identify as such – is sort of like an ad hominom attack. A person KNOWS this when they are continued to be referred to by others as something with which they do not identify.
    But if a man wants to insist he is something (probably because he secretly desires to act on his interests) then he may call himself whatever word he chooses. To insist that others are like him in this manner , is socially crude- as in unrefined, lacking skill, poor discrimination in lauguage arts and language skills, a bore – see as a noun definition here: Unabridged (v 1.1) – Cite This Source – Share This
    bore2? ?/b?r, bo?r/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [bawr, bohr] Show IPA Pronunciation
    verb, bored, bor?ing, noun
    –verb (used with object) 1. to weary by dullness, tedious repetition, unwelcome attentions, etc.: The long speech bored me.
    –noun 2. a dull, tiresome, or uncongenial person.
    3. a cause of ennui or petty annoyance: repetitious tasks that are a bore to do.
    1760–70; of uncert. orig
    And uncongenial here for those who do not know the word.
    This describes the person who insists that others are like him. After all that resourcing and research for the word and origin of gay, the world definitions for gay and such….
    And he still thinks he is the definitive descriptor of ex gay people.

  4. Mary,
    I used that homophobia-homosexual arousal argument in my reply to Jayhuck to remind him what happens when someone feels they don’t have any control on their own sexuality when it doesn’t fit their identity. It leads to anger and sometimes aggressiveness. In this case, of gays vs. ex-gays, If someone defines your sexual identity based on their own sexuality and what they feel they “really are” (gay, lesbian), they are leaving you without any control over how you should be seen by others. They say, like Jayhuck, ex-gays are really gays. This can be more serious than the case of homophobic straight identified people, because in that experiment they still had the power to identify and be recognised as straight. This is a step further than that, someone else hijacks your identity based on theirs.
    What Jayhuck refuses to admit is that “gay” was not a statement of fact — someone is born a homosexual and is exclusively or primarily attracted to his/her own sex in an unchangeable and stable way — when it first got into widespread usage. It was what Eddy argued here, a label that signaled how someone is disposed to act sexually with other people. Gay was a banner which helped same-sex acting people to identify with their sexuality, whether or not they were only attracted to their own sex. Some of them may have been attracted to the opposite sex too, but identified as gay for whatever reason they had. I think most people have a certain range of sexual feelings and they can choose to some degree how they act and identify.
    I know one guy who is still a virgin and who says that he is not attracted to women. Well, I have to admit I did the stupid thing and told him: Why not try have sex with a nice smaller female you can feel ok with? 🙂 He refused but he doesn’t identify as gay either. Calling him gay would be really intrusive and wouldn’t do justice to what the guy is about. You might call him a saint, actually.
    I also know another guy who is married, has two kids and has great sex with his wife, but he also admits he is SSA-ed. How should he be called? Gay, bisexual, gay discordant for his orientation, spousosexual? He identifies as straight, he acts straight and he seems to be ok with that.

  5. Mary,
    I totally agree with you. I was referring to people who hate gays because they actually hate their own same-sex attractions and arousal. It could be the case with some ex-gays, I’m sure not with all of them. You stated your case very clearly on this blog: you once identified as part of that world, you moved away from it and do not hold people who identify as gay any grudge for that. You want to be recognised as someone who is no longer part of gay sexuality and culture. I think your claim is legitimate.

  6. Still waiting for Jayhuck’s concession speech. His definition has been disputed and thoroughly refuted.

  7. Evan,
    It is not repressed homosexual arousal that arouses my anger.
    It is disrespect.
    Definitions of gay and here
    Where once I identified as a lesbian, lived as one, socialized as one, believed as one, thought as one did, etc…. I am no longer of that social or cutural genre.
    To say that gay is just a word to describe same sex attraction is so far off base that it is not even plausible (sp?)
    There are ex gay people in the world who do not define themselves by sexuality. We have been there – done that and are different creatures than what we used to be.
    By some people’s arguments – I have proven – that their interpretation of gay, and what the world means by gay are not what that person “believes” .
    It is not a secret that the person who is imposing his gay terminology is really the repressed man who desires to embrace his sexuality. Those who are ex gay have no desire to be like him and do not identify with his brand of gay.

  8. If you rattle the cage of exgays by denying their right not to be identified as gay you will get more anger and aggressiveness from them, which is likely to be directed by association against what gay identity stands for too, whatever that means in behaviour and identity.

    It is such a simple and fair concept yet one that continues to cause contention because of the unwillingness to understand that someone actually has the right to identify themselves in a way that is different from how others want to identify them. It is self defeating but few are seeing that reality.

  9. Eddy,
    Yes, I agree. Also, anyone who chooses to identify themselves as ex-gay has the right to do so, with or without explanation to anyone else. After awhile we have to look at the motivation of the person who chooses to impose their will on another by insisting they identify themselves a certain way, whether it is contrary to how the person isliving or sees themselves now. Life and hearts and minds and thoughts and circumstances change – that is reality and we cannot compromise how we think of ourselves or how we identify ourselves just to accommodare someone else who doesn’t agree with us. I have heard far too many contradictions to believe it is anything other than selfish motivations.

  10. Ann–
    Good to hear from you. Clear and insightful…I appreciate that.
    I’m thinking that this entire detour started up in posts 136696 and 136959 (mine) and then Jayhuck’s response to me “It really depends on what you mean by the term gay” in post 137360. LOL. I was thinking that I had modified and qualified my posterior off whenever it was necessary (not to mention that I’ve been blogging here for a long. long time) and still I get the corrective ‘it really depends’ from Jayhuck. The insinuation that I don’t get it that there’s another definition out there is outrageous; I’ve known that for 30 plus years!
    It’s about labels, identity and tolerance all at the same time. I no longer wish to tolerate Jayhuck’s intolerance. I will fight for the right and the freedom to use the terms gay and ex-gay, modified as always in my witty wordy way, without having someone undercut and devalue them by saying ‘well, it all depends on what you mean when you say…’

  11. It appears a majority of the world uses the word gay to mean homosexual
    IMHO, here lies the problem – we can keep say what these terms/labels mean, however, each person will have their own perception of them. Rarely will any of us be on the same page, let alone reading the same book. If I tell Aunt Betty that my friends David and Mike are gay, her first thought are that they are effeminate and talk with lisps. Neither are true. While we think we know each other from this blog, it is only our perceptions that we know. Just look at how many times I have been mis-judged by others on this blog where they have made assumptions based on personal perception rather than fact. Just think about all the labels, terms, and sarcasm that has been leveled against me when NONE of it was true. I know many here like to use the term “Christian” and identity themselves as such. Well, all you have to do is look at what they write and say and it is very different from my interpretation of the term/label “Christian”. I am sure the Pope has his own perception and so does Jimmy Swaggert. I still suggest that we talk about and describe others in WHOLE sentences or better yet paragraphs rather than a label which leaves open a different perception of that person for everyone – many times having nothing to do with the whole truth.
    If you think I am an idealist, perhaps I am but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am also a critical thinker – I like substance and it tempers what I say and do. These are labels and can only describe to others what their perceptions allow them to believe, which can vary about as much as the person’s own individuality.

  12. Jayhuck wrote:
    ‘What does, “more rejection of what the gay world stands for” mean?’
    If you rattle the cage of exgays by denying their right not to be identified as gay you will get more anger and aggressiveness from them, which is likely to be directed by association against what gay identity stands for too, whatever that means in behaviour and identity. Remember the studies that showed homophobia is associated with anger over one’s homosexual arousal and aggressiveness directed against other openly identified gays?

  13. Jayhuck wrote:
    ‘The same spirit of this statement holds true for people who identify as Straight ‘
    Was there straight identity before the gay one?
    ‘What identity is this that I am supposedly imposing on others? What does, “more rejection of what the gay world stands for” mean?’
    You are implying that exgays are actually gay, even if gay identity means something more than just what same-sex orientation means in scientific talk. It doesn’t really do justice to sexual reality. And neither to science. Scientists ask in their surveys about attractions, behaviour and identity. Someone can be primarily same-sex attracted, only have sex with other-sex people or spouse and choose to identify as straight, bisexual, questioning or not identify at all with labels. Gay is not a scientific term, it doesn’t send the right message to say that someone is gay because they are primarily same-sex attracted and they told you that or you think you spotted it. Other people will understand that that person is gay identified and has same-sex partners too. It’s the same with the expression ‘closeted gay’, which means that it’s well-known someone is acting gay but they don’t want to admit it. You couldn’t call Mel Gibson closeted gay because you think he may be primarily same-sex attracted.

  14. Mary–
    I’d like to suggest that you also come to the realization that I have: real and successful dialogue with Jayhuck is not possible.
    You might get a chuckle out of reading the entire definition of ‘gay’ he used to defend his position; it actually negates it. 1) The definitions make it clear that the primary definitions of ‘gay’ are not even homosexual in any context. 2) The definitions make it clear that although the words are, for the most part, synonymous, there is a distinction in usage between ‘gay’ and ‘homosexual’ although Jayhuck seems to be implying that they are totally synonymous. 3) And when the definition finally got around to ‘homosexual’…the primary definition involved sexual activity between two persons of the same gender; the secondary definition went to attractions. (Not to be smug but my definition is number one; his is number two. LOL! I think he told you to read the whole thing before he himself read it carefully.)
    A discussion with Jayhuck on this issue is not a discussion of anything factual; it’s all about his perception and his experience. Consider the fact his linear logic tour that he offered you this morning opened with “It appears a majority of the world uses the word gay to mean homosexual.”
    He left out his pet thought: “and we all know that homosexual means attracted to the same gender”.
    LOL! it appears (well there’s a word to hide behind) a majority of the world (wow! not just America but all of those other countries as well) use the word gay to mean homosexual. (can’t fault him on that part, it is a very popular euphemistic word for homosexual). But then he stops. He doesn’t define ‘homosexual’. I suspect that it is because he is deferring to the ‘scientific psychological’ definition–and then, he wants you to accept that that definition is the one most widely subscribed to. He’s got no basis whatsoever for that conclusion.
    Even if he did, until the definition that does involve ‘doing it’ gets the word ‘archaic’ in italics beside it, it stands as valid for common usage. (You don’t correct a person who uses a word differently than you do if their usage is also valid; if you respond, you simply speak to your definition and how it fits or doesn’t fit with the logic of what was said.)The user, and from here on out I request that Jayhuck be held to this also, needs to qualify their usage with modifying words or phrases. It’s the way the English language works.
    Please, every time he uses the words ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’ (unless he clarifies), ask him if he’s speaking to attractions, sexual expression or both. Pay no regard to the fact that the answer will likely have no real impact on the validity of his statement, just take him on the detour. After all, we really have no idea whether a new reader might subscribe to his ‘attractions only’ definition or whether they include ‘sexual activity with persons of the same gender’; we wouldn’t want them to be confused, would we?
    By the way, this might actually convince you that the more logical path is to simply refuse to engage in dialogue with him at all. Even when we’ve proved that his premise is flawed, he aggressively defends it with nothing of substance. Whether his follow up points are valid or not is inconsequential; we’ve never gained any ground discussing follow up points that wasn’t eventually undermined, in the end, with ‘but you define it differently.’ Either we square that up or find an area of mutual respect that can accommodate the two definitions…otherwise fruitful discussion will not happen.

  15. The majority of the world also knows what f _ _ means. I guess we are clear. You may call yourself gay but we really know what you are. I mean … we know really what you are, don’t we. You have sex with other men, you have sex with a lot of men, you demand gay rights, your proud of your orientation, and people who don’t see things your way are conservative ignorant bigots. Also, you believe that gay is a biological trait entirely , that has no developmental origin.
    Are we clear – you may not describe yourself in that way but that’s what being gay means to a lot of Americans and people in the world.

  16. Mary,
    If I haven’t been clear enough for you – I’m going to try my best to do it once again – and to make sure my logic is linear 🙂
    These are the main points I was trying to make during this conversation
    1) It appears a majority of the world uses the word gay to mean homosexual. It seems like some, especially those in the ex-gay community, would want to know that so that they could have a less-confusing dialogue with the rest of the world. That’s all – period – end of story. It won’t matter what I think when the rest of the world sees people like Eddy, or any of a number of other ex-gays as gay – regardless of what word he/they use(s) for himself.
    2) I will never prevent someone from having the right to identify as they see fit.
    3) Regardless of my take on point #2, I still reserve the right to take issue with the term ex-gay. That is NOT, the same thing as saying that I want to prevent someone from having the RIGHT to identify as such. But even the author of this blog has taken issue with the term. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t support the groups of people who use it – although I, more often than not, don’t – but that is due to the number of ex-gay organizations that are involved in politics.
    If something else is bothering you or is not clear, please let me know.

  17. Mary,
    And how COULD YOU use a reference that is not Wiki in nature? I’m appalled – LOL 🙂

  18. I’m glad you agree. You and I are done attempting to dialogue. (That is what I was saying. Nothing in your last posts changed the reality of the offense I feel from you in this point that you hammer repeatedly…even when the main participants in the conversation are people who have also experienced the hammering.)

  19. Eddy,
    I’m sorry you feel intolerance in my posts! Whatever we disagree on, though, I don’t now, nor will I EVER disagree with your right to identify as you see fit. That doesn’t, however, mean I can’t take issue with the term itself – one that has proven to be confusing, frustrating, and fraught with multiple and varied meanings. Not to mention the term’s strong association with political groups that work diligently to malign the character of many of my gay friends – of gay people in general. It is very personal Eddy! – Even some Evangelicals do not like, or sometimes even understand, the term.

  20. Jayhuck-
    What I’m trying to tell you is that I’m tired of your disrespect for how I choose to identify myself. I’m tired of your agreeable sounding phrases such as in the last few posts that masque the intolerance that I find so offensive. There will be no successful dialogue between you and I because it’s at the heart of nearly every discussion here related to ‘the topic’. So, you don’t get it both ways. My terms were that you accepted my right to identify myself as I choose and to speak out of that identify. You firmly reiterated your belief in the foolishness of my self-identification. The fact that you remain blind to the significance of that identification is most unfortunate.
    And for the record…I’ve regretted reopening the door to attempt dialogue with you many many times.

  21. Mary,
    I guess I have to back-pedal a little – it depends on how we define the word gay. But you are still free, regardless, to call yourself whatever you like. I will not stand in your way – I promise 🙂
    This conversation is one we have had one too many times – I don’t see us coming to an understanding on this issue now or in the near future, so why don’t we just agree to disagree!

  22. Mary –
    Ugh – I never said you were gay. I’m sorry if I haven’t made myself clear enough. You are free, as always, and I will say this until the cows come home if I have to, to call yourself whatever you want. It is a very free country after all 🙂

  23. I – however – do not want to stop dialoguing with you. Just because we disagree on the use of the term gay, and the necessity of the term ex-gay, doesn’t mean we can’t have a successful dialogue. I know how evangelicals use the word gay and ex-gay – I grew up in an Evangelical church and community.

  24. Jayhuck,
    You and I are not the same. You are gay. I am not. Niether is Eddy. Nor Ann, nor anyone else here who has written on this ad infinitum.
    Stop insisting we are like you.

  25. Jayhuck,
    He did not take what you said out of context. You do not see the need for someone like me to use the word ex gay. I think that says it all in a nutshell.
    And yet, I will continue to use it in such formats. Why? Do you ever wonder why?

  26. Jayhuck–
    …therefore you and I will never have real and successful dialogue.
    I am, however, going to continue to dialogue with those who don’t stumble over my word usage. Since it’s clear that ou and I will never have real and successful dialogue, please understand when I don’t respond to you.

  27. Evan,
    “Long message – in short: don’t impose your identity on others, because you don’t know what works for them, unless they make it very clearly where they stand. You want to be respected, you have to do the same. You want to get on their nerves, continue to spite them and see what comes out of it: more rejection of what the gay world stands for.”
    What identity is this that I am supposedly imposing on others? What does, “more rejection of what the gay world stands for” mean?

  28. Evan,
    I will work to make sure I use whatever words people want to use to describe themselves – THAT should clear everything up – LOL 🙂

  29. This is WHY Eddy there is such a problem with most people when they are trying to understand those that identify as Ex-Gay – People say things like, but they are still primarily attracted to men, so doesn’t that make them gay? I hear this all the time. I’m just trying to avoid the confusion!
    Besides, the term Ex-Gay has so many meanings it – IMHO, seems useless, confusing, frustrating, etc. But obviously there are those who don’t 🙂

  30. Eddy,
    ONCE AGAIN you’ve taken everything I’ve said out of context. I, along with many other people, do not see the need for the existence of the word Ex-Gay – especially when so many, if not most ex-gay people are primarily still attracted to those of the same-sex.
    That being said though – I NEVER said ANYONE had to ascribe to my understanding of the word gay – I said that most of the world ascribes a certain definition to the word gay – and it is synonymous with homosexual. Of course, in certain circles it CAN mean more, but its basic understanding seems to be that one that has to do with primarily being attracted to those of the same sex.
    You ignore its most fundamental meaning it seems to support the use of a different word to describe people who are gay! – LOL I understand WHY, I just don’t agree with it. And you have every right to disagree with me – but that won’t change the way most people understand the essence of the word.

  31. Evan,
    “But attractions are not facts yet, so you never fully know why some men identify as gay (no matter what they say), whether all of them are only attracted to their gender or whether they choose from a gamut of feelings what they think is best for their life, for whatever reason”
    The same spirit of this statement holds true for people who identify as Straight 😉

  32. Jayhuck-
    I don’t think there’s a person on this site that doesn’t realize that gay is close to 100% synonymous with homosexual. What we reject is that you insist that we abide by your definition of homosexual. It does mean what you say…but it’s an inclusive word that also takes in the assumption that gay or homosexual isn’t just about your taste in clothes or art or who catches your eye on the street. Our definition reckons with the obvious, that gay or homosexual–for very, very many people–is about what you do sexually. Gay Pride isn’t just about pride about who or what you’re attracted to; it’s also about who you’ve chosen or are seeking to have sex with. I agree that homosexuals aren’t all about sex but to try to take sex itself totally out of the definition is an effort that will not succeed. It is my sincere hope that you will either retire that soapbox or only bring it out when its pertinent to the discussion.
    I don’t believe I used the term ‘gay’ in any confusing way in the post that led to your first ‘mini-correction’. It didn’t matter to the story I told whether ‘gay’ meant ‘attracted to’ or ‘doing it with’. I even made it clear that my personal issue was that I felt it was a further violation of my personhood for the authorities to subtly pressure me to identify as ‘gay’. I’ve discussed my own ‘ex-gay identity’ ad nauseum on this blog and I’ve said that I still have attractions to men. In effect, I communicated quite clearly what I meant when using either term. You are the only blogger here who stumbles every time one of us uses either term. I strongly suggest you get over it.
    Even if a word is unclear or has multiple meanings depending on who you’re talking to, the common English way to deal with this is to read the context. I’m going to the hardware store to pick up a stud. LOL. How’s that for a big difference in possible meanings? Both ‘pick up’ and ‘stud’ have very diverse meanings depending on their context. With ‘pick up’ the root meanings are essentially the same but the term took on a social/sexual context by way of slang usage. With stud, the social context stems from breeding…not sure where the hardgoods (oops, there’s another one) definition comes from.
    You said:

    One of the reasons I brought up the fact that many, if not most, people use the term gay as synonymous with homosexual, is that, if the rest of the world understands gay to mean that, its important to understand this if you want to have a real and successful dialogue with them.

    if the rest of the blog understands gay to have a broader definition than yours, its important to understand this if you want to have a real and successful dialogue with them. You are after all a visitor to a blogsite sponsored by a man whose theological leanings are evangelical. You repeatedly challenge those you perceive to be evangelical to ascribe to your way of seeing things…your way of using words. If you’re honestly interested in ‘real and successful dialogue’, you’ll stop splitting hairs between the science definition of homosexuality and the social one. Both exist; both are in common usage.
    The word ‘gay’ when it’s used in the circles you travel DOES NOT have the ‘attractions only’ definition that you constantly allude to; it often includes the ‘doing it’ as well. Gay rights–which I’m sure you read about daily– IS about the right to be attracted to whoever you want to; but it’s also about the rights to express those attractions through sexual behaviors. Gay marriage–another hot topic in the blogs and the media–isn’t just about the sanctioning of two lifetime, same-gender roommates; it’s very much about sanctioning the sexually expressive part of their relationship, as well. I don’t hear the proponents of either taking special steps to clarify that, in these cases, gay does include ‘doing it’. Logical people just assume that gay is most often BOTH. You have attractions and you are naturally drawn to desire sexual fulfillment; in short, you have attractions; you’re usually going to act on them. (Wouldn’t this sentence sound silly and redundant? “I need to tell you something; I’m gay and I have sex with men.” We don’t need or expect the second half of the statement because it’s so strongly implied in the first. (The meaning that we most naturally presume when there is no further context IS a ‘common meaning’.)

  33. Jayhuck wrote:

    One of the reasons I brought up the fact that many, if not most, people use the term gay as synonymous with homosexual, is that, if the rest of the world understands gay to mean that, its important to understand this if you want to have a real and successful dialogue with them.
    For me, and for others who might be understood to be ex-gay by some Evangelicals, we choose not to accept what has been and continues to be a confusing and vague term.

    I gather that you refuse identifying with the ex-gay term because, for you, that would mean having changed your attractions to the point of having no sexual feelings for the same gender. Well, both terms stand or fall together. If you lived your subjective experience of attractions as being primarily directed to men, then learned about the term gay used by other people who identified with it, you considered that being gay is a fact and went on to use the term on other people in the same way. But attractions are not facts yet, so you never fully know why some men identify as gay (no matter what they say), whether all of them are only attracted to their gender or whether they choose from a gamut of feelings what they think is best for their life, for whatever reason – including that it’s their primary type of attractions or because of physical preference. Everyone chooses to live what it feels true to them. (A side note: Environment can have a big say in people’s experiences too and how they judge their feelings according to their history of exposure to genders. The experience of a ‘party animal’ is not comparable to that of an isolated individual.)
    But the term “gay” came into being for the general public in a strongly politically charged context. It was a flag that was necessary to be created to bring out into the open a certain part of human sexuality. It was created because the people who fought for it perceived themselves to be a minority that needed to be ackowledged and protected as such for what it believed it really was separated from others. However, the way they identified themselves was not indifferent to the way society presumed your identity. Gay “identity” was a reaction to society’s official “identity”. One created the other, because living in a free society, going through rejection and feeling oppressed for any reason eventually leads to political upheaval. And this is what happened – gay identity was created to counterpoint the official straight identity. For some people, both of them could be viewed as a means to create cognitive consonance and a vehicle of identity that makes social interaction less ambiguous. In this sense, I think both terms are justified, because one needs to have a way to project himself/herself clearly to others: gay or straight. But where we disagree is that this identity used to project oneself is perfectly superimposed on an equally stable and separated reality. We don’t know much about that, if anything.
    I also understand that for some people being ex-gay is a statement just as it was for gays many years ago, when identity was primarily a way to signal to other people what you were disposed to in sexual terms. But the term “gay” is not static, it acquired a new layer of connotation, which is no longer that of being “happily carefree” or having an exclusive same-sex sexuality. The new social reality in which gay-identified people presented themselves in the media as having always been gay since they can remember and all the urban stories that were built around that in people’s gossip, but also the scientific research in the last decades — all these things contributed to a new perception of what gay people are. This new perception is that it’s not a sexual preference, but something that goes deeper into what a person “really is”.
    But science proved unable to give a definite answer until now and I don’t think it’s very likely that it will. In my opinion, science cannot fully clarify social problems in the same terms that people defined them: either born or not, either gay or not. I’m sure we will hear some interesting stuff, but in the end it will be pretty much the same as now: people are not divided by sexual attractions but they have different ranges of feelings (even on an individual level) for different people (and there are more and more people around in a mass society that can test one’s range of attractions). It doesn’t look like there will be an end game for this issue coming from science. We’re just trying to escape responsibility and find some external authority to sort it out for us.
    One note on science and what it can do:
    Here’s the latest news on science and what it can accomplish. I’m going to digress a bit, but the point is significant. Nicolaus Copernicus started the scientific revolution in the 16th century by proving that the earth is not the center of our solar system. It was hailed as the principle of a new way of seeing the world, in which we were not so special after all, etc. It was a major blow to church dogma at that time. A few weeks ago a team of scientists found out some facts that contradict that principle, showing that the earth might actually be in a very special place in the universe. It was a surprise for those who believed that we weren’t. This is what science can do and will continue to do, going back and forth on its own assumptions considered as solid facts.
    So, returning to the subject of gays and ex-gays, we as a society contribute a lot to what people become as adults. It has to do with how we integrate and support people to find their place in the world. Aren’t people surprised that some people are exclusively attracted to the same sex, but they were the ones who rejected them during childhood and adulthood, failing to integrate them in any way? This is what society must come to terms with, because all issues are interrelated somehow and debate is scrambled by facade arguments and well-meaning attitudes that don’t change anything.
    To me, this term, ex-gay, sounds like it could apply to one of these two situations:
    – the person was gay identified, he/she was known for that, chose to move away from that and now identifies as ex-gay, regardless of whether they changed or wanted to change anything;
    – the person was never gay identified, but not having found their place among gay and straight identified people, they chose to respond to the external pressure by declaring themselves something apart from the world of people who act gay and identify with their sexuality.
    It’s a messy situation, created by this clash between facade identities and people’s efforts to be true to themselves. If you say that someone who identifies as ex-gay is actually gay, you’re rattling their cage. You better stop doing that, unless you’re doing it on purpose. What works for you doesn’t necessarily work for someone else. It’s like me saying to you right now, ‘Hey, I bet Miranda Kerr doesn’t go to the same church as you, ’cause she can change your mind.’
    Long message – in short: don’t impose your identity on others, because you don’t know what works for them, unless they make it very clearly where they stand. You want to be respected, you have to do the same. You want to get on their nerves, continue to spite them and see what comes out of it: more rejection of what the gay world stands for.

  34. Jayhuck–
    I believe your comment in 138006 should have been directed to Ann not to me.
    It seems clear that you are going to hold steadfastly to your definition. Good luck with that.
    I don’t even beat horses when they’re alive much less the dead ones.

  35. When I say use the terms among close friends, I am not referring to derogatory remarks about others but am referring to – in many ways the way some will use the n word. Only among close friends of a certain group can use those words. Those of us who KNOW what it is like to be there.

  36. Afterthought:
    We understand the terms faggot and dyke and what they mean. We rarely use them (unless totally among close friends) and defer to the more socially accepted terms of gay and lesbian (as has been the manner requested by that social group) When referring to someone who does not belong to that social group who has same sex attraction – it would be respectful again – to use a term with which they define and identify themselves. Not only does this leave a remark on social history of the changes in society and church but it also moves society forward in defining and undersanding sexuality, mores, morals, traditions, customs etc… Asking that others decline to move forward and decline to make a remark about themselves is like asking them to disappear. Or sort of like social gentrification. We do not ask the where the unamed tribe has gone because we do not know they existed.
    Homogenizing individuals into a narrowly defined category based on a sexual attraction is profoundly displaced and mind numbing. We are more than that.

  37. A succesful dialogue will never occur if we insist they use only our “soul” language, and we are unable to translate the values within their lives so that we may understand others from their own perspective.
    Regardless, a man is not the n word no matter how easily it was undertood in times past. And changing the language of how others views us begins, with those who desire, a desire to see living in a new light. Lest we all fall into cadence with the same ole, same ole for the sake of speaking – and not really communicating.

  38. Evan,
    I absolutely agree with you, no one really can define anyone forcefully. In the end, the only thing that TRULY matters is how you view yourself – and ALL labels (gay, straight, bisexual) can be very limiting – but they also serve a purpose.
    One of the reasons I brought up the fact that many, if not most, people use the term gay as synonymous with homosexual, is that, if the rest of the world understands gay to mean that, its important to understand this if you want to have a real and successful dialogue with them.
    For me, and for others who might be understood to be ex-gay by some Evangelicals, we choose not to accept what IS and continues to be a confusing and vague term.

  39. Xman,
    “jayhawk you are OCD i think”
    That may very well be true 🙂
    When someone asks me if they can set me up with a man, I tell them I am celibate. If they press, I tell them why. Its really pretty simple. 🙂

  40. Yeah, some people believe that if you have any same sex attractions then you are gay – whether or not you refer to yourself that way or identify yourself differently. It sort of like insisting on using the n word to describe someone when they have told you repeatedly that they identify as a human being. When a person chooses to break away form the cultural lexicon in an effort to personally grow and discover a new way of being, others seem get upset and are dumbfounded. As if they cannot fathom how anyone can live outside the currency of the narrow and confined cultural norms!

  41. Now–seriously–no one is going to define anyone else forcefully.
    I wish this were the case but it isn’t.

  42. For example – in my church there are women who have tried to set me up with single girls, and I finally had to come out to them and say I’m sorry but I’m gay. That’s one example. Its another way of saying I’m not attracted to the opposite sex – I’m attracted to the same sex.

    Thanks. What do you say if someone wants to set you up with a single man, knowing that you refer to yourself as gay because you are attracted to the same sex?

  43. I found one too…evidently there’s a big brouhaha about Tyra Banks searching for ex-gay guests for an episode. Lots of screaming, calls to action. Liberals preaching censorship…a new day has dawned.

  44. Has anyone tested the hate crimes bill as a white, straight, man? I’m curious. The gays who post on other sites and can be heard in conversations (when they don’t know you are ex gay) are horrifying. Some are just as hateful, bigotted, and insane as their rural fundamentalist christian counter parts. It is scarey.

  45. this is about the silliest discussion ever…evan has it about right…who cares what you call yourself…are you scientists?
    pfox is ridiculous to think they could force an issue over terms and jayhawk you are OCD i think.

  46. Ann & Eddy
    Don’t listen to Jayhuck, he’s playing a bit with messages.
    I bet deep down he’s straight, but he doesn’t want to admit it, lol.
    Now–seriously–no one is going to define anyone else forcefully. No one owns your identity and how you define yourself. This identity game is getting old already and no one cares. It matters what you want to do with what you can do and be supported in that. Saying that you really are a label is becoming a bit of a joke. Just be what you want and can be. Godspeed.

  47. Ann,
    For example – in my church there are women who have tried to set me up with single girls, and I finally had to come out to them and say I’m sorry but I’m gay. That’s one example. Its another way of saying I’m not attracted to the opposite sex – I’m attracted to the same sex. Does that make sense? I can probably come up with some other examples if you need them 🙂

  48. Um Eddy – If re-read the posts above you will see where I corrected myself and said: “Sorry – I’m fairly certain most ex-gays DON’T use the term….”

  49. simply refer to ourselves as gay, even though we are celibate and choose such a lifestyle for religious reasons.
    What would be a situation or circumstance when you would refer to yourself as gay to anyone? What is the purpose for doing so? What is it that you want the person to understand about you that you would give them this information?

  50. Jayhuck-
    you said:

    It really depends on what you mean by the term gay, I’m fairly certain most ex-gays use it in the same way that most of the rest of the world does

    then you said:

    My experience with Evangelical Ex-gay people is that they use the term to mean one who is ACTIVELY PARTICIPATING in some sort of “gay lifestyle”. It is convenient for them to do this.

    Which is it? Aren’t most ex-gays evangelicals? Do they use it the same way as everybody else as you suggested in the first quote? or do they use it their special ALL CAPS way as you stated in the second? I don’t shift in my usage depending on who I’m with (Evangelical or non)…I use modifying words to do that.
    If most ex-gays aren’t evangelicals, you’re suggesting that many people choose to leave homosexuality-to become ex-gay-for other reasons. I’d love to hear more about them and why we usually say they don’t exist. If we presume that most evangelical ex-gays are likely included in the numbers Exodus might proclaim, are you saying that there are many more religious but non-evangelical ex-gays out there than are rellected in the Exodus numbers?

  51. And when it comes right down to it Eddy, its also the way I see and have seen the word used by journalists, writers and other professionals down through the years. Evangelicals may certainly use the word in any way they like, but that won’t stop probably a vast majority of the rest of the world from using it in a completely different way. I believe, but am not certain, that is why Jay and myself and many other people who would normally be termed ex-gays by some Evangelical standards, simply refer to ourselves as gay, even though we are celibate and choose such a lifestyle for religious reasons.

  52. Eddy,
    Oh, and the very first sentence in what is apparently “my beloved” Wikipedia reads: “In modern English, gay is an adjective (occasionally a noun) that refers primarily[citation needed] to homosexuality.”.

  53. Eddy,
    I’m not now, nor have I ever suggested that ex-gays “abide by the narrow constraints” of MY definition. Its not just the way I use the word Eddy, its the way I’ve seen the word used by all of my gay AND straight friends for the last 20 years. We can certainly disagree on the definition of things, as we often do, but I will tell you that just about everyone I know uses the word gay as a synonym for homosexual. We’ve always, and I’ve always heard the word used to describe someone whether they are celibate, married to someone of the opposite sex, and sometimes, wrongly, in my opinion, even if they are truly bisexual. The history of the usage of the word doesn’t really interest me for the purposes of this discussion 🙂

  54. Jayhuck–
    You say that the primary usage of gay is attraction only and hardly goes to the physicality at all…except when ex-gays use it. That has not been my experience and I’m willing to wager that my scope of associations over the years is far broader than yours.
    When my gay friends notice a guy and ask me ‘do you think he’s gay?”, 99% of the time they want to know if they’ve got a chance at something physical/sexual with the guy. If ‘doing it’ isn’t the primary definition of the word, it’s certainly a very close second.
    I consulted your beloved Wikipedia and found this helpful blurb about the origin of the word ‘gay’.
    The use of gay to mean “homosexual” was in origin merely an extension of the word’s sexualised connotation of “carefree and uninhibited,” which implied a willingness to disregard conventional or respectable sexual mores.
    For these reasons, I don’t believe that ex-gays should be forced to abide by the narrow constraints of your definition. I believe you need to lighten up on your narrow definition and concede that much common usage, other than by ex-gays and religious folk, does go to the physcality/sexuality. Beyond that, the Wikipedia origins might explain precisely why ex-gays take a valid exception to identifying as ‘gay’…they are no longer willing to disregard the conventional….sexual mores.

  55. Eddy,
    From my experience the vast majority of people in this country, and possibly the rest of the western world, equate the word gay with homosexual. The only time I’ve ever heard the word gay was when it was used to describe a man who was primarily attracted to other men – it didn’t matter if that man was married to a woman or if they were celibate. My experience with Evangelical Ex-gay people is that they use the term to mean one who is ACTIVELY PARTICIPATING in some sort of “gay lifestyle”. It is convenient for them to do this.

  56. Warren,
    Better than documenting the unwritten rules of discrimination do the actual research. Pick several recruiting centers in various geogrphical areas and do not present yourself as you but as an interested father looking out for his son. Ask the recruiter what the policy is on young men who are gay but don’t act on it, or were gay but are not anymore.
    I know it is difficult for a straight white man to believe that discrimination occurs. I am certain that a “public statement” may exist. But go and see for yourself what ex gays are up against if they are honest about their lives.

  57. Jayhuck–
    I wrote my post very carefully to avoid any confusion of terms…just what is it that you think ‘really depends on what I mean by the term gay’? Please demonstrate specifically from my post where your modifying statement applies. Show me the ‘It’ that really depends on my meaning (or for that matter, anyone’s meaning) of the term gay. It is my dream to write clearly in the future without the need of being ‘red-pencilled by the teacher’.

  58. Eddy,
    It really depends on what you mean by the term gay, I’m fairly certain most ex-gays use it in the same way that most of the rest of the world does – not that I ever want to go down that road again with anyone here 🙂
    I’m sorry for the attacks though, and I’m glad for what Zoe shared. However you view or identify yourself, if you are attacked because you are perceived to be part of a hated minority group you should absolutely be covered under hate crimes laws.

  59. Zoe-
    Thanks for the info. I wish I had had the time or emotional strength to research that before I went through the ‘interview’ with the police when I reported that incident.

  60. To have it prosecuted as a ‘hate crime’, I would have needed to say I was gay rather than an ex-gay. LOL

    Actually, no. Hate crime laws cover incorrect perceptions too. Other straight people who were victims of assault because they were perceived to be gay are also covered. There have been some rather famous cases of this – such as the guy who was beaten and killed while waiting outside the Ladies’ room, because he was carrying his partner’s handbag for her, and thus (erroneously) seen as “gay” by some sociopathic bigots.
    Several attacks on straight Transsexual women have also been covered by existing hate-crime laws covering sexual orientation (but not gender identity) because their attackers yelled “faggot” rather than just “tranny”.

  61. It occurred to me today that a part of what PFOX might be saying in its apparently inflated statement about ex-gays being the target of more bullying is that ex-gays (since no one really seems to understand who or what they are) wind up being the targets of bullying or harassment for multiple reasons. They might be targeted and victimized by some because they are presumed to be gay AND they might be targeted and victimized by others because they are conservative Christians AND they might be targeted and victimized by still others because it is presumed that they are anti-gay.
    I know that at least one of the muggings I experienced while an ex-gay was because the attacker presumed I was gay. A few more of the muggings (about a dozen in my lifetime) may have been for the same reason but because my attackers didn’t call me any hateful names, I can’t be sure. (It may simply be that my short stature and lack of ‘macho-ness’ made me an inviting target.)
    I only reported two or three of the incidents to the authorities. One was dealt with quickly and efficiently; my drunken attacker (which is the reason I was able to escape without injury) was still walking down the street with his weapon in hand. I identified him from the safety of the back seat of a patrol car and he was apprehended. In the other incidents that I reported, the police attitude seemed to be that I was gay (they didn’t comprehend ex-gay) and that I was ‘hanging out’ in the wrong area at night. (It was a downtown bus stop that was better lit and had more people traffic than any other bus stop I could think of.) Their presumptions, assumptions and pre-judgements only added to the psychological injuries I experienced.
    While beating me and trying to rifle through my clothes for my wallet, the attacker was challenged verbally by a few passersby but he answered ‘go away…this is a ‘domestic’ situation’…implying that I was his. I’ll never forget the sight of the fist that lifted him off me or the words “I don’t care what it is…you don’t treat anyone like this.”
    To tie this back to the main point, though, what do you do when you’re the victim of a hate crime but you aren’t really a part of the group that the attacker hates. The system is difficult and frustrating enough without having to compromise your own identity–your own sense of who you are–to appease those who claim they are trying to champion your cause. (To have it prosecuted as a ‘hate crime’, I would have needed to say I was gay rather than an ex-gay. LOL…’We want the truth…the whole truth…and nothing but the truth…but please, leave out the ex-gay part because that’s a part of your truth we can’t deal with.) Perhaps PFOX is trying to address situations such as that.

  62. For PFOX to denigrate gay people when ex-gay organizations have been at the FOREFRONT of fostering anti-gay sentiment is the most LUDICROUS thing I’ve ever heard in my life. Ex-gay organizations have made it a hobby of fostering gay stereotypes and anti-gay attitudes and then they, ex-gay groups, whine when gay groups and individuals don’t treat them with respect. I’m shocked!!!!!

  63. Oh for pete’s sake – ex-gays don’t endure 1/10th the ridicule that gay people do. Gay people are fired for being gay, gay couples are assaulted on the street physically and verbally, gay people are KILLED for being who they are. Ex-gays, for all their I-want-to-be-a-victim mentality do not endure the same kind or extent of condemnation that gay people do – to suggest otherwise, as PFOX seems to want to, is ridiculous. That said, that doesn’t mean that they don’t suffer some degree of discrimination, but it is nowhere near on par with what other minorities suffer. And the fact that the term Ex-gay can mean so VERY many different things, is something to take into consideration. Ex-gay primarily has to do with religion, NOT science.

  64. As someone who identifies as ‘ex-gay’, I do feel that we are a group that is often maligned and misunderstood but I do think it’s a stretch to say that we are the target of more bullying than any other minority. “Bullying” implies overt and agressive intimidation and/or violence–and, like any minority–we do experience some of that but ‘more than any other minority’ is an overstatement.
    I have to admit to being stumbled by the irony. PFOX is complaining that the protections of the law fall short because they don’t list ‘ex-gays’ among the protected groups. Have you noticed their handle? Their full name is “Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays” but their cutesy handle leaves out the ‘and Gays’ part.

  65. Warren: whose perception of PFOX are you referring to that PFOX thinks “gays …use the discrimination law to establish the vocabulary of sexual orientation.”? Is this your perception? How does that contradict the medical profession’s vocabulary of sexual orientation? Please clarify.
    Please document where PFOX says they believe gays to be dishonest about being a “real” minority.

  66. Mary – I don’t think you are correct about the military. Can you document that please?
    The irony here is that the perception of PFOX is that gays did the same thing: use the discrimination law to establish the vocabulary of sexual orientation. In other words, PFOX believed gays to be dishonest about being a “real” minority and so they are now being dishonest about being a “real” minority.

  67. FAC – Legally, in Australia where I live, I’m Female. And in the UK, where I was born, I’m Male. Neither country allows same-sex marriage by the way.
    I’m Intersexed, and the two countries have subtly different legal definitions.
    Intersex conditions are as natural as Red Hair, Colour Blindness, or Cleft Palates. They are part of the “Natural Order Of Things”, but rather make a mockery of simplistic ideas. Many people with simplistic ideas therefore do what they can to exterminate us, as our mere existence contradicts their world-view.

  68. Thank you Mary for your comment.
    I think your sexual orientation should be a private matter. I believe even the scientific community isn’t clear about what cause this. Hormonal, environment, etc, or all at the same time. Who knows?.In my oppinion polygamy is more close to what we are (animals, mammnal, etc)but it is illegal. You can call me crazy, but polygamy in my oppinion is more “natural” than homosexuality, however, you can go to jail for that. The fact that there are more gays than polygamists doesn’t make one more “normal” than the other. What about all other flavors of sexuality? What about podophiles? What if I want to marry my dog?It doesn’t make any sense unless one group have more political power than the other. I am not homophile or anti-gay, but I don’t want to neet to explain to my kids that a man with a leather outfit wearing a dog collard while kissing another man is normal.
    I don’t know how to explain to you how ackward it is to live in a barrack with gays. Let me put an example, there is a sci fiction movie I don’t remember the title, where men and woman live together in the same dorm, take shower together, and share the same battlefield sitiations. I don’t buy it. Period. I don’t think I can take a shower with a beautiful woman without any consequences. At the same time I don’t think I could take a shower with a gay person without wanting to beat the hell out of him just at the minimal insinuation or “innocent glance”. You can call it macho thing but I believe most men are alike. Testosterone is there for a reason. We are territorial and very aggressive at the lower level. I do believe that even though we live in society and society have rules we follows, at the bottom we are still animals. You take away the society thing and we become animals. In the animal kingdom every pack has a leader and the leader has many females to seed. We are not different. The sexual instinct God or Mother Nature give us is there for the continuation of the spices. That is the natural order of things. Sorry, but homosexuality is not in that picture.

  69. Not so. Ex gay has a variety of meanings and definitons depending on to whom you speak. Some consider ex gay to mean having left the lifestyle behind but still having same sex attraction. While others take it to mean that they have changed their sexual attractions – either completely, partially or “sometimes’ and in any case deciding not to live expressing same sex attractions in a sexual manner.
    I think the idea behind PFOX’s exercise here is to establish vocabulary in a legal preccedent so as to give ex gays and those who support ex gays the same rights to speak in schools etc.. as gays have now. Seems only fair to me.
    Ex gays are a minority that is barely understood (as you have so mentioned even by yourself) and we do endure ridicule, bullying by others – including from gays, we are discriminated against by “liberals” and for the most part remain in secret – just like many disenfranchised groups. Did you know that we cannot enter into the military because of our past? Even under the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy because most people believe that once gay always gay – including many conservatives.
    Thank you for your support.

  70. Pardon my lack of information, but what is an ex-gay? Is it gay or not? If he/she is still gay then he has protection, oviously since the term is ex, means he/she isn’t gay anymore. Then he/she is heterosexual now. Right? It is really confusing unless it is really another trick to create a new group with special needs that need protection under the law. Just my 2 cents.

  71. You are right Warren – this is primarily a publicity stunt – PFOX is primarily a religious organization subtly, or not so subtly, denigrating, AGAIN, the gay community – a community TRULY in need of protection. Good grief

  72. I cannot tell that the Office of Human Rights thinks that. I have yet to see the pleading but I think it is PFOX which is reading in to the situation the omission.
    I haven’t seen any evidence that the DC Office has ruled in the way PFOX speculates.

  73. What I think is bizarre is the Office of Human Rights maintaining that ex-gays aren’t covered by a law that prohibits discrimination because of sexual preference or orientation. It also doesn’t mention heterosexuals, who also should be covered. Ridiculous.

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