Ramsey Dehani writing for the Pink News delves into the ex-gay movement, some of the history of it and its relentless presence destroying lives.
The ideals of what the movement preaches, a move from homosexuality through to heterosexuality, are said to be ineffective and “potentially harmful” by American psychologist groups such as the American Psychological Association, which claims that such direct intolerance and lack of acceptance can cause mental health problems.
PinkNews.co.uk spoke to Dr Adrian Coyle, a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Surrey and co-author of ‘The Social Psychology of Sexuality’, about how these negative connotations affect the person involved.
With regards to reparative therapy, Dr Coyle said that there is “no evidence it works” and that the “research evidence just isn’t there”.
“As a psychologist and a scientist, I want to know about the evidence they have,” he said.
“I don’t think its wise to engage with the desire to change, the reinforcement of pre-existing negative ideas of one’s sexuality presents a huge risk.
Earlier this week Dehani contacted me to find out what actually happens in some of these programs, particularly a residential program like Love in Action where I lived and did ex-gay time for two years,
Describing a reparative therapy session, he said: “In LIA a typical day meant group sessions where we talked about our issues and get teachings about why we are gay based on the template they provide. Often parents get blamed and participants need to match their personal histories with the template the programme leaders provide thus creating a new mythology about themselves.
“We had to spend a great deal of time writing about our former sexual experiences,” he continued, “and then filtering them through a lens that deemed such activity as sinful, dysfunctional and addictive.
“We also had to stand up in front of family and friends and share one of the most shameful sexual experiences we had, much like people do at AA when they talk about hitting rock bottom. This is a devastating and shaming event for both the participants and the parents”.
Toscano talked about how they were given training in “proper” gender roles and personal presentation, and “how to dress, walk, act like proper men and women”. Examples included men going to football “clinics” and women receiving baking lessons.
As I outlined in my post about the reason I went ex-gay, I’m reminded the the utter desperation many of us felt (and some still feel in many parts of the world and even in the US and UK today) to be “normal.” Even though looking back on those wasted years and all the anguish I felt about being gay, I do see the ridiculousness of the whole thing.
In this video I share a bit about our weekly movie night in Love in Action program–Biblical porn and so much more!