I had the privilege to write a post for Ex-Gay Watch, which has presented news and analysis of ex-gay politics and culture since 2003. They were the first to review my play, Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House, which ultimately led me to some important friends in my life today.
After surveying others like me who tried to go ex-gay or to alter their gender differences, I shared some analysis about the many reasons why someone might choose that route for themselves.
I recently began a discussion with other ex-gay survivors about the reasons they tried to alter their sexuality, gender presentation, or gender identity. To help dig into the question, I prompted them:
Think about the point in time when you began to seek out ex-gay treatment. Then ask: “During that time, if I suddenly woke up the next day 100% heterosexual/gender normative, how would my life be different? How would my relationships be different? How would my future be different? How would my career be different?”
Here is a sampling of what folks had to say to the question, Why did you try to change?
Juli–Guilt. Never cared about god (or believed), but knew my parents would be ashamed and feel responsible (and ashamed for being responsible). Forty years and three marriages, and I still have to remind myself at least once a day they were wrong.
Derek–I was always the “good kid” so the thought of being gay didn’t mesh well with who I felt I was or more what others thought I should be. Faith, family, a desire for what was modeled as normalcy were blanket reasons.
Gail Dickert–I was highly motivated by the fear of hell and the idealism of hetero-supremacy that was proclaimed in my churches and especially in Bible College (Bridal College, as it was referred to by the women in search of their perfect husbands). [Gail is the author of Coming Out of the Closet without Coming Apart at the Seams]
Anthony Venn-Brown, an ex-gay survivor from Australia, reminded me through his own comment of a potent incentive that propelled me to seek “change.” The criminality of homosexuality:
Perhaps with informed consent, people today will not make the same mistakes that Anthony, I, and so many others made.