In yesterday’s blog, Ex-Gay in the UK, I posted quotes from a friend in England who lived ex-gay for years. He shared some of his motivation to pursue a course designed to change and suppress his gay orientation.
I guess seeing Homonomo made me wonder again just why you/I/we put ourselves through it all. For me a big part of it was living inside a church community with such a narrow worldview, but one that I wanted to feel accepted and approved by. That coupled with my limited choice of ‘correct’ reading matter that took such a negative view of homosexuality, and that bore false witness to the scriptures and distorted and filtered science to make it fit its own viewpoint. The shame it induced was crippling to my emotional development, and I think you portrayed that well in your Homonomo piece.
I shared some of his words over at the Gay Christian Network and several there have begun to share their reasons for going ex-gay. I also read a blog post over at Peter Ould’s site where he quotes Mario Bergner and his reasons for going ex-gay. This got me thinking about my own reasons.
For years while I was ex-gay and soon after I came out I thought my primary reason had to do with my Christian faith; it seemed the most obvious reason. But in the past few years I have dug deeper to see many other factors that had little or nothing to do with my faith in Jesus. Here is a list of some of these factors
- Desire to marry and have children
- Fear of loneliness as a grew old
- AIDS and other STDs that I assumed I would get if I came out gay
- Misinformation of what it meant to be gay
- The desire to fit in with everyone, to feel “normal”
- Pressure from society through virtually every film, TV show, pop song and commercial proclaiming that the heterosexual life was the idealized norm without showing any alternatives
- Negative portrayals of LGBT people in the media
- Fear of physical and verbal attack for being gay
- Witnessing physical and verbal attacks of those who are gay or perceived to be gay
- Desire to advance in the church hierarchy to become a missionary or pastor
- Desire to please family and friends
- Fear of losing family and friends
- No positive gay role models
- Having furtive sexual encounters causing me distress in a society that punishes sexual “deviance” (while an addiction to credit never seemed to bother me in a society that encouraged debt)
- Unresolved sexual abuse issues that caused me to carry my abuser’s shame with me thus causing me to question my own gay orientation and self-worth
- Low self-esteem
- Self-hatred & internalized homophobia
- Cowardice to stand against the tide and be myself
- Living to please man and not God, bowing to man’s teachings while not actually seeking God about the matter
And the list can still go on and on. For me the faith issue was a convenient cover that distracted me from the many other factors that influenced me to seek change. Similarly some anti-gay Christian folks can use the religious argument to hide behind their own discomfort with the intimcay between two men or two women.
For me it took years to unearth the many reasons why I went ex-gay. Coming to a place of integrity and understand has led me to deal directly with these motivations and find the help I needed to address my true needs.
What about you? What led you to go ex-gay or why do you think some people elect to change or suppress their gay orientation?