Why I Left the Ex-Gay Movement

My friend and fellow blogger, Joe Moderate, in responding to a recent press appearance of Exodus staff member and ex-gay Mike Ensley, shares some more of his own ex-gay experiences and why he ultimately left.

After five years with Exodus, I left because my orientation hadn’t changed at all. The orientations of my friends in the programs hadn’t changed. Moreover, I had come to learn that the orientation of the leaders of Exodus hadn’t changed. Everyone was still gay. I was so disillusioned that the “change” Exodus had claimed was possible hadn’t happened, and I was stunned by the fact that no one in Exodus seemed to have experience the “change”!

My questions about the elusiveness of “change” were met with confusing, convoluted explanations similar to Mike Ensley’s words in the radio interview. On one hand, Exodus leaders argued that that gay orientation is a fiction–that it doesn’t actually exist–and therefore, since no one in Exodus was ever “really” gay, there was nothing to change. This argument seemed deceptive. If this is the case, isn’t it lying for them to advertise that “change” is possible? Shouldn’t they instead advertise that “there’s nothing to change” or “come discover that you’re not really gay in the first place”? I guess those slogans aren’t as catchy as “change is possible” though…

On the other hand, some Exodus leaders argued that change does occur, but that it occurs in sexual behavior not in orientation. These leaders would claim that they themselves had changed–not because they had different attractions, but rather because they had stopped having sex with people of the same gender. For me, having never had sex with a guy before or during my Exodus years, this argument was completely worthless. There was no sex for me to stop. This nuanced definition from Exodus’s lexicon seemed extremely deceptive to me. This was not the operative definition of “change” that I had in mind when I entered the program. Perhaps they should put an asterisk in their slogan (i.e. “Change* is possible”) and add some fine print with their in-house definition of change.

Read all of Why I Left the Ex-Gay Movement (which includes some multimedia)

I head off to Catalonia today and will be in Madrid later in the week, so I don’t know if I will blog much. (hey, it is Spain and it is the perfect time to be there!)

This post has 2 Comments

  1. Lewis on May 25, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Peterson, I finished reading The Advocate article yesterday during my travels. I was horribly pleased to see your face and read your quotes! What a nice job. Loved the story, a strange slant indeed. Hope all is well. Hello from Portland!

  2. Daniel C on May 26, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    I nk there should be a refund cause of malpractice

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