Friday, October 07, 2005

Ex-Gay--Just a Crazy American Thing???

oxfordshire mound
Originally uploaded by p2son.
In many ways, the "ex-gay" movement in the UK has been crippled. Exodus lost its foothold when Courage and Jeremy Marks acknowledged that no one can change from gay to straight and that to try was just causing more damage.

Many Brits I've spoken to recently assume that the "ex-gay" movement is simply another American oddity. UK Blogger and psychology PhD canidate, Contemplative Activist, begs to diiffer. She writes about the "ex-gay" and anti-gay activities that occur underground in British evangelical and charismatic churches and through the rising trend of Christian Counseling in the UK. Because it cannot be easily monitored, the unseen work of anti-gay activities in UK churches can be more harmful there then the very public work of Exodus when it was in full operation.

Out of her own experiences in UK churches she writes:
Was I involved in unusual crack-pot churches? No, I was not. I was just aware of what was going on because some of my closest friends were gay Christians - some of them still are, but many have left churches and are pursing their own spirituality, still suffering from the rejection caused by well-meaning but very very misguided Christians.

I'm telling you now - all this is going on behind the scenes in a church near you - yes, even the ones with cucumber sandwiches, and most likely in the ones with a lively and active group of young people.
Read the rest: Too English to be Ex-gay

Also in the UK, comicbook artist genius, Willie Hewes, muses on the root causes of homophobia. She tells the tale of her friend Iain who went from homophobic to gay-affirming--all from watching "lesbian porn". Read They Do Exist: Ex-Homophobes


At 6:37 AM , Blogger Contemplative Activist said...

Aw shucks Peterson, I'm flattered to get such a mention on your blog.

I think its important for us Brits to be aware that the philosophy behind the ex-gay movement in America has also rooted itself amongst the evangelical churches here. Many people are quite unaware of it and assume its not relevant. But we so desperately need people who are willing to speak out over here.

Christian counselling has such a veneer of respectability and for many people I'm sure the opportunity to speak with someone about their difficulties is very helpful. But for gay people - the approach is perilous.

Maybe the UK has more of a problem than the States. At least you guys know what's going on!

Anyway, must go and work on that bloomin PhD! I must say I really appreciate the work that you're doing both in the States and in the UK.

At 7:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dunno, plenty of us still at it...

At 10:24 PM , Blogger Jennifer said...

Nice photo. Similar to what it looked like hiking up Pendle HIll.

At 5:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the climate changes in the UK. More and more people are living successful lives as ex-gays. I'm one of them and i've never been happier in my life. As more of us come to the fore front i think people will begin to take us seriously. It is just a matter of time.

I wish everyone the best no matter what choices they make. I'm 27 and my life used to be miserable. Now I'm happy and there are many people out there like me that might benefit from this. I do understand that many are very satisfied with their gay lifestyle and that is fine too if that is their desire.

At 6:34 PM , Blogger Peterson Toscano said...

anonymous, you may be right, but it seems less and less people are coming to forward to share their "ex-gay" success stories. You may have valid reasons, but even your post is anonymous. Maybe you don't feel safe here, and that's fine.

You may be sucessful as an "ex-gay" whatever that means for you, but you sound like the rare "ex-gay" who can affirm people's life choices on all sides. I have chosen to accept who I am as a gay man (I never once chose to be gay, just to accept that reality).

Sadly too many people in the church assume they can produce one success story and that makes it proof that "success" is possible for everyone.

What does that success look like?
Why is it a valuable success?
Why is it not also as successful for someone to embrace themselves as gay? (or lesbian, bisexual, transgender or gender queer)

If you are happy as an "ex-gay" and you feel more fulfilled as a person and solid, then that is great. I am happy for you. That you don't foist it upon the rest of gaydom is a testament to your humanity.

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