When I think about the ex-gay movement and the power that it holds within religious circles, I think about a few things. First, I think about my own experience being forced into ex-gay therapy by my parents, but then I also think about the many men and women across the world who have been in the same situation that I have been in. Later this week, I will be discussing the “choice” theory, and how that is the only way that those who oppose marriage equality can make their case to the world, and I will also extrapolate that to the idea freedom of religion. But today, I will instead be taking on a topic that many do not address, because it makes us feel sort of “bad” in a sense for those who oppress us.
Within Christian circles the concept that homosexuality is a “choice" has been gaining traction. No, I am not talking about whether or not we choose to act on our "homosexual urges", but instead the concept of the how did we become gay. This doctrine has also evolved in what constitutes sin or not; no longer is it a sin to be gay per say, but it is a sin to act upon those urges, which is why you will hear those within the ex-gay circles say that you have unwanted same-sex attraction. But what are the consequences of this concept that the Church has embraced.
The Idea of Nature vs. Nurture – whether sexuality is based upon genes or on child development – is one that has sparked fierce debate amongst all circles. Those within the Church must necessarily reject the first theory – for to them God would never create something that he would automatically doom to hell, for that would fly in the face of everything that Jesus taught about all men being able to come to repentance – the message of Jesus was not "all men but the gays". So naturally those in the Church must ascribe to the second theory, the Nurture theory. This theory postulates that your child development is what led you to being gay – for example you might have had an absent father and an overbearing mother. Where does this lead and why does the
embracing of the Nurture argument make me feel sorry for people such as my parents?
The Nurture argument takes direct aim at the parents themselves. It is THEY who caused me to be gay. It is THEY who messed me up. It is THEY who caused me to have all of these feelings…they are the perpetrators of my pain and hurt. Because they cannot ascribe my sexuality to God, for he is perfect and wanting all to go to heaven, they have to blame themselves. So often we within the LGBT community do not recognize this when we deal with our religious parents. We don’t understand why the reject us, we don’t understand why they cause us so much hurt; but the reason is because they are blaming themselves. The theory of sexuality that they have embraced has made them the “murderers” of our happiness. Thus, they naturally feel anger towards themselves, which manifests in their actions.
Now I am in no way giving a free pass to their actions, for they are directly responsible for them. But instead my goal here is that instead of deriding the parents who have caused us so much pain, we should instead do two things. 1. Feel sorry for them, knowing that the pain that we were going through coming to terms with our sexuality is the same type of pain that they were feeling when they thought that they caused this unhappiness in our lives (as much as that is absurd). And 2. We should slowly start to tell them the truth about human sexual development – which is also very hard. Those who raised us are set in their ways and they don’t want to change. That is why we must live in honesty and openness about who we are, and show them the truth about GLBT people.