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July 10th, 2007

Mr. Pot, Meet Mr. Kettle…

Via Ex-Gay Watch…  PFOX is getting a tad pissed off at all those militant ex-ex-gays.  On their MySpace page (!) they’ve posted "A letter from an "Ex-Gay" to "Ex-Ex Gay" Organizations!", which starts off thusly…

While you all claim in websites, protests, in organizations, or coalitions, to want to help people who are “trapped in homosexuality,” you seem to be more concerned with sticking your nose in my business, and telling me the way you think I should live, along with who I am.

Whoops!  Sorry.  What this guy actually wrote was…

While you all claim in websites, protests, in organizations, or coalitions, to want to help people who are “trapped in the ex-gay movement,” you seem to be more concerned with sticking your nose in my business, and telling me the way you think I should live, along with who I am.

Sorry about that.  Really.  Meanwhile (again via Ex-Gay Watch…), PFOX is still battling the Montgomery County Maryland Board Of Education to insure that the only things taught in sex education classes about homosexuals and homosexuality are what the ex-gay movement wants taught.  Not that they want to be telling anyone how they think they should live mind you…

3 Responses to “Mr. Pot, Meet Mr. Kettle…”

  1. Willie Hewes Says:

    Yeah, isn’t that letter weird? As I said on XGW, you only need to change a couple of words to be able to send it right back to them.

    Thanks for the reminder about the board of education business, though. That’s the same organisation. Do they… just… not… have brains…?

  2. Benton Says:

    I am in agreement with Willie here, I was thinking that it is funny how suddenly things change when one moves from the majority position to the minority position.

  3. Bruce Says:

    Willie…I loved your suggestion over at Ex-Gay Watch that this was all just a post modern literary experiment. Yes, the letter is weird, but only if you take at face value that the writer is speaking out in good faith, or at least an approximation of it. What I see in that letter is the same tactical rhetoric I’ve been seeing in the ex-gay movement for years now. Whatever the goals and purpose of the ex-gay ministries were once upon a time, they’ve long since been co-opted into the religious right’s kulturkampf.

    Even before Zach’s story exploded on the net, and then into the news, I was noticing that the ex-gay groups were trying to co-opt the language of the gay rights movement and turn it back on itself. You began to hear the argument from ex-gay movement leaders, late in the 1990s I think, that the gay community, and the popular culture were discriminating against them, stereotyping them, and inciting hatred toward them simply for being who they are. They deserved, so they said, respect for their “lifestyle choices”.

    It was a neat trick, bundling both a hidden assumption that sexual orientation is a choice, into a message that turned the gay rights movement’s call to respect the human diversity on its head. And were the ex-gay movement simply about fellow believers struggling to help each other reconcile their sex lives with their religion, you could almost find yourself sympathizing with them. So what if some gay people choose to remain celibate, or even put themselves through year after year of religious counseling in the hope of change? It’s their lives, it’s their business…right?

    But the ex-gay movement is essentially now a political arm of the religious right. So this language has always been spoken politically, which is to say cynically, out of both sides of their mouths. Out of one side its “Respect our diversity” and out of the other its opposition to hate crime laws, opposition to same sex marriage, opposition to honest and factual sex education, support for re-establishing the sodomy laws, and a torrent of every filthy lie about homosexuality and homosexuals you ever heard. It’s only a contradiction, its only hypocrisy, if you think that politics between free people needs to be done honorably, and in good faith.

    If people take away nothing else from the experience of living through the Bush years, I hope they take away this one thing: they lie. Deliberately. Cynically. With meticulous thought beforehand. They lie. Because it works. That’s all the moral calculation the “moral” majority has needed ever since Reagan. If it works, then it’s moral. They can look you dead in the eye and tell you without blinking that, why yes, they Did find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and not only know that they’re lying, they’ll not give a good goddamn whether or not you know it too. If it achieves their goal, then it’s moral. The ends justify the means.

    Except they don’t. You hear the argument often from the homophobes, that gays are not being discriminated against in the marriage laws, because they can marry a person of the opposite sex just like anyone else. You need to keep in mind how an ex-gay movement figures into supporting this sort of rhetoric in a culture war against the rights and human dignity of gay citizens. This is why they get so much funding and tactical support from the big religious right guns. It isn’t about being faithful to the Word. It isn’t about giving people a choice. It’s about giving gay hating politicians cover to argue that they are not making gay Americans second class citizens, but that gays are choosing to be second class citizens, by living in “the gay lifestyle”. They can always “come out of homosexuality” whenever they choose.

    So the hostile reactions from the ex-gay folks toward the Survivor’s Conference lately are just the first stirrings. The simple, heartfelt testimony of the survivor’s, regardless that it’s not intended to be political, is like kryptonite, not merely to the ex-gay message, but to the antigay agenda. The fear here is, and rightly, that the entire thing comes crashing down as more and more people hear the heartfelt testimony of these men and women who tried so hard to erase the stain they felt within, only to learn at such great cost that they were tearing themselves apart in the process. At some point you have to admit that the earth isn’t the center of the universe after all, despite what the church says. And yet, it moves…

    Peterson’s saying it’s not meant to be an attack is genuine and honest and it’s Peterson. Anyone who knows him knows that he means every word of it and it comes right from his heart. But the religious right is going to see this as a political attack because the politics of kulturkampf is the only frame of reference they have to evaluate the world they live in against. It’s ironic, but there it is: the survivor’s aren’t engaging in a political action, but a spiritual one, and the religious right is utterly incapable of understanding that. If you think it’s bitter now…just wait.

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