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March 13th, 2017

Mourn For The Dead. Mourn Also, For The Living…

A survivor recounts…

Why I’ll Mourn Joe Nicolosi, Reparative Therapy Icon

Reparative therapy led me off course for many years, and it deepened my shame rather than alleviating it, but he was not intentionally cruel. I can blame Nicolosi for misdirecting people, but not for mistreating them.

His intention, however, does not excuse the damage reparative therapy has inflicted on so many LGBTQ people. Reparative and conversion therapies have caused gay people to feel fundamentally broken and irrecoverably sinful. This kind of therapy has shattered not only people’s self-worth but their spiritual connection to God. Those whose lost faith might call themselves lucky, for others lost even the will to live. These people took their own lives. And so we must ask ourselves: What good is a therapy that purports to save some lives if it takes others?

So many hearts this man destroyed. So much love that could have been, so many smiles that never were, because this man walked among us. One reason, not the main one but an important one, that I am not a Christian is I know what Jesus of Nazareth would tell me now, that I have to forgive him. And I can’t.

I do not bring forgiveness with me, nor forgetfulness.
The only ones who can forgive are dead;
the living have no right to forget. -Chaim Herzog

Read the whole thing Here

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Mourn For The Dead. Mourn Also, For The Living…

March 11th, 2017

Question Death

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Question Death

March 10th, 2017

The Soul Died Long Before The Man

‘Ex-Gay Therapy’ Leader Dead at 70

Nicolosi, 70, was a practitioner of conversion or reparative therapy, treatments intended to change a person’s sexual orientation that have been widely denounced by major medical associations—including the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association—and banned by legislation in five states…

Death only closes a man’s reputation and determines it as good or bad. -Joseph Addison.

I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it. -Mark Twain.

 

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

September 21st, 2016

Pawn to Drama Queen Seven

If Facebook is good for nothing else, it keeps your memories from being gaslighted pretty damn well…

drama_queen

 

Funny how so many of my gay male rites of passage revolve around a certain someone. I didn’t say at the time who it was that called me that, but it didn’t occur to me at the time to wonder why he would occasionally lapse into gay guy talk so easily around me. 

#aufwiedersomething…

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Pawn to Drama Queen Seven

August 31st, 2016

Peace And Quiet Llama Says…

I’ll take Tales of The Closet for 100 Alex…

And the answer is… It Stinks For A Little While And Then It’s Gone.

Be-Beep!

Bruce…

What is A Laughably Stupid Metaphor For Sex?

 

peace_and_quiet_llama

 

Oops!  Sorry!

 

Auf Wiedersomething…

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Peace And Quiet Llama Says…

August 9th, 2016

Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Selves

A co-worker is back after several months recuperating from surgery for a torn rotator cuff.  As the link to WebMD says, it is “…one of the darkest fears of pitchers, tennis players, and many other athletes.”  Tennis players. Yes. And also probably anyone whose work requires constant lifting and moving things around. My co-worker said she’ll be in physical therapy for months more to come. Possibly years. That’s how it is with major injuries like that. Four months and she can still barely raise her arm now. But she was all smiles to be able to finally leave the house and be out and about. She’ll still have to be careful though…very careful…not to re-injure it.  Luckily for us, our jobs are all mostly low impact desk jobs. But those also have their risks. I’m wearing a Fitbit now, to attend to one of those risks, which is the opposite of having a job that requires a lot of physical activity. As it turns out, the physically cushy job might even be a bigger hazard to your health.

So…good thing my co-worker doesn’t have to come back to a job like…oh say…working in a restaurant all day long slugging around great big platters of beer and dirty dishes. You just don’t go right back to work with just three months of recovery from surgery after something like that. So when you see factory workers or other folk who do heavy physical labor all day long striking for or just generally agitating for better health care, or getting workman’s comp for some injury you could work around at your desk job, don’t be pointing a finger at them and calling them moochers.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Selves

July 18th, 2016

Born In The Blood Of Innocents…(continued)

From The Guardian today…

why conversion therapy continues - the guardian

“The only thing they managed to exorcise was my faith.”

Full article Here.

The thing you need to understand about conversion/ex-gay therapy is that what’s important isn’t that anyone actually becomes heterosexual. It’s that everyone, gay folk, their families, their neighbors, gets the message that homosexuals are damaged goods at best, abominations in the eyes of god at worst. The scapegoat must always hang their head in shame.

This is telling…

A US navy veteran and now an LGBT activist, he spent four to six months in the group but their tactics began to alarm him. “One of the group leaders prayed and said: ‘I really feel like you have been molested but you’re just suppressing it.’ And I have never been molested in my life. So I would tell them, ‘I’ve never been molested, incorrect.’ And then it turned into a narrative where in order for me to even participate I would have to admit that I had been molested.”

The anti-gay ideology is of a piece. Every thread in it fits neatly together with all the others, like the intricate crackpot conspiracy theories about chemtrails or UFOs. This notion that a person’s homosexuality was caused by childhood molestation walks in lockstep with the notion that since homosexuals don’t reproduce they must recruit or they would die out, and this is why homosexuals are child molesters.

It’s a house of cards. Take away one card and the entire structure begins to fall apart. So this gay man had to have been molested, and as long as he insists he wasn’t, that can only mean he’s still fighting against the truth. Maybe he has a demon inside of him. Maybe he’s just not submitting to the will of god enough. But the possibility that he is a homosexual who wasn’t molested cannot be endured. Because if that could be true, then what else about homosexuality might be true, that we don’t want to know…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Born In The Blood Of Innocents…(continued)

July 11th, 2016

Washed In The Blood Of The Silence Of The Lambs

This came across my Facebook stream today…

Christian Rock Singer Comes Out, An Ex-Gay Freakout Ensues

Many signs have suggested that the Christian right has largely given up on pushing for ex-gay therapy. From the closing of Exodus International to the Southern Baptist Convention admonishing the harmful, ineffective treatment, it seems that those who reject homosexuality have embraced the idea of celibacy and singlehood instead.

But several news stories from the past week have suggested that many religious conservatives actually still want to see gays and lesbians wind up giving up their sexualities entirely to pursue different-sex marriages with kids.

And just never you mind what this may do to the innocent other halves of these marriage-as-cure marriages. If nothing else, that indifference to the lives of other people, usually heterosexual women, and their hopes and dreams of love and happiness, really shows how deep that sewer they keep mistaking for a conscience runs. Collateral damage, as one right wing terrorist once shrugged off responsibility for the children he killed.

Doug Mainwaring also chimed in Monday, insisting that gay people can happily stay in different-sex marriages — citing himself as an example. “A man who walks away from a marriage because of same-sex attraction is no different from a man who abdicates his role as husband and father for sex with other women,” he scolded. “We shouldn’t view Trey Pearson’s actions as heroically true-to-self, but as simply selfish.”

Mainwaring is the religious right’s current “attack gay”…a gay guy who is happy to shovel his fellow homosexuals into the maw of the religious right’s self hate machine. And also, and indifferently, all that collateral damage. No Doug, a gay man who struggles his way out of the self hatred you need him to live his entire life in so you can feel righteous, isn’t being selfish. If his hopes and dreams of honesty and love need to be your stepping stones to heaven, the selfish greedy blood sucking bastard here is you. If Jesus dying on the cross wasn’t enough to sponge away your cheapshit sins, if other gay people have to die for them too because Jesus on the cross just wasn’t enough, then selfish isn’t even the word for the likes of you. That word would be Predatory.

Once upon a time, one of the first ex-gay clients in the first ex-gay ministry, Love In Action, Jack McIntyre wrote the following just before he killed himself…

To continually go before God and ask forgiveness and make promises you know you can’t keep is more than I can take. I feel it is making a mockery of God and all He stands for in my life.

He killed himself Doug. So he wouldn’t make another promise to god he knew he could not keep. Because the human identity isn’t a blackboard anyone can just scribble their will on. Because he was a homosexual. Because you can’t pray that away anymore than you can pray away being left handed, or blue eyed. There was nothing wrong with him in the first place. The ex-gay movement was born in the blood of innocents. No stream rises higher than its source. He killed himself Doug. So louts like you could be righteous.

You live in the lap of righteous esteem Doug, the useful tool of gutter crawling runts who would rather see a gay man’s heart ripped to shreds, see him end his life, rather than know a single moment of honest love and desire in the arms of another man. The support network you enjoy is built on the ruins of other people’s lives. It is drenched with their blood. And you can’t afford to look can you. So many gay men who end up finding a tree to hang themselves from, or putting a gun to their heads, because louts like you are telling them they’re broken. And be honest here…ultimately, you’re fine with that. Because better they kill themselves than they accept themselves, as in that old Baptist hymn, just as I am.

Because if they can find that honest, truthful happiness…then what does that make you?  But you know what you are.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Washed In The Blood Of The Silence Of The Lambs

October 6th, 2015

Our Stories Matter

This came across my Facebook stream just now…

exodus-dismantled

Being chosen to lead Exodus in 2001 was like becoming the ex-gay Pope following the Catholic sex-abuse scandals. The ministry’s board knew it could not survive another public scandal, so it questioned Chambers rigorously before deciding to hire him. During the interview process, Chambers recalls a board member asking him what success would look like under his leadership. He replied, “It looks like Exodus going out of business because the church is doing its job.”

Chambers words would later seem prophetic, but he first needed to travel a long road. In 2005, he called homosexuality “one of the many evils this world has to offer.” And in 2006, he lobbied for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. But Chambers admits that during the same year his thinking began to evolve.

As I heard more stories and evaluated my own realities,” Chambers said, “I realized change in orientation was not possible or happening.

(Emphasis mine). Full article is Here. Our stories matter. Our stories are what win this struggle. We tell our stories, and we stop being the monsters others have made us out to be, and we become neighbors. Our stories turn their lies to rust.

I’ll post another installment of my story by the end of this weekend. Tell yours. We will win this thing, if we tell our stories.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Our Stories Matter

July 26th, 2015

Would You Like The Knife Served With Or Without Love?

Oh look…the same damn thing I’ve heard a zillion times already…

ex-gay-celibacy

No. There is absolutely nothing new about this. It’s the same old, same old. True there were lots of ex-gay outfits that claimed they could turn gay into straight. But there were always those who simply offered counseling and support for celibacy. Back in the 1980s, before the internet opened to commercial use, a user on the gay BBS I did volunteer work for, David Morrison, dived into a very rigidly conservative form of Catholicism, renounced his former gay activism, and signed on with their “Courage” (sic) ex-gay group which since 1980 has been counseling gay people against having sex. Eventually he wrote a book, “Beyond Gay”, where he argued among other things, against what he was calling “cheap sex” before he left G.L.I.B.. (He later wrote a column for the New York Post, titled “What Crime Of Hate And Anger?” in which he argued that Matthew Shepard had it coming, because he had a history of risky sexual flirting with strangers. Loving The Sinner. The right wing site Eutopia reprinted it, along with a deftly edited portion of my letter to the Post challenging it so they could wag their fingers at those of us who value our “certitude of experience” over their “certitude of Truth”…)

The neat thing about the anti-gay industrial complex is its convenient fluidity. Don’t like all that vitriolic gay bashing rhetoric? Well just walk right over here where we don’t do that. We =Love= the sinner. No, really! Think all that love the homosexual stuff is a lot of pussyfooting around what god plainly condemns? Well right over here we have all the fire and brimstone your cold little heart desires! God Hates Fags and so do We!

We can stick the knife into your gay neighbor’s heart any way that makes you comfortable…with or without love.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Would You Like The Knife Served With Or Without Love?

June 1st, 2015

Yes It’s Madness…But There’s A Method To It… (Message In A Bottle…)

Cracked Magazine, which is getting more known for it’s online lists of things (5 Classic Board Games With Disturbing Origins…4 Overlooked Consequences Of Spiderman Joining The Avengers….) just published 5 Things I Learned At A ‘Pray Away The Gay’ Camp.  Here’s one of the line items…

#4. They Physically Torture You For Being Gay

“My hands were tied down and ice was placed on them while I was shown pictures of men. Later sessions would include copper heating coils, needles in my fingers, and electric shocks,” all while Sam was shown gay porn.

Then they’d take the coils away and show … men and women holding hands.

“I was never shown heterosexual sex, just heterosexual attraction,” Sam says. “I was just supposed to associate the touch of a man with pain.”

But a gay man is sexually drawn to other men. And in adults, those feelings of desire mature and evolve into deeper feelings of love and intimate trust and companionship. There’s no neat and tidy way to disconnect desire from human intimacy in adults. After decades of doing this to gay men, and witnessing for themselves the results of it, you might think they’d understand the damage they’re doing.

And you’d be right…

Obviously, despite the old saying, you can’t “heating-coil the gay away.” The torture didn’t make Sam straighter; it just made him terrified of sex, intimacy, and general human closeness.

The scapegoat has to hate themselves. They have to accept their lot in life is one of misery and pain and that they deserve it. And more importantly, they must be taught to fear anything that might lift them out of the pit of loneliness and despair:  They must fear being loved.

“By the end, even hugging my father brought back flashbacks,” Sam said.

Sam isn’t alone — according to literally every scientific study, that’s exactly what happens to people who go through this kind of thing. Sex and physical intimacy are positive things that human beings seek out because they feel good, and you can’t trick the human brain into thinking something feels good by zapping it or burning it with hot copper coils. It only makes the feelings negative.

It’s not a bug…it’s a feature…

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Yes It’s Madness…But There’s A Method To It… (Message In A Bottle…)

April 10th, 2015

How To Laugh Until You Cry…

A friend who’s been in the fight against ex-gay therapy with me since the Love In Action protests posted this Onion article to his Facebook page the other day…

dead straight

“We’ve found that a combination of group interventions, narrative therapy, and cognitive-behavioral approaches fully eliminates homosexual urges before the individual takes his or her own life,” said program director Christian Weber, adding that many of their biggest success stories are even in stable, heterosexual relationships when they’re found lifeless in their own home or dredged from a nearby body of water.

Full Onion Article Here.  You know the kind of laugh you get sometimes when it’s funny but painful at the same time…?

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on How To Laugh Until You Cry…

January 9th, 2015

It Stinks For A Little While, And Then It’s Gone…

This, concerning the reality show My Husband’s Not Gay, came across my Facebook stream just now…

 

doughnuts

I listened to someone compare it to farting once.  In retrospect I’ve wondered if he wasn’t telling me he’d become asexual since we were both teenagers.  Oh well…most Disney characters are after all…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on It Stinks For A Little While, And Then It’s Gone…

July 31st, 2014

There Was Never A Cure Because There Never Was A Sickness

Two years ago in a post here I wrote

There is nothing wrong with homosexuals.  That is a simple statement of fact.  Not opinion.  Fact.  Well researched, well established, scientific fact. And it has been well established fact for quite a very long time.  If you were born in the 1960s or later, then this fact is older then you are.

The science that shows there is nothing psychologically wrong with gay people has a pedigree going back at least half a century now. But it wasn’t until 1973 that the American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from their catalogue of mental illnesses.  In that same year, the very first ex-gay ministry, Love In Action, was founded in San Francisco.  And soon after that, the first ex-gay suicide.  Jack McIntyre wrote the following just before he killed himself…

To continually go before God and ask forgiveness and make promises you know you can’t keep is more than I can take. I feel it is making a mockery of God and all He stands for in my life.

So to keep himself right with God he killed himself. Others simply retreated into a living death of the soul.  They went deep into the closet, married against their nature, lived lives of quiet desperation. Or they embraced the lie and threw themselves into the sexual gutter. Human filth they believed they were, they consigned their sex lives to the public toilets and back alleys. There are many ways to put the knife into your own heart because you can’t bear its pain, but then tomorrow comes anyway and you have to do it all over again.

We were taught to hate ourselves. And the more we hated ourselves, the more painful our lives became which we were constantly told was proof that homosexuality was a sickness and to be homosexual was to be broken. But there was nothing wrong with us.  There was never anything wrong with us.  Science proved it decades ago.  Perhaps science could have better served us all by discovering what it is that makes a person a bigot rather than what it is that makes someone homosexual.  But now at least, the grotesque dance of hate is coming to an end…

Exclusive: 9 Former Ex-Gay Leaders Join Movement To Ban Gay Conversion Therapy

Nine former ex-gay leaders, from organizations like Exodus International and ministries like Love in Action, have signed onto a letter in partnership with the National Center for Lesbian Rights calling for a ban on gay conversion therapy and saying that LGBT people should be celebrated and embraced for who they are.

“At one time, we were not only deeply involved in these ‘ex-gay’ programs, we were the founders, the leaders, and the promoters,” they said in the letter. “Together we represent more than half a century of experience, so few people are more knowledgeable about the ineffectiveness and harm of conversion therapy. We know first-hand the terrible emotional and spiritual damage it can cause, especially for LGBT youth.”

You can read their full letter at the link above.  These are among those who inflicted the wounds and now ask forgiveness and I can appreciate that forgiveness for some may be impossible. This is why I can’t stand people that like to yap about how Christianity has made their lives so much Easier.  Christianity is goddamn hard and I am no Christian. But I know this: it isn’t faith the size of a mustard seed that redeems, it’s love.  That’s all you need. When the roll call of the dead and wounded is read, remember kindly, if it is in you to, the ones who could not at long last silence their heart’s voice, because the ones who can say “enough” despite their own guilt are civilization’s final hope. Keep them apart in your thoughts from the ones who kept on doggedly with it to the bitter end, because there was no heart to silence within them, just that empty void which is the end of the world.

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on There Was Never A Cure Because There Never Was A Sickness

May 5th, 2014

Reality Is That Which, When You Stop Believing In It, Does Not Go Away

The charade that persecuting homosexuals was rational and necessary because there is something pathologically wrong with homosexuals should have ended with Hooker’s Adjustment Of The Male Overt Homosexual in 1957.  But human prejudice does not succumb so easily to mere experimental evidence.  It wouldn’t be until decades after the Stonewall riots, after the Personal Computer and the modem made it possible for gay people to speak directly to each other and see ourselves just as we are, not through heterosexual eyes as some strange alien other, for this charade to finally begin to crumble.  Because until we could see the humanity within ourselves, and the legitimacy and righteousness of our feelings of love and desire, we would never have the courage to come out of the closets, and live our lives openly, so that our families and neighbors could see our humanity too. There was never anything rational about homophobia.  It was always about hatred of the Other, inflamed by bigots to rouse the mob and thereby glorify themselves.

The charade is falling apart because it had no basis in reality.  The facade of respectability is crumbling. Sometimes it’s just a brick here and there…parents coming to terms with gay children, friends looking at gay friends and seeing a person not a monster. Sometimes its a whole wall that falls over.  The sodomy laws in 2003.  Same sex marriage.  The proposition 8 trial was a massive earthquake beneath it. Seeing for the first time in an actual trial how little there actually was to support any of it opened a lot of eyes.

So will this…

Ex-Ex-Gay Pride

Far-right groups including the Family Research Council and the American Family Association pooled $600,000 to place ads promising the effectiveness of reparative therapy in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune. Anne and John Paulk smiled from full-page newspaper spreads.

In front of the crowds and cameras, Paulk was the image of certainty. But backstage, he was faltering. More than that, he knew he was lying.

“It’s funny, for those of us that worked in it, behind closed doors, we knew we hadn’t really changed,” he says. “Our situations had changed—we had gotten married, and some of us had children, so our roles had changed. I was a husband and father; that was my identity. And the homosexuality had been tamped down. But you can only push it down for so long, and it would eke its way out every so often.”

It.  It.  It would eke its way out every so often. The human identity is not a blackboard anyone can walk up to and scribble their will upon.  The “It” that was eking its way out of Paulk wasn’t homosexuality, it was Sexuality, an instinct older than the fish, let alone the mammals, let alone the primates, let alone us. What Paulk was trying to suppress was an urge hundreds of millions of years old, that in him and others simply directs its relentless attentions to his own sex, not the opposite one.  Beyond that one minor difference it was still the same force with the same hundreds of millions of years of the history of life on Earth behind it. Unless nature had made him asexual or gifted him with a very very low libido, he had no more chance becoming straight by playing straight than a left handed person does of becoming right handed by playing right handed.

“I would be in hotel rooms, and I would be on my face sobbing and crying on the bed,” he says. “I felt like a liar and a hypocrite. Having to go out and give hope to these people. I was in despair knowing that what I was telling them was not entirely honest. I couldn’t do it anymore.”

One of the first things that leaps out at you when you dig into the history of ex-gay therapy is how little data are ever retained about the clients. No long term follow-ups, no data to give meaning to any of the statistics they like to trot out.  Hundreds have changed…no wait…thousands…hundreds of thousands… But it’s all smoke and mirrors. They have no data to prove any of their claims. They have done no research. It isn’t merely that they have no evidence: what leaves your jaw dropping when you first see it is they haven’t actually sought any evidence. It isn’t an oversight, the object was never to actually change anyone. If pressed, some will admit that change is not likely, but self discipline against homosexual urges can be attained through proper training. But homosexual urges are no different in kind from heterosexual urges; they are just two different expressions of the same ancient and powerful sexual urge we all possess. So the question then becomes at what cost to the individual? And the answer is the damage done to the person is not a cost, it is a benefit.

What you have to understand about Paulks misery is that his changing was never the object his masters sought. His crying and sobbing on the bed was the object. Then, now and always, the point is that we have to hate ourselves at least as much, if not more, than the bigots hate us.

The charade is ending. It is ending because there was never any truth to it. The only thing that kept it going was its monopoly on discussion, enforced by the sodomy laws, and from the pulpit, and because we stayed in the closet: because it was dangerous not to, because in a world where we could be kept isolated from each other we could be made to believe the lies. Those days are over. Now the mindless brutality behind the charade steps out from behind the curtain. Yes, it’s ugly, but don’t look away. You need to see this. What the ex-gay ministries offered to so many innocent people was more poison to add to the poison that had brought them in the door in the first place.

We taught your parents to hate you.  We taught your preacher to thunder damnation at you. Everywhere you turn you see hate reflected back at you. We’ve prepared you nicely for your role in life little scapegoat.  Oh…you’re troubled by your same-sex attractions are you? Good. Now let us dangle some hope for change in front of you, tell you all about how we have helped so many others just like you, and we can help you too, if you are willing to work hard for it. And when you fail to change you can hate yourself even more. 

It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

[Edited a tad, and then some more, for clarity…]

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Reality Is That Which, When You Stop Believing In It, Does Not Go Away

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