Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ex-gay harm

I am going to a techy website conference for work, so I may be posting, but we shall see how it goes. In the meantime I just commented on at least one thing that I think caused me harm in trying to "change" on Peterson's blog. Go read it. His blog post starts by saying:
In the past 4.5 years I have been in contact with over 1000 ex-gay survivors. These are people who pursued ex-gay experiences, either on their own, or more often, assisted by others like a therapist, minister, ex-gay program. They attempted to change or suppress their sexual orientation and may have referred to themselves as ex-gays or simply strugglers or by some other name.

Through hearing their stories (some of which are posted on Beyond Ex-Gay--bXg) and in unpacking my own ex-gay journey, I have begun to understand the many ways people can be harmed by their ex-gay experiences. Many of us also received certain benefits from our ex-gay experiences, but in most cases the harm outweighs the good.

One more afterthought to this that I didn't post on Peterson's blog... probably harm for me, didn't come from a professional counselor, although his thinking it was sin was why I left. Harm came from listening to what I heard and read in christian books about homosexuality. In particular the books and conference called the "Pastoral Care Ministries School" led by Lyanne Payne and Mario Berger. It's a healing conference similar to Exodus, where they pray for people to do things like "throw up their internalized mother" or end relationships, and get rid of stuff that reminds you of the person... This is all because of the evils of something (not a DSM diagnosis) they call "emotional dependency", which they say leads to homosexuality.

I did this! I ended relationship and I got rid of stuff. But more than this my harm came from myself during the years of trying to "cut" myself into change because I thought I must be so awful and if I just tried harder I wouldn't feel this way.

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