In a February 16, 2014 article titled: “More States Likely to Ban Sexual Orientation Change Therapy,” Washington Times reporter Cheryl Wetzstein quoted anti-ex-gay extremist Wayne Besen as saying the following:
“The bans on sexual-orientation change efforts are likely to follow the path of marriage equality, with Maryland and Massachusetts the most likely states to approve bills this year.”
But that ban in Maryland didn’t happen, and on July 31, 2014 the legislative session in Massachusetts ended for the year, and with it died another bill that would ban therapy for minors with unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA) who seek help from licensed mental health practitioners to reduce and eliminate unwanted homosexual feelings.
H3907, titled “An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors” was authored and sponsored by openly gay Rep. Carl Sciortino, who this year announced that he had contracted HIV and subsequently left his seat in the legislature.
After legislation to ban therapy for minors in California and New Jersey became law in 2013, gay activists just assumed other states would follow. But thanks to the hard work of ex-gays and their allies, both locally and nationally, the #TherapyEquality campaign by Voice of the Voiceless, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, and Equality And Justice For All, has been working!
While “marriage equality” is becoming a reality in more states, “therapy equality” for individuals with unwanted SSA is also gaining traction, even in the most liberal of states like Minnesota, Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Why? Because lawmakers are hearing, and listening, to the stories of many who testified that therapy saved their lives. But you won’t hear their stories in Time Magazine, who gives free publicity to anti-ex-gay activists.
Stories like Charles Peters, who was molested by his gay boy scoutmaster when he was a child and struggled with sexual confusion and the effects of trauma for many years. But with the assistance of licensed therapists who helped him heal those wounds, he has resolved that trauma is now free to pursue his dream of family and marriage to a woman.
Robin Goodspeed also has an amazing story, but you won’t hear it on CNN, and Oprah won’t give her a sit down interview. She was told year after year by gay-affirming therapists that she was “born gay” and should just accept it. She struggled for years with the underlying issues, depression, and anguish that was causing her homosexuality, unable to find a therapist who could really help her. She lived for many years as a lesbian with a partner until she could no longer deal with the incongruence of who she really was – a daughter of God, born a female, not born a lesbian.
But now, gay activists are getting desperate. They can’t seem to convince legislators that states should promote “marriage equality” for gay-identified individuals, while at the same time deny #TherapyEquality for those who do not believe they are born gay and seek to resolve the issues that lead to their unwanted homosexual feelings. That’s because it doesn’t make sense. You can’t demand equality for some homosexuals while denying the rights of other same-sex attracted individuals to leave a lifestyle they find unfulfilling.
Their latest campaign, #BornPerfect is an effort to recycle the defunct, archaic theory that people are born gay in order to end what they call “conversion therapy” for youth. The spokespeople for their cause, to end licensed therapy, are a small group of former religious ex-gay leaders, who never went through therapy and instead tried to “pray away the gay,” which surprisingly didn’t work!
Because of their own failed efforts, these individuals, like former Exodus International President Alan Chambers, are projecting their failure onto everyone else. After all, if they didn’t change, how could anyone else possible do it?
So they’re teaming up with the National Center for Lesbian Rights in their crusade against licensed mental health therapy, which they never received themselves, nor did any of them ever practice! They got some free publicity from BuzzFeed today:
“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.”
Again, it’s important to reiterate who these people are. They are not licensed therapists or scientists. Among others, they are Michael Bussee (Co-Founder of Exodus International), John Smid (Executive Director of Love in Action), and Yvette Cantu Schneider, who once made behavioral decisions to leave homosexuality, but never went through therapy.
Schneider recently partnered with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Defamation (GLAAD) to say she no longer supports the ex-gay movement, although she is, ironically, still faithfully married to her husband, who she claims is her soul mate, despite her same-sex attractions. She was a long-time poster girl for ex-lesbians at some prominent pro-family organizations, struggled with untreated anxiety, the roots of which are often trauma-related, for years. She labored on campaigns such as Proposition 8 to deny gay marriage in California, but never dealt with the underlying trauma that was causing her anxiety.
Just this week, she revealed that years later she received some new age therapy that reawakened some of the “feminine goddesses” she was repressing, and wham, she’s back to her authentic self and completely happy, and still married to her husband, yet she claims she hasn’t “changed.” Now she joins the ranks of ex-ex-gays like John Paulk, who appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in the late 90s as a success story for change, but now is recanting. Like Schneider, Paulk never went through therapy and did his work.
When a same-sex attracted person fails to resolve the underlying issues that cause homosexual feelings, the desires often remain and fester for years. In my personal and professional experience, real, transforming change occurs when one heals the wounds at the core, through good therapy, the support of committed friendships, and the love of God.
You see, when one looks a little deeper into stories like Yvette Schneider, John Paulk, Alan Chambers, and others who say they changed, then later recant and say they didn’t really didn’t change, you find a typical character flaw. Narcissism.
I know this well, because I too once struggled with same-sex attractions, and by the grace of God and thanks to some good therapy, I have resolved the issues that caused me to feel homosexual attractions.
Narcissism is a personality disorder and character defect that all of these individuals, and many of my same-sex attracted clients (including myself, at one point) struggle with at some point in their lives. The roots of this disorder are usually deep wounding, sometimes from an insufficient emotional connection with a parent(s), other times with peers, growing up. It has nothing to do with homosexual feelings, and everything to do with unresolved hurt.
When a child doesn’t get the praise and affirmation of those closest around him/her, they grow up with a deep hole in their soul, and the only way to fill that hole is through attention, affection, and affirmation. One can achieve this in a healthy way, by healing the wounds, forming loving attachments in present day, and asking God to remove these character defects.
But too many public ex-gays fail to do this, and end up settling for imitation love while at the same time, suffering with addictions and emotional disorders, all the while experiencing the notoriety of the spot light, without the intimacy of loving relationships. This occurs in many of the ex-gay marriages that do not work out – they mean well, but they are often too wounded and end in divorce. Then, they recant and say, “my homosexuality never changed” – as if the same-sex attraction was the result of their failed marriage.
Any good therapist knows this is a cop out, because sex is not about sex. It’s about intimacy, attachment, and bonding. That’s what really makes a relationship successful and committed.
So what drives these nine former ex-gay poster boys and girls to come out and say, “we never really changed?” Unfortunately, the same thing that drove them to say they did change years ago. Being in the public spot light and doing something “good for God” is a great way to deflect from one’s personal, unresolved issues. But one can only maintain it for so long until the house crumbles. If you don’t do your work, resolve the issues that lead to same-sex attractions, and remain faithful to what God has called you to do, you will eventually collapse.
Psychologically speaking, it’s too painful for these nine individuals to admit “they didn’t do their work,” so it’s easier for them to point the finger at those who have while projecting their own failures onto everyone else.
Do not be fooled. God uses people to achieve His plans. Licensed therapists, unlicensed religious counselors, and everyday people, to help us heal. Hundreds of these religious leaders, such as Anne Paulk, Steven Black, DL Foster, and Tom Cole, to name just a few, have done their work and continue to walk in freedom. That is the power of God. He uses everyone for His plan, and he doesn’t favor one specific type of therapy or ministry over another. Our God is much bigger than that.
The truth is, we’re all born perfect, perfectly in the eyes of our Creator, who loves and wants the best for us. But it doesn’t mean that anyone is born gay. We don’t need a fancy hash tag on Twitter to realize that. What we do need is a good old-fashioned reality check. He created them male and female.
To learn more about our stories, join our movement at #TherapyEquality on Twitter and meet us on October 3-4 at the 2nd Annual Ex-Gay Awareness Conference in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit: http://pfox.org/the-second-annual-ex-gay-awareness-month/
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.