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My Ex-Gay Friend

 
 
sozobe
 
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 10:24 am
Interesting article here about a fairly young guy who was very out and proud and then had a religious experience and decided he was straight. It reads as a bit of a puzzle -- is he in denial and is actually still gay? Was he straight all along? Bi?

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/19/magazine/my-ex-gay-friend.html

Hope that people can get to that, if not I will get some excerpts. I haven't found the whole thing online elsewhere yet, but this has a lot of the important parts:

http://www.edgesanfrancisco.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=&sc2=news&sc3=&id=121186

At any rate, this is very, very close to an experience I had with a friend of mine. I met Annie at the housing co-op I used to live in. She was one of those textbook militant lesbians. She wore purple pretty much all the time, unapologetically fat, short dyed-black hair, funky glasses, doc martens. Very funny, very inappropriate. Large militant black girlfriend. Organized Take Back the Night marches and generally in your face. But sweet... I liked her a lot.

She moved out, we lost track of each other, and then maybe six years down the line I ran into her. She was the same size but was wearing some buttoned-up white shirt and black skirt and sensible shoes. Her hair and glasses were different. And she was carrying a goddamn bible. I couldn't believe it, and when we started talking I really thought she was kidding and that she was on her way to some sort of dress-up party or stand-up performance. But no, she was dead serious, as the hurt look on her face attested. I swallowed my grins and tried to listen for a bit. She'd found god. She deeply regretted the person she had been when we knew each other. She'd love to introduce me to the new her, to get to know each other again. Her new church was wonderful, would I like to attend their ____ on ____ night?

I made polite noises, we hugged, and parted ways again.

With her, I think there was a certain belongingness that both groups offered, a difficult casting-off and then welcoming. I think that may have been part of the motivating factor in each situation (rejecting her conservative family and coming out, then rejecting her adopted queer community and being embraced by the church). I see some of that in Glatze's story too, especially with the early death of both of his parents.

I'm not sure where Annie ended up. I'm curious.
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 11:33 am
I did not read the article in your post, sozobe, but this issue was debated in Christian churches near where I live. A lecturer claimed that homosexuality can be "unlearned" and that he himself had formerly been homosexual. He claimed empathy for homosexual Christians and preached that they can change through some type of behavior modification therapy. He gave his lecture at a conservative church but was heckled by members from a nearby progressive church who attended the lecture. There are progressive Christian churches that accept homosexuality. We know a lesbian couple that attends the progressive church. They are comitted Christians.
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 11:47 am
I can't say with any certainty, but my own observation has been that people are open to experimentation in their late teens and early twenties and so whatever they are or do then is not necessarily remotely related to what they are or do in later phases of their lives.

I had a roommate in college who was going out with a guy. She was nineteen or so - yeah - we were roommates my junior year when I was 20 and she was a year younger. During that year an older girl, about 23 came to school and she was an avowed lesbian - fairly militant - to the point that she gave me a hard time whenever my boyfriend came to the room, complaining about the 'hostile male energy' I was infilitrating the place with.
Then she and my roommate got together and we were all friends til I graduated first and went off. I kept in touch with the girl who'd been my roommate and so knew that she remained lesbian. The other girl who'd arrived lesbian and seemed firmly gay, I didn't keep in touch with, so I had no idea what happened to her.
Imagine my surprise when she friended me on facebook and I found that she's married with children, while my friend whose lesbianism seemed much less set in stone at the time I interacted with them is a confirmed single/gay/female with no kids.

Religion didn't enter into it with either of them- either for or against.
0 Replies
 
jcboy
 
  2  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 04:52 pm
I don’t believe it for a minute. I’ve been gay my whole life, even as a kid I knew I was going to be different, he can pretend to be straight all he wants, perhaps marry, have children if that’s what he chooses to do. I could have done the same thing but I chose to be happy and be who I really am.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 05:27 pm
@jcboy,
Everybody's different, even homosexuals. They don't all have your story.
jcboy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 05:33 pm
@Mame,
Quote:
Everybody's different, even homosexuals. They don't all have your story.


Oh so you think a gay man can live a straight live and be happy?
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 05:37 pm
@jcboy,
Then there's the Kinsey scale. People vary, however correct Kinsey might have been or not.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 05:44 pm
@jcboy,
jcboy wrote:

Quote:
Everybody's different, even homosexuals. They don't all have your story.


Oh so you think a gay man can live a straight live and be happy?


Not being gay, I don't know, but why do you assume your story is the same for every other gay man? Aren't some people 'bi'? So, there are different extents, are there not?
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Mon 20 Jun, 2011 06:37 pm
Upon reading this thread up pop an adv from match.com asking if I would like to meet single gays in the Miami area!

Seems like Robert is selling his soul and our souls to the website advertisers to allow that kind of targeting when reading a thread concerning gays.

No I am not annoy just amused as if I did not care for that kind of tracking I could had block it however it is still interesting.
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Tue 21 Jun, 2011 05:45 am
@BillRM,
Those ads keep this site free.

PS I read the article. I wonder if some of the allegedly converted, allegedly former gays are really people who are getting in touch with an asexual side of themselves. It's possible that the church is tapping into a latent feeling that these people have that, deep down, they don't really want to have sex with anybody.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Jun, 2011 06:38 am
@jespah,
The guy says that he's having sex with women now, and that he's as excited as a teenager about it...

I definitely think there is an experimentation aspect to all of this. I do wonder if we tend to lock people in to sexual identity too early. Gratze is unusual because by all appearances he was every bit as gay as Jcboy -- he self-identified as gay very early (13 I think) and stayed that way straight through to his late 20's. It wasn't just some college experimentation. (I definitely knew some LUGs -- Lesbians Until Graduation. [Thanks to Patiodog for the nomenclature.] I don't know if Annie was one or not, but she doesn't seem to really fit that mold.)

But I wonder if it may have been some Boy Scouts experimentation (there is a poem in the article that hints at this), that then stuck. He didn't think he could be bi, just gay or straight. And he went with gay, even though that's not completely where he was, sexually.

I do take issue with that in the gay community -- the idea that bisexuals are just in denial of their true gay/lesbian selves and are trying to pass. I think bisexuals exist, for sure.
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Tue 21 Jun, 2011 06:53 am
@sozobe,
Huh, I musta missed the sex with women part.

*I await for that to turn up in the perfect sig lines topic.

That's possible, that the guy felt obligated to choose one or the other, chose, and then realized there was a middle option and is pushing himself to the other extreme, as perhaps he's more like the middle. No doubt that there's a spectrum. I think a lot of folks are conditioned that it's one or the other, all or nothing. And it's not.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Tue 21 Jun, 2011 06:56 am
@sozobe,
One of my gay friends says that all men are gay...some are just in denial.

0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Tue 21 Jun, 2011 07:14 am
@jcboy,
jcboy wrote:

Quote:
Everybody's different, even homosexuals. They don't all have your story.

Oh so you think a gay man can live a straight live and be happy?

No, but your question seems to imply the same mistake that violent anti-gay activists often make: the notion that gay and straight are all-or-nothing attributes rather than end points in a continuum. My interpretation of Sozobe's story is that there are people near the middle of those spectrum who can sincerely self-identify as gay in one social environment and as straight in another. Sozobe's friend and Michael Glatze in the New York Times article may well be two of those people.
0 Replies
 
patiodog
 
  2  
Reply Tue 21 Jun, 2011 07:16 am
@sozobe,
I think you're probably onto something, at least in the case of your old friend, with the "belongingness" aspect here. I've spent almost my entire adult life in cities with very extensive lesbian communities -- I tried to think of a better way to phrase that, but I failed -- Santa Cruz, Seattle, Madison. In my own experience, as a male who always seems to end up with a large group of lesbian friends, there's been a certain welcoming vibe I get from my lesbian friends in these places that I don't necessarily feel in a predominantly hetero- or a predominantly gay male environment. There really is something aggressive and predatory about testosterone, I think, and it seems that diluting this element of social interaction just results in different types of interactions. And I have known women who I believe were similarly affected and self-identified as lesbians even though their own sexuality may not have run -- again, please excuse the inadequate phraseology -- as 100% gay. For certain personalities who may "really" be bi, alibidinous, or traumatized re: sex (e.g., victims of sexual abuse), choosing to align with the lesbian community can make a lot of sense and offer a lot of support. Of course, the same may be true for other folks with gay male community (though the social consequences of this choise in the U.S. would seem to be to be more forbidding), in a church, in A.A. -- whatever groups require of their members that they be more accepting of their own than of the average bear.

Of course, this may be bullshit, I don't know. Just what I've gleaned from my own experiences. Certainly my interactions with my lesbian friends and their friends and outward to what it still feels awkward to call "community" must be strongly colored by my own gender. That we have a common sexual appreciation but are unlikely to be in sexual competition or apposition removes tension from social interaction that is likely present for female members of the same group, just as many women enjoy friendships with gay men that have a sort of easy intimacy that they don't necessarily have with their straight male or female friends. Regardless, I do believe that sexuality is not as polarized as we tend to think of it as, and I am sure I have met women that self-identified as lesbians for non-sexual or at least non-obvious reasons. Can't say that I can say the same of men, but I've spent a lot less time in the gay male community and, as I mentioned earlier, I think the social resistance to male homosexuality is so much stronger than it is to female sexuality that it would probably prevent more bi or straight or asexual men from going down that path in pursuit of social acceptance. (But maybe if I'd lived in San Francisco instead of Santa Cruz, in New York instead of Seattle, I'd feel differently.)



Oh, yeah, and...
Quote:
The guy says that he's having sex with women now, and that he's as excited as a teenager about it...

...guys never, ever lie about their sexual appetite and prowess. In fact, if they have any doubts in this area, most men will speak openly and loudly about it.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Tue 21 Jun, 2011 11:29 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
He didn't think he could be bi, just gay or straight. And he went with gay, even though that's not completely where he was, sexually.

I think that hits the nail on the head. The subject of the article sounds like one of those guys who, when he identifies as something, it's as the most extreme form of that thing. When he was gay, he was radically gay. Then, when he turned Christian, he turned radically Christian. For him and others like him, I get the sense that there's no middle ground: you're either 100% one thing or 100% its opposite. Let's call it the "David Horowitz Syndrome." Those suffering from this syndrome not only distance themselves from their past, but violently react against and reject it.
0 Replies
 
JPhil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jun, 2011 08:53 am
@sozobe,
It's amazing how these so called gay Christians disregard the plan scripture of Leviticus 18:22.
patiodog
 
  4  
Reply Sat 25 Jun, 2011 09:01 am
@JPhil,
Quote:
Leviticus 19:19 Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woolen come upon thee.


No gardening, and check those clothes labels, folks.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Jun, 2011 02:43 pm
@patiodog,
It's called linsey woolsey. Got too expensive for common use lately.
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  3  
Reply Sat 25 Jun, 2011 05:01 pm
@JPhil,
It amazing that Christians who quote Leviticus concerning gays do not follow Leviticus in killing their children who talk back to them.
 

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