Obviously I have not been updating this blog frequently or even irregularly at this point. This is not to say that I have not been accurately aware of when people comment or even the general stats of the blog. I have just been very preoccupied with the typical: writing essays, theorizing, waging unending blood war against the religious and political Right, and huffing fairy dust(*) (you know, the typical young adult stuff). However, I have not forgotten about the people who view my posts. I still intend on creating original multi-media content when I am able to buy a new computer but until that magically day I am moribund with my junker. But since I will be making an effort to post a least a little more frequently, and while I whittle away on my newest advice guide for ya’ll, I wanted to just post this hold-over until I am able to post something more substantial. It is just a compendium of useful posts for the wandering teen or young adult to enjoy, posts which I believe in some way of value to anyone willing to click on a site with the word “Queer” in the title. Enjoy!
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The Gay Guide to High School: A primer (of sorts) concerning some situations which you may encounter at some time in high school. Though the post/short story itself is short, there are many additional comments left by others users and myself which expound upon the core material.
Cyber-Bullying: How to Prevent and Manage Online Harassment: Online can be fun and harmful. Predators are everywhere and though the comments section on a politically charged story often come with more than one politically incorrect surprise, with this guide you will know that you are not alone nor the only one with a bit of hesitation about the internet.
Overcoming Obsession: Outgrowing Infatuation with Straight Peers: Every gay kid knows the feeling– that moment when you realize you have fallen for someone who is totally straight; the sadness, awkward feeling and loneliness. It weighs on you night and day and doesn’t make seeing him around school any easier. Read this post to gain some helpful advice on how to handle these less-than-awesome feelings.
Queer Forward: Resisting Bigotry and Struggling for Social Change: Although this post only applies to people with a hankering for activism, and has some protocol/situational advice which is only useful in large cities, I think the general contents will be of interest to anyone wanting to help alter their community for the better.
Personal Stories: Queers Talk about “Coming Out” and Accepting Themselves
Coming Out: The Inner War: I, the blogmaster (TGU), share my coming out story. Dramatic and lovely, if you enjoy reading tales of people revealing their true selves, then you will want to give this a glance.
Love and Support: Why they are Needed: An entry which discusses the virtues of a loving family and the support they can offer to their kids who are still struggling with their own identities.
Defending Queers: The Queering of Life
The Ex-Gay Myth: A polemic concerning the fallacies of the so-called “Ex-Gay” movement and why they are liars, hypocrites, and delusional and self-loathing persons who harm the liberation movement.
In Defense of Gay Pride: In a time when so many supposedly proud gay men and lesbian women feel the need to attack the concept of Gay Pride, due to ignorant and misplaced idealism, this posts argues decisively in favor of pride as both a tool for self-empowerment, as well as a political weapon against the right-wing.
(*) Warning: Tinker Bell is a pain in the butt to catch and much crankier when you do… proceed with caution!
For decades now the religious right has espoused the antiquated belief that through faith, prayer, and submission to god a homosexual person can be converted to heterosexuality. This is an outright lie. An individual’s sexual orientation is an inborn and unchangeable feature about them and cannot be changed, altered, or ‘morphed’ under any circumstances or settings. Testimonials to the contrary are usually short lived opinions by people who later discover that they simply repressed their feelings instead of changing. The bigots on the right, and in some cases the left, hold up discredited pseudo-science as their guiding light and worm in under democratic freedoms their supposed right to spew their hate but such language has long been fought and will continue to be fought.
Ever since American Psychiatric Association (A.P.A) removed homosexuality from their list of diseases in 1973 the social landscape began to shift towards a more enlightened understanding. Activism picked up in areas where gay and lesbian participation was previously unseen and more and more civil rights were being won in states all across the United States and indeed the world. From the A.P.A’s monumental decision other health organizations followed. Soon all the major psychological associations removed homosexuality from their respective lists and the public gradually swayed to the side of progressive change.
However, not all embraced the changes, for American society had long been ruled by conservative and liberal hatemongers who understood little about their own sexual orientation other than their lust for women. Naturally, with such ignorance pervading society many reactionary groups sprung up to oppose further progress. From this backlash emerged the ultimate perversion: religious backed “Ex-Gay Ministries.”
With the first “Ex-Gay” ministry founded in the same year that the A.P.A removed homosexuality as a disease the religious right showed that they intended to fight progress at any cost. Love In Action was the first “Ex-Gay” ministry and fell apart relatively quickly when one of the founders, Jack McIntyre, committed suicide after not being able to change, and another left after realizing that changing was impossible.
After Rev. Kent Philpott wrote his infamous book, The Third Sex, which featured six homosexuals who had claimed to convert to heterosexuality (though it was later revealed that all the individuals did in fact not change but simply suppressed their feelings) dozens of other “reorientation ministries” popped up claiming to “help” those “struggling” with unwanted homosexuality. It would only be a few years later, in September of 1976, that the largest “Ex-Gay” ministry, Exodus International, would be created thus launching the struggle for gay pride and identity into a deadly fight for survival.
The techniques employed by so called “Ex-gay” therapists are cultish at best. Among the list of stunning mind-control and alteration demands are, according to gay wonder blog Truth Wins Out: “snapping a rubber band on your wrist every time you are aroused by another man (or another woman if you are a lesbian), looking at a tree/wall and repeatedly saying that it is a color which it isn’t and forcing yourself to believe it, always striving to win otherwise defeat will cause homosexual thoughts, conversion through hypnosis, playing sports will make you a heterosexual (assuming that no homosexuals happily play sports), and gaining weight. Needless to say none of these ridiculous methods will cure anything, let alone “convert” someone to a foreign orientation. However, to gain a real appreciation for how absurd these techniques are hear some quotes from the wackjobs themselves…
‘My weight started to increase, and I found little desire to keep on a strict diet and stay fashionably slim. My very appearance was changing. I was looking less and less gay. And I was perfectly happy about it.’(John Paulk, Author, Not Afraid to Change)
‘I would start to experience a sexual response… So I would look out my car window and say something like, “Gosh, Lord, there’ a tree out there! That tree is green, and has leaves on it. It’ got brown bark.’ I would fix my mind on anything to distract myself…Over time, that made me mentally disciplined enough to displace all lesbian thoughts, period.’(Anne Paulk, Co-Author, “Love Won Out”)
‘When we consider that there is no objective distinction between homosexuality and the other perversions, we can easily see how the development of the homosexual “habit’ fits into this framework (of cures through medication). Some [homosexuals]…are being successfully treated with Prozac. Here too, sexual reorientation is reported to have occurred incidentally.’ (Dr. Jeffrey Satinover , M.D., Author, “Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth”)
‘Non-homosexual men who experience defeat and failure may also experience homosexual fantasies or dreams.’ (Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality)”
The list goes on and on.
“Ex-Gay” Scandals: Caught in the Lie
If there is one thing that so-called “Ex-Gays” are proficient at it is lying through their deluded teeth.Over the courseof the “Ex-Gay” movement there have been several high profile defections and scandals which prove the asinine claims of change are faulty.
On September 19th, 2000 Jon Paulk, chairman of Exodus International, was photographed at a gay bar in Washington D.C. The incident cost him his job at Exodus.
In 2003 Michael Johnston, founder of The National Coming Out of Homosexuality Day, resigned after allegations rose that he had sex with men he had met on the internet.
“…In 2000, Wade Richards appeared as a media spokesperson for a group called the Saviors Alliance for Lifting the Truth and gave his testimony of “change” at a major press conference sponsored by right-wing zealot Peter LaBarbera, who now works at Americans For Truth. But a year later, Richards rebuked the “ex-gay” ministries when he came out in an interview with the Advocate magazine…
… In the early 1970′ Gary Cooper and Michael Bussee were counselors at an “ex-gay” ministry in Anaheim, Calif. In 1976, they organized the first national conference of “ex-gay” ministries. At this conference, Exodus International was formed and it is now the world’ largest “ex-gay” organization. While traveling on behalf of Exodus, the two men acknowledged that they had not changed and were in love with each other. They soon divorced their wives, moved in together and held a commitment ceremony. In 2006, Bussee apologized at an Ex-Gay Survivors Conference for his key role in starting Exodus International…”
Colin Cook, founder of Homosexuals Anonymous, found his career had collapsed after it was discovered he had been giving nude massages to his patients. Later, when he was once more in the “Ex-Gay” industry, he once more found his career in jeopardy after accusations of phone sex, hugging and other such behavior surfaced.
“…In 1987, Jeremy Marks founded Courage, London’ first “ex-gay” ministry. In 2001, after nearly 15 years of watching people – including himself – struggle in vain to “change”, he renounced Exodus, saying that they were failing in their efforts to change peoples’ sexual orientation…
Desert Stream ministries acknowledged in their Mid-Year 2001 Report that, ‘At the end of 2000, we faced an unusual number of Desert-Stream-related leaders who fell into sexual sin, or who at least demonstrated a colossal lack of wisdom in their social choices…Several were placed on different plans of discipline and restoration.’
In its Summer 2003 newsletter, Portland Fellowship announced that its long-time director Phil Hobizal was stepping down because of an “emotional entanglement” with a man.
In Sept. 2007, ex-gay therapist Christopher Austin was convicted of sexually assaulting a client.
In 2002, therapist Richard Cohen, former president of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) and head of the International Healing Foundation (IHF) was permanently expelled [from] the American Counseling Association.”
As any with a functioning brain can see the scandals of the “Ex-gay” movement spread far and wide. The statistics of those who “relapsed” back into homosexuality are expectedly high as well as those who later came out and said that “Ex-Gay” therapy is bogus and cannot change anything about you, let along your sexual orientation.
The glaring inconsistencies listed above are, of course, the more prominent. One cannot overlook the countless scandals which involved “Ex-Gay therapists” sexually abusing their clients, activists being convicted on child pornography, and a vast multitude of other hypocrisies and societal cancers reflected in the behaviors of such people.
The “Ex-Gay” industry is built on occurrences like this because no amount of “therapy,” prayer, worship, or faith will ever change a person’s sexual orientation or identity. The most one can hope for is denial and repression. However, since the vast majority of people do not deal well with denial they inevitably end up ‘spilling the beans’ and confessing to the deranged nature of “reorientation” techniques.
With California the first such state to officially ban all so-called “reparative therapy” earlier in 2012 truly the signs are there which show that not only are the “Ex-gays” a severely repressed group of society but that civilization at large is coming to reject their asinine espousals as well.
Real Science: The Biological Evidence of Innate Development
Now that you have heard the ridiculous claims made by the religious right it is time to hear the evidence which asserts that sexual orientation is an inborn trait and is not something “chosen” by the individual.
“In 1993, the National Institute of Health’ Dean Hamer illustrated that homosexuality might be inherited from the mother by her sons through a specific region of the X chromosome (Xq28). Hamer demonstrated this by noting that 33 out of 40 pairs of homosexual brothers whom he studied showed the same variation in the tip of the chromosome.”– Hamer DH, Hu S, Magnuson VL, Hu N. and Pattatucci AML. A linkage between DNA markers on the X chromosome and male sexual orientation. Science 1993; 261:320-326.
“A June 2006 Canadian study published in the journal, “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” said that nature, instead of nurture, explains the origins of homosexuality. The study’ author, Prof. Anthony F. Bogaert, at Brock University in Ontario, explored the causes behind what is known as the fraternal birth order. The research showed a correlation between the number of biological older brothers a man has and his sexual orientation. Dividing his sample of more than 900 heterosexual and homosexual men into four groups, Bogaert examined the impact of all types of older brothers, including step and adopted siblings, and the amount of time brothers spent together while growing up.His research found that only the number of biological brothers had an impact on sexuality, regardless of whether the boys were raised together.”– Bogaert, A.F. 2006. Biological versus nonbiological older brothers and men’s sexual orientation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103 July 11 2006.
* “A study released in May 2006 by Swedish scientists demonstrates that biology plays a key role in determining a person’ sexuality. The research shows that the portion of the brain that helps regulate sexuality — the hypothalamus – reacted the exact same way in straight women and gay men when exposed to male pheromones, which are chemicals designed to provoke a behavior, such as sexual arousal. The same area of the brain only became stimulated in heterosexual men when introduced to female pheromones.”– by Ivanka Savic article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, (PNAS) “Brain Response To Putative Pheromones In Homosexual Men,” (Vol. 102 No. 19) May 10, 2005.
* “In 2005, Dr. Brian Mustanski of the University of Illinois at Chicago published a study in the esteemed biomedical journal Human Genetics, claiming he identified three chromosomal regions linked to sexual orientation in men: 7q36, 8p12 and 10q26.”– “A Genomewide Scan of Male Sexual Orientation”, Human Genetics, Vol. 116, No. 4, pp. 272-278, 2005.
* “In 2003, University of Texas psychoacoustics specialist Dennis McFadden found that when measuring the way the brain reacts to sound, lesbians fell in between heterosexual men and straight women, suggesting they might be exposed to higher than normal levels of male hormone in utero.”– Loehlin, John C.; McFadden, David. “Otoacoustic emissions, auditory evoked potentials, and traits related to sex and sexual orientation”. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 1 April 2003.
* “In 2003, University of Liverpool biologist John T. Manning found that the lesbians whom he studied have a hand pattern that resembles a man’ more than a straight female’. Manning concluded from his study that this “strongly tells us that female homosexuals have had higher levels of exposure to testosterone before birth.”– Neave, N., Laing, S., Fink, B., Manning, J.T (2003) Second to fourth digit ratio, testosterone, and perceived male dominance. Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Lond), 270, 2167-2172.
* “A 1991 study by Dr. Simon LeVay found that a specific region of the hypothalamus is twice as large in heterosexual men as it is in women or gay men. This strongly points the role of biology in sexual orientation.”– Levay, Simon “A difference in hypothalamic structure between homosexual and heterosexual men” Science. 1991 Volume 253, Issue 5023, pp. 1034-1037.
* “Another 1991 study by scientists Richard Pillard and John M. Baily studied homosexuality among brothers and found that 53 percent of identical twins were both gay. In adoptive brothers, 11 percent were both homosexual. Of non-twin biological siblings, 9 percent were gay. Again, this points to solid evidence that homosexuality is a matter of nature.”– Bailey JM, Pillard RC (1991). A genetic study of male sexual orientation. Archives of General Psychiatry, 48, 1089-1096.
* “The JUN/JUL 2006 issue of Seed Magazine points out that at least 450 vertebrate species engage in homosexual behavior.”– Lehrer, Jonah. “The Gay Animal kingdom” Seed Magazine. Jun/Jul 2006.”
AS you can Cleary see the evidence overwhelmingly points to inborn, genetic factors which determine one’s sexual orientation, and NOT choice, molestation, sex, rape, or any other garbage fantasy imagined by the bigotedly ignorant.
The “Ex-Gay” Assault on Youth and Education
Despite this mountain of evidence that proves “Ex-Gay” therapy false the religious right not only continues their battle to misinform but brings their crusade into the realm of public education.
Some wide, and potent, examples of the religiously deluded attempting to, and sometimes succeeding, in their hateful war are as follows…
“ …On May 2, 2006, Orlando-based Liberty Counsel and Washington-based Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) launched their joint “Change is Possible Campaign.” The goal is to threaten schools with frivolous lawsuits unless they allow the scientifically bankrupt message of ex-gays into classrooms.
The Christian Post reported in April 2006 that Liberty Counsel will ask students to distribute literature and put up posters promoting ex-gay messages. “We also encourage them to start Gay to Straight Clubs, and ask that the ex-gay viewpoint be included in all diversity day presentations that discuss homosexuality,” said a statement from the law firm.
Viroqua High School, near La Crosse, Wisconsin, cancelled Diversity Day in March 2006 after the Liberty Counsel threatened a lawsuit unless “ex-gays” were allowed to participate.
A high school in New Hampshire invited ex-gay activist Aaron Shorey to present his story on Civil Rights Day last year. He’s working with several other New England schools to get permission for similar presentations. The ex-gay group Inqueery, based in Des Moines, has also sent speakers to public high schools. In Boulder, Colo., educators are considering including an ex-gay pamphlet in a resource guide to help teachers handle questions about sexuality.
Similar lawsuits may be filed in New Jersey where Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH) is seeking parents and students willing to sue to get the ex-gay view into schools.
In 2005, a federal judge sided with PFOX in a lawsuit against a Maryland school district. PFOX had sued to block the district’s new sex-education curriculum, arguing that its treatment of homosexuality was biased. The judge wrongly agreed that students should hear pseudo-science and PFOX now has a seat on the committee charged with drafting new lesson plans.”
When dealing with the religious right it is important to remember that they are not interested in democracy or freedom but rather only in their own twisted theocratic version of America. They will bully, intimidate, and coerce their view anywhere which it is not already present.
The “Ex-Gay” target youth because “children” are often the most venerable members of our society. Still mired in the pit of adolescence and all the sexual frustration that goes with ‘coming of age’ the theocrats need the clocks to turn back to a time when all signs of Queer culture and identity were violently erased. Since this condition no longer exists in many European and American societies they are reduced to petty indoctrination. Ignoring the fact that the “Ex-Gay” industry actively has within its ranks people who fake to be “Ex-Gay” in exchange for money, the monetary attraction is another primary reason why many so called “Ex-Gay therapists” have arisen; guilt, hatred, a way out all have common endnote- money; money which goes straight in the pockets of homophobes and sell-outs. Making a quick buck has never been more deadly.
This is the realty of the “Ex-Gay” movement: a mass of hypocritical, hatemongering, zealots which bully their way into schools, recruit the young to their deluded message, and spread forth lies. There is nothing remotely true in the words of such preachers. If there are any redeeming qualities it is that some have seen ‘the light’ and have fought back against the hate.
There is no such thing as “Ex-Gay,” Only people who have deluded themselves into believing that they have changed. No amount of prayer, worship, faith, or “therapy” will ever cause someone to change sexual orientation. Everyone is inborn with an orientation and such a concrete fact is unbreakable and unchangeable.