John Paulk, self-acclaimed "ex-gay" and gender specialist at Focus on the Family, cries out for affirmation of his status as "ex-gay" in newspaper ad after article after speech. He wants that recognition from the gay community.
John, hon, I feel your pain. I affirm your status. I believe you believe you are an "ex-gay." But, John, I have to go on what I know, and that tells me that you are not. I don't believe it.
Allow me to explain.
I was born gay. Now I know you won't agree with that and will quote studies that support your view, and I could, with relative ease, do likewise. I am speaking from what I know deep inside of me and what I have always known.
99.999999 percent of us who say we are gay deeply believe we were born this way, and nothing will ever change that.
Yet I believe that there are a few (that .000001 percent) who are acting out the gay lifestyle but are not among those born that way. Something, perhaps the fabled butch mother and wimpy father, contributed to them being who they are not.
Truth is, John, there are many more people living heterosexual lifestyles because of societal and family pressures who were born gay than there are those of the opposite ilk, and they are most often miserable, unhappy and unfulfilled.
The problem with your reparative therapy, John, is that it doesn't seek to repair but rather to recast and remold. If it were an honest therapy, it would seek to make people happy and well-adjusted to who they are -- who God, if you will, made them to be -- and help them to lead productive and happy lives.
Instead, it uses techniques akin to cult brainwashing to try to make them into someone they aren't. You may change their "behavior," but you do not change who they are. What you do make, except possibly that .000001 percent, is thousands of miserable, unhappy people who either force themselves into your mold or run from you as fast as they can. Most run.
Those that run suffer years of trying to find balance and equilibrium again.
You leave them caught between two worlds, one hating who they are and the other knowing they must be who they are. Those who stay who are gay say they still have dreams -- they still have desires. I believe you have said this, John.
Reparative therapy groups have or publish no statistics, give no evidence of success beyond showing a few front people in ads and programs, because the statistics they have, if honestly presented, will not bear up their claims. I know personally of hundreds who have gone through such programs and have escaped, many of whom, at one time, were poster people or leaders for them. I have heard their horror stories.
John, I am saddened by the drug- and promiscuity-addled life you have reported you led. But that you led such a diminutive lifestyle, sought the crutch of drugs and alcohol and generally debauched yourself, is not how the overwhelming majority of gays and lesbians live, just as it is not how the overwhelming majority of straight people live.
Straight or gay, we need to reach out to these people and help them find a better way of life. A part of that comes with accepting themselves and learning to love themselves for who they are, allowing them to build some self-esteem.
I believe you believe you are an "ex-gay." Yet if I am to factor in my experience, I have to believe you are not. I believe you are either living a lifestyle that has been programmed into you against who you really are, or that you were one of those very few who were not gay but were living that lifestyle. Either way, I hope you find happiness.
Finally, John, you would do a better service in helping those who come to your reparative therapy programs by assisting those who are questioning their sexuality and helping them build self-esteem and a view of self-worth. That will lead them into happy lives, rather than molding them into something they are not.
Most have come to you not because they are ill as gays and lesbians, but rather because they are infected with the judgment and hate that society has heaped on them wrongly. Cure that ill, John, and you will accomplish something.