The old “pray the gay away” ideology is back in the news, thanks to Michele Bachman and her husband (who is so deep in the closet, he is battling a White Witch with Aslan in Narnia). I won’t be focusing on Bachman with this post, however, because I like to write about things that will be timeless, not flavors of the month.
This is not to say I imagine that Christians attempting to turn gay people straight will be a timeless theme, but it is a true symptom of the dysfunctional times we live in. But then again, so is Bachman.
At any rate, I will never understand the concept of praying the gay away. For one thing, I tried to basically pray my straightness away and it failed.
Let’s face it, it kind of sucks being a straight white male. Yeah, I’m an atheist, but that just isn’t outsider enough to get me an in with the publishing world. As it is, I’m just another angry white guy. Now, if I was a snarky gay guy, I am confident I could get somewhere in the writing world (or just fall back on writing plays).
But alas, despite my best efforts to get turned on by cock, I find myself drawn back to tits time and again. I’m just not attracted to guys, unless they have an amazing rack.
I think it’s basically impossible to have a conscious influence on what turns a person on. Sure, you could hook someone up to a machine and shock them if they get aroused at “inappropriate” pictures, and that has been done with gay people. But those guys didn’t turn straight, they just get turned on by being electrically shocked now.
I feel like attraction can expand, but it can’t contract. I imagine if you are attracted to something now, you will probably always be attracted to it. Over time, exposure to other things may cause you to be turned on by other things as well, but don’t we ultimately have all the old favorites to fall back on? Who hasn’t rubbed one out to the bra section of the Kohl’s catalogue just out of sheer pre-internet nostalgia?
Yet, many Christians willingly subject themselves to de-gayification, while others are forced into it. I don’t know how these programs are formed, because they have nothing to go on here. They are completely winging it, and it’s amazing that they can get people to trust them when these programs clearly have no idea what they’re doing.
For one thing, I can tell you up front: it’s not a good idea to concentrate gay people in one place if you don’t want them having sex. Some kids raised in rural areas come out to their parents and get sent off to be “corrected,” and in the process are exposed to more gay guys than they’ve ever met before in their life. This is tantamount to holding a diabetes support group in a candy store.
I’m just saying, if I was going to set about trying to get a gay guy to have sex with a woman, I wouldn’t surround him with gay guys, I would keep him in a room with a bunch of fag hags and wine.
Another strange phenomenon is how many of the people who run these operations are “formerly” gay. Again, I question the logic here, because why would you trust a guy who claims he prayed his gay away when he opens a business aimed exclusively at servicing gay people?
Trying to explain any of this to a religious person who sees nothing wrong with trying to “cure” homosexuality can be frustrating. First of all, they think prayer will just magically work, so they would write off all of the points I just made as denying the power of Christ. Secondly, trying to convey how offensive this is to gay people is tough. There is no adequate comparison. To suggest it is similar to sending a kid off to “de-religion” camp because I think religion is a disease doesn’t really do the situation justice, but it’s as close as I can get.
Ultimately, parents need to learn that they’re better off if they back off on matters like this. There is nothing more damaging than forcing something on a kid, because even if they might have one day come around to it, shoving your preference down their throat is liable to turn them off to what you want them to do, even to the point of causing neurosis.
And in the end, people are going to be who they’re going to be. For people claiming to be Christians, a group that lives by the mantra that “everyone is a sinner,” a strange amount of significance has been put on the sin of homosexuality.
Suppose it is a sin, a homosexual hurts no one but themselves and willing people. Why do we not have camps to send people off to for lying, or stealing, or bullying, or gossiping, or inhospitality? You know, stuff that actually affects other people. For some reason, making sure no one is butt-fucking behind closed doors is a major priority for some people.
And I can think of only one reason, itself a sin: that of coveting.