Beyond Ex-Gay

Part One—What I was After and Why?

Like many ex-gay survivors, for years I sought a miraculous transformation. I wanted to change from gay to straight—be it instantaneous or as a long-term process (but instantaneous would have been nice). At the time it seemed a reasonable and necessary step. Steeped in a world that insisted heterosexuality was normal, expected and ideal, I also learned that most folks believed that homosexuals were sick, dangerous, immoral, ungodly and abnormal. They even had Bible verses to support their claims (even if most of the people saying so didn't actually follow the rest of the Bible).

I received this message universally—on the playground, in the media and at church (first at the Roman Catholic Church of my early youth and then at string of other faith communities including Fundamentalist, Evangelical and ultimately Charismatic churches I attended over the next 17 years.)

No question about the message—gays are wrong—sinful, evil, ungodly, counter-Christian.

In my teens I also learned about Jesus and his “wonder working power,” and how “if any man (or woman) be in Christ Jesus he (or she) is a new creation. The old is gone behold all things are made new.”

If it were so unnatural and abnormal to have a homosexual orientation, and the power of Jesus through his death and resurrection was so supreme, surely the most logical prayer to cry out would be, “Jesus transform me by your power into a man of God, a non-gay man of God, a straight man of God.”

I heard slogans and testimonies that proclaimed, Change is Possible! and testimonies of how people found freedom from homosexuality through Jesus Christ. I did not read the fine print, Actual change in orientation not actually promised or guaranteed, since no such disclaimers existed at the time.

If I met people who suggested that God couldn’t change me thoroughly, I judged them to be a weak and questionable Christian. I made sure I never attended their church again, and moved on. I always found ministers—straight and ex-gay—who inferred or outright declared that I would experience a genuine inner transformation from my same-sex attractions.

I believed it so much that in faith, after a few years of celibacy, (although I didn’t call it that—I was just being faithful), I married a woman and lived heterosexually. My identity was as a Christian and a married man.

Part Two: What Happens When Change is NOT Possible?

Part Three: Living on the Outside