Beyond Ex-Gay

A Biblically Induced Coma

By Peterson Toscano


Image of man in gas maskBrain research reveals that when we experience fear, neural pathways in our brains shut down affecting the transfer of ideas, thought processes and memory.

As an educational consultant, I once tried an experiment on a group of teachers. Once we determined their academic weaknesses, we then forced them to work within those weaknesses.

The results?

The teachers could not follow directions, did not stay on-task and became loud and disruptive. Fear affected their thinking.

Add shame to the mix and the brain shuts down even more. Think of the student with math-phobia who instead of studying for the big algebra exam, chatted on-line all night. In the morning, sitting for the test, the student forgets the little s/he once knew and freezes. The student may even act irrationally.

Nowhere does the toxic blend of fear and shame reach critical mass more than in the conservative church, particularly for those of us with same-sex attractions. For years I lived in a state of suspended animation, paralyzed by shameful sexual desire and terrified of what would happen to this “sinner in the hands of an angry god.”

My feelings held me in the grip of a Biblically Induced Coma. Trapped as a teenager, I spent 17 years and over $30,000 trying to be something I could never be.Image of man with his arms wide open to the sea

Richard Chamberlain, the actor and 1970’s sex symbol, lived in the closet most of his life. In Hollywood, surrounded by homosexuals and the liberal media, Chamberlain still felt shame about who he was as a gay man and fear for the consequences should he be found out. Finally, in his late sixties, as he wrote his autobiography, he broke free.

“I was 68 years old, and suddenly, it was as if this angelic hand touched the top of my head and said, “Enough! This is the silliest lot of nonsense that you’ve ever been involved with.”

(-Richard Chamberlain, actor and author of Shattered Love. From interview in Bay Area Reporter 11 November 2004)

I hope Chamberlain’s divine messenger has not yet retired, because loads of people, saddled with fear and shame heaped on them by society desperately need to be touched by an angel.