Sunday, August 21, 2005

re: what does ex-gay mean

Comment submitted to ex-gay Ben's blog,, in response to his post, what does exgay mean?: As pointed out by Nick, the definition of "ex-gay" depends on one's definition of "gay". I believe "gay" is most often used to describe people who have mostly same-sex attractions - regardless if their attractions are wanted or unwanted. However, in the context of one's ex-gay struggle, "gay" means self-acceptence of same-sex attractions. Therefore, "ex-gay" would mean someone who no longer accepts their same-sex attractions as in, "I'm no longer identify myself as gay." However, "ex-gay" doesn't necessarily mean loss of same-sex attractions. Most ex-gay ministries I know of are very careful to insert disclaimers into their programs that the purpose of their ministries is not to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals. (And yet, ex-gays who are heterosexually married are more often promoted as successful examples than single ex-gays who continue to struggle.) Many ex-gay promoters like to use the alcoholics analogy -- especially when responding to low ex-gay success rates and ex-exgays. The important difference is that the first step for most alcoholics is to take on the identify of an "alcoholic" and to understand that it will be a life-long characteric (hence, "one day at a time"). Although most ex-gays admit continuing same-sex attractions, I don't believe most ex-gay ministries describe the ex-gay lifestyle as a daily, life-long struggle (or battle) as recovering alcoholics might. So, I would say "ex-gay" describes a person's particular viewpoint regarding their same-sex attractions. The ex-gay ministry I attended was very reluctant to use the "ex-gay", because its definition isn't quite clear. But they did use term because it was a convenient short-hand term than "homosexual-who-is-striving-toward-sexually/spiritual-wholeness". Norm!

No comments: