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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ex-Gays Give Up on the Whole "Ex-Gay" Thing

Posted by on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Last week the head of Exodus International—the biggest and oldest pray-away-the-gay ministry in the world—made waves when he told us something we already knew: ex-gays aren't ex-gay.

Mr. Chambers said that virtually every “ex-gay” he has ever met still harbors homosexual cravings, himself included. Mr. Chambers, who left the gay life to marry and have two children, said that gay Christians like himself faced a lifelong spiritual struggle to avoid sin and should not be afraid to admit it.

So if Exodus and other ex-gay ministries can't make gay men straight—if they can't pray away the gay—what can they do for us? According to Chambers, Exodus (and Jesus!) can help us struggle against our natural, inborn, un-pray-away-able desires so that we can marry opposite-sex partners and crap out some kids. With Exodus's help gay people can live as heterosexual even if we're not, you know, actually heterosexuals. And we never will be. But to live that heterosexual lifestyle you have to want to live a heterosexual lifestyle. You gotta want it bad.

Gosh... where have we heard this shit before?

You're a sad and pathetic man. You're a homosexual and you don't want to be. But there's nothing you can do to change it. Not all your prayers to your God. Not all the analysis you can buy in all the years you've got left to live. You may very well one day be able to know a heterosexual life. If you want it desperately enough. If you pursue it with the ferver with which you annihilate. But you'll always be homosexual as well. Always, Michael. Always.

So we've gone from Boys in the Band to Stonewall through forty years of the gay rights movement and forty years of an anti-gay backlash funded by the religious right and twenty years of an ex-gay "movement" that promised "freedom from homosexuality"... only to arrive right back where we started: Alan Chambers is a sad and pathetic man. He's a homosexual and he doesn't want to be. But there's nothing he can do to change it. Not all the prayers to his God could change it. Still, Alan Chambers knows a heterosexual life. Because he wants it desperately enough. But Alan Chambers is still a homosexual and he always will be. Always.


Comments (62) RSS

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Best one-two punch of clips in ages!
Posted by gloomy gus on July 11, 2012 at 3:23 PM · Report this
I'd like to point out that Alan Chambers did not "leave the gay life" to marry a woman. He married a woman. Period. There's no such thing as a "gay life" to leave. We are gay people and we live. Some of us live open, honest lives of integrity and some live like Alan Chambers but none of us live " the gay life."
Posted by Samuel on July 11, 2012 at 3:25 PM · Report this
Original Andrew 4
My gawd I'm having hummuhseckshal cravings right now!
Posted by Original Andrew on July 11, 2012 at 3:37 PM · Report this
Hernandez 5
@3 I'm with you. In the back of my mind I sort of hope that Mrs. Chambers has no sex drive or something like that, so she's not actually being deprived of anything she'd miss. But then again, it was her choice to enter her sham marriage so that bigots around the country could point to Mr. Chambers while persecuting gay people, so in the end I guess she deserves whatever misery she's left with.
Posted by Hernandez on July 11, 2012 at 3:49 PM · Report this
and how exactly is this fair to the (presumably) heterosexual women they marry? talk about a mixed-libido relationship. i hope those ladies are paying attention to your "monogamish" letters and posts!
Posted by martarose on July 11, 2012 at 3:50 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 7
He, like so many over the centuries, is a victim of Jesus. His life is made a horror by Jesus. Poor guy is just to stupid to see it.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on July 11, 2012 at 3:56 PM · Report this
Pick1 8
Is it really going to make progress though? When I hear stuff like this I can see one could use some of your own ideas against you in this one. Maybe you could help me see the difference.

For example your idea of the 'good pedophile' (someone who has a sexual attraction to children but never acts on it) is doing a good job with his life. We might applaud him for moving on, getting married, and having children despite the fact that those urges might never go away.

I know, I know, before you jump down my throat. I understand the difference between homosexuality and pedophilia, (lawfully and morally) that there is a huge difference. But the religious wingnuts DO NOT. If anything their actions show that they hold pedophiles in higher regard than homosexuals.

So if a pedophile can, and should, do it, why not homosexuals? That could be a religious wingnut response, and how do you counter it? You can go to the "between consenting adults" is much different but they view the two in the same light. Both are sinful.

I'm not trying to troll, I'm genuinely curious about the thoughts.
Posted by Pick1 on July 11, 2012 at 3:56 PM · Report this
quix 9
@7: Jesus said fuck all about homosexuality. His followers have said plenty, but he himself (or He Himself) is not recorded as having said anything. Let's not blame the man for the appalling acts of some of his followers.
Posted by quix on July 11, 2012 at 4:06 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 10
@8 A person deserves to have a happy life. But somebody's right to happiness does not give them the right to violate another's rights. See?
Posted by Pope Peabrain on July 11, 2012 at 4:07 PM · Report this
Pick1 11
@10 That's a good one thank you.

I do want to qualify my question as to why I asked it. As a proponent of equality in a shithole like Utah, I read these articles and instead of seeing "hey, look! small steps towards progress!" I see something different. I see them hunkering down to a more defensible position.

"Pray away the gay!" is stupid and useless and one can point to dozens of studies that say "Uh, no you can't!"

However, the position of "Yes, you'll still be a homosexual, but your love of Jesus can help you shun your earthly, sinful desires. Just look at all these successful examples!" isn't as easy to counter.

I might just be a pessimist though.
Posted by Pick1 on July 11, 2012 at 4:17 PM · Report this
seatackled 12
and how exactly is this fair to the (presumably) heterosexual women they marry?


As if they care about being fair to women.
Posted by seatackled on July 11, 2012 at 4:24 PM · Report this
Irena 13
@8: Why not homosexuals? Because they don't have to.

The more freedom society and the law grant them, the less reason to subject themselves to the misery of a sexless and repressed life. And the religious right knows it.

I see where your pessimism comes from. Sure, there will probably always be closeted religious gays. But their numbers are eroding, and they will keep eroding, because the tide has turned and there ain't no going back.

This was a devastating post, Dan. Well fucking done.
Posted by Irena on July 11, 2012 at 4:29 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 14
@9 Jesus was a fanatical rabbi. He purposely spawned an evil religion despite what we've been told. A good man doesn't create a religion that savagely murders, plunders and rapes. Let alone all the people burned alive and tortured for not buying his bullshit. And clearly they are no different today. It's still Jesus bullshit.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on July 11, 2012 at 4:39 PM · Report this
If only the closeted gays could hook up with the closeted lesbians and do their hetreo-wannabe thing together instead of dragging (2,000,000 by Dr Amity Bruxton's estimate) straights into it.

Would that be better for the resulting kids? While they wouldn't grow up seeing parents in love or in lust with each other, they would avoid seeing the conflicts, guilt, and feelings of inadequancy of an unacknowledged mixed-orientation marriage.
Posted by DAVIDinKENAI on July 11, 2012 at 5:02 PM · Report this
Pick1 17
@15 Kinda like how the church BELIEVED that slavery was okay, or how they BELIEVED that non-virgin women who marry should be stoned to death, or how they BELIEVED that eating shellfish was wrong.

There's the problem with using an unchanging piece of text as a cornerstone of Faith. Beliefs and people adapt and change. Mindsets change. People learn, grow and develop. The texts do not.

So the belief that it's sinful has to have LEGITIMATE reason now. That's the change that is slowly being acknowledged by the church.

The Bible wasn't written by infallible people without bias. Even the church acknowledges this when they say "Jesus was the only perfect being." So unless Jesus mentions homosexuality as an abomination....(Hint: he didn't) then the text itself is not infallible.
Posted by Pick1 on July 11, 2012 at 5:08 PM · Report this
Noadi 18
@14 I'm going to assume for the sake of argument that Jesus existed and the Gospels are correct about the things he said. Jesus preached for peace, forgiveness, and helping others and the early history of Christianity saw his followers doing precisely that. Things started to change as Paul gained popularity among early Christians but it wasn't until several centuries after Jesus' death that you see violence condoned by the Church. As much as I dislike religion in general I can't see how someone can be blamed for his followers doing what he preached against centuries after his death. If anything the history of Christianity is a great lesson in how true "power corrupts" really is.
Posted by Noadi on July 11, 2012 at 5:10 PM · Report this
Mark in Colorado 19
@14 Absolutely wonderful! Kudos!

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the bible is overpriced toilet paper.
Posted by Mark in Colorado on July 11, 2012 at 5:17 PM · Report this
@19 That is at its best extremely rude and more accurately extremely ignorant.

Lovecraft, Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Federalist Papers all have outdated, sometimes harmful stuff in them. So why do people still read them at home and at universities? Because there's good stuff too.
Posted by DRF on July 11, 2012 at 5:23 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 21
Why is "choosing" to be Homosexual so easy while "choosing" to be Heterosexual is so hard?
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on July 11, 2012 at 5:40 PM · Report this
@20 but people don't hold those texts up as moral codes or religious doctrine or objective truth or a basis for denying rights. So we don't have any reason to reject them due to their unsavory content. The Bible itself says you can either accept it in whole or go to hell; it doesn't leave a lot of room to appreciate it merely as a piece of literature. When no one considers it a holy text, then we can treat it as a secular text.
Posted by wxPDX on July 11, 2012 at 5:49 PM · Report this
Daddy Love 24
You can't fix stupid.
Posted by Daddy Love on July 11, 2012 at 6:04 PM · Report this
Daddy Love 25
BTW, Jesus did kiss one or more guys, or so I recall reading..
Posted by Daddy Love on July 11, 2012 at 6:06 PM · Report this
Dear God, how I loathe The Boys in the Band.
Posted by SolM on July 11, 2012 at 6:13 PM · Report this
I Hate Screen Names 27
The Onion is all over this shit:…
Posted by I Hate Screen Names on July 11, 2012 at 6:15 PM · Report this
OutInBumF 28
@21- FTW. My question exactly and always.
Posted by OutInBumF on July 11, 2012 at 6:44 PM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 30
Pedophilia is wrong because it victimizes a child who does not have a choice. A child is neither sexually or mentally mature enough to consent to sex.

Why is consenting homosexual sex between two adults wrong?
Posted by Rob in Baltimore on July 11, 2012 at 6:49 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 31
Not to get all scientific, but babies aren't crapped out.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on July 11, 2012 at 6:54 PM · Report this
"I'm going to assume for the sake of argument that Jesus existed and the Gospels are correct about the things he said."

I.E. If you start by assuming the conclusion, you reach that conclusion. It is interesting that someone actually is proud of announcing aloud the flaw in every single pro-religion argument.
Posted by gekko on July 11, 2012 at 7:00 PM · Report this
@14, 16, 17, 18, 19: Did Jesus purposely spawn a hateful religion or did his followers? One or the other, but if God in the form of Jesus was loving, then you'd think, with all of His god-like powers, He'd just send down a few lighting bolts or cut&pastes to set things right.

My best guess: 2,000 years ago, a guy spoke of issues in a way that rang true to many people of the time and others wrote it down and propogated it. And then the usual power plays and politics insued.

Was he eloquent? Clearly. Wise? Probably. Quoteable? Absolutely. With enough god-like powers to ensure "His words" stayed true? Definitely not.

A guy said some stuff. Some but not all of which can be helpful, insightful or inspiritional. Jesus, Richard Bach, Thomas Jefferson, Shakespeare, and the homeless guy on the corner all fall into that catagory.
Posted by DAVIDinKENAI on July 11, 2012 at 7:05 PM · Report this
Oh, and that dude didn't even allow for differences in interpretation of the Bible. It is correct about what Jesus said.

"No one ever has uncertainties about how to read it" is the overlooked second half of that sentence. And the entire problem is solved when said argument concludes with the person making the argument asserting their interpretation as fact. Q.E. fucking D.
Posted by gekko on July 11, 2012 at 7:06 PM · Report this
@31 Haven't you seen the show "I didn't know I was pregnant" ? Those women were crapping out babies left and right. Let it be known, I am in no way a regular viewer of the show. I may have checked it out once due to curiosity.

I am annoyed that this is even a topic of discussion anymore. Gays are gay because they are gay. Straights are straight because they are straight. The end.
Posted by Lolaxx on July 11, 2012 at 7:16 PM · Report this
To much of the religious Right matters of consent are relatively meaningless because they believe the natural human will to be bent always toward evil, and must be kept in check by the Godly's rule, just as in the Paradise that was Calvin's Geneva or Savanarola's Florence. Expectedly enough, this attitude in many of them coëxists with the belief that actors in the Market should suffer no check upon their actions, and with the frequent recourse to the 'unnaturalness' of whatever sex acts they dislike, when you might expect that going against Nature might be agood thing.

(Not quite fair: one 'natural' refers to sinful human nature, the other to the 'natural law' implicit in Creation and laid out for you by Aquinas & co..)
Posted by Gerald Fnord on July 11, 2012 at 7:39 PM · Report this
Alan Chambers just wants to chamber his stick in a certain place but God forbide he is ever honest with himself. The right wing is getting fucked in the polls and they know it. Why else trot out the closet cases? Love the last few lines in boy in the band because it is true.
Posted by homo in the heartland on July 11, 2012 at 7:44 PM · Report this
My opinion is that very, very few people lead a heterosexual life...and maybe that is how nature intended it.

For example, the term 'gay marriage' is amusing..because all marriage is gay. Marriage is a way for a so called man to hide behind a female. It says, I am a default.

But the true heterosexual would never stand for it. Heterosexuality is difficult especially for guys. Girls are difficult. Pretty girls are impossible. What most straight males settle for is some compromise of what they really want...but the result is a lot of internet porn, and getting drunk at conferences and calling the escort service from the local Craigslist. It comes out. Eventually.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 11, 2012 at 8:59 PM · Report this
Pick1 39
@22 I think your reference to "we" was your addition to my earlier post asking the question which has quite easily been answered. My original comment was a "for the sake of argument."

The answer to this comes in two parts. "We believe that it's a sin" CAN be questioned. The church's doctrine has and will be questioned and when it just doesn't match up (I.E. slavery) the doctrine has changed.

So when it's questioned and compared to pedophiles you boil it down to human rights. Pedophilia infringes on the rights of one or more parties (a child cannot consent) whereas marriage between to consenting adults hurts no one.
Posted by Pick1 on July 11, 2012 at 9:36 PM · Report this
revolutionsperminute 40
"slow claps" Congratulations to number thirty-eight, you are the saddest slog regular. Please, please do not act out violently to someone.
Posted by revolutionsperminute on July 11, 2012 at 10:23 PM · Report this
I saw that clip at GALA too Dan!
Posted by Justin on July 11, 2012 at 10:35 PM · Report this
Sandiai 42
Gosh, homosexuals in the 70's were so sweaty.

@38 Wow. Just, wowsa.
Posted by Sandiai on July 11, 2012 at 10:47 PM · Report this


cf. 24

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on July 12, 2012 at 12:06 AM · Report this
Kudos to Dan Savage for coming off as David Ehrenstein in this posting

As in:
Posted by Lash on July 12, 2012 at 6:04 AM · Report this
Trolls gotta troll. It's what they do. I get that and I will not feed them.

But why the condescending use of "Danny"? I cannot take anyone seriously who does that.
Posted by daphne24 on July 12, 2012 at 6:07 AM · Report this
tomsj 46
I imagine Chambers has rather too much invested in Leslie and the kids to get much further along in his personal evolution on this. Harold's soliloquy from "Boys In the Band" is dead on, except here it's Chambers addressing Chambers.
Posted by tomsj on July 12, 2012 at 6:49 AM · Report this
I suspect this new position is the beginning of the end.

It's like Weight Watchers admitting that their clients will still be overweight and constantly hungry.
Posted by James Hutchings on July 12, 2012 at 7:47 AM · Report this
venomlash 48
@38: Wow, I actually feel sorry for you now, you miserable worm.
Posted by venomlash on July 12, 2012 at 8:32 AM · Report this
Where have we heard this shit before? Josh Weed, about a month ago.
Posted by cgd on July 12, 2012 at 9:05 AM · Report this
Aren't those marriages for the sake of pretending to be heterosexual exactly the ones that are crap and hell on the kids or break up and are hell on the kids? I mean like in that study with the bull shit results about gay parents.

Exgay therapy fucks up families on a completely different level than we'd previously realized!
Posted by EclecticEel on July 12, 2012 at 5:52 PM · Report this
I have a relative who has "prayed the gay away". He and his wife now have 5 children. He is in his mid-thirties and my husband and I are awaiting his inevitable mid-life crisis (we assume around the cliche age of 40, but could be any day to a few years down the road when the kids aren't small anymore) when we will pop the popcorn, grab a drink, and watch the whole thing explode. He has gone from being a laid back bi-guy to one of the most uptight people we've ever known... angry and bitter and blaming his "former" homosexuality on the typical: "Well, my mother was dominating and my father was weak and that's what makes boys become homosexual." Ugh. We've decided the best thing we can do is to be there for those kids when they are older and maybe one or two of them are gay or experimenting and need a safe harbor where they won't be judged - that is, if he doesn't end up coming out of the closet and somehow keeps himself "reined in". In the meantime, I keep all our posts on FB and such about being pro-gay marriage off their radar so they don't try and keep their children away from us - they may anyway because they do know where we stand on those issues, but I figure it's best not to rub it in their face... as much as I would like to.... I'm sure they have every intention of trying to turn our children into the little evangelical wing-nuts they've become, so I figure it's fair game.
Posted by happy time on July 13, 2012 at 2:43 AM · Report this
@38 "Marriage is a way for a so called man to hide behind a female."

I don't know what you mean by that. I'm not sure I want to.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on July 13, 2012 at 8:02 AM · Report this
John Horstman 54
@38: Wow, dude, I'm with venomlash; this might be you most disturbingly sad post yet, which is really saying something. You might want to consider therapy to help address what appears to me to be deep shame/despair/self-loathing around your gender identity/performativity and/or sexuality. I'm not sure why you or anyone else would get married to someone they're not into, and the presumption that "most straight males" are "settl[ing] for" miserable marriages speaks to some heartbreaking projection.

I just realized: a lot of what drives the MRA thought process is a misidentification of the ways in which patriarchy harms men as results of feminist progress. It's like when all of the historical evidence shows that cutting taxes for the rich harms everyone, and the economy's health generally, but the anti-tax crazies argue that the problem is simply that we haven't cut taxes enough. Join the Light, MRA guys: equality is a functional, friendly place where men and women and persons who don't conform to binary gender norms are all better off.
Posted by John Horstman on July 13, 2012 at 9:50 AM · Report this
sissoucat 55
@6 and @12

I personally know one lady who married a gay guy. He didn't disclose he was gay beforehand - because he's an asshole who happens to be gay. He actually fucked a guy at a party he and his wife were attending ; common friends kept company to the poor wife while the deed was being done in the next room. Some friends - If I had been there I would have called the cops on him. Disrespect like this, I just can't.

They have several kids. She's depressed. She doesn't want to leave because he's an asshole and it will be hell to fight him over the kids. And now she has a serious illness and it's even less time to leave. They are not religious.

The real victims there are not the gay men who so desperately want a fake life. It's those heterosexual women who have been trapped in lustless marriages - by religion (who dosen't care one bit about women) or by the noble womanly duty of helping out a poor man to turn his life around (bullshit traditionally heaped on us females from birth) - and even more by their gay husband himself, who thinks it's OK to deprive a heterosexual woman of her chance of finding a more suitable partner, while oftentimes continuing his homosexual relationships on the down low.

Of course, since he's a total asshole, the creep above is jealous, and hell-bent on keeping his poor wife on a tight monogamous leash. He doesn't need to, she's already given up on any satisfying sex on this life or the next, or on any kind of happiness for that matter ; but he still has jealous screaming fits. The kids are not doing so well.
Posted by sissoucat on July 13, 2012 at 10:34 AM · Report this
52, nice to see you approach things in a non-judgmental, positive way, without relishing misfortune or setback others may face.

You sure you are not a Glenn Beck listerner on the sly? Just for kicks? Because his Joy-in-suffering-of-others attitude best correlates with your wolfishly anticipation of seeing a family "exploding", so you can smirk and satisfy your sense of superiority. How grand of you that you will graciously step forward to help the children at that time. Yes, how grand.

Not a whole lot of good vibes or love coming off of you, there. Your gay relative may have a beam in his own eye, but you have more than a mote in your own.
Posted by Snowguy on July 13, 2012 at 11:41 AM · Report this
@55, OMG, that guy sounds awful. If you can get her to read the book "Why Does He Do That" by Lundy Bancroft, she might find a lot of comfort there. That book is a controlled woman's best friend. It's very enlightening, and very, very supportive to women like her.

Couldn't watch the first video! Too much high drama!
Posted by LiveAndLet on July 13, 2012 at 11:47 AM · Report this
52's attitude seems reasonable to me.
Posted by LiveAndLet on July 13, 2012 at 11:53 AM · Report this
Perhaps Alan Chambers might consider applying for a job with Larry Craig.
Posted by John Selig on July 13, 2012 at 12:24 PM · Report this
johnjacobjingleheimerschmidt 60
remeber secretly watching this movie on TV hoping that no one would know....funny thing is they already new...that I like firemen!
Posted by johnjacobjingleheimerschmidt on July 13, 2012 at 3:49 PM · Report this
@55: get her a copy of "The Other Side of the Closet" by Amity Bruxton and tell her to google " Straight Spouse Network". It's a crazy-making situation, especially for the straight wife, but she's not alone and if she can insist on better for herself, "It gets better."
Posted by DAVIDinKENAI on July 13, 2012 at 11:08 PM · Report this
@56 -I suppose their is a sense superiority. We are the ones who have to be careful about what we say and do around them, lest we offend them. We've watched him go from a laid back, progressive man to someone whose face turns red if the word "liberal" is spoken in his presence. A man who demanded we apologize for disagreeing with him about God's views on sex. Rest assured though, I was only using a figure of speech. We will not actually pop popcorn, nor will we have a drink in celebration. It simply means that we are awaiting the inevitable day that it all falls apart, whenever that day comes, and if a small part of me is saying inside: "I told you so", then so be it. You have not made me feel ashamed about that, nor will I ever be. A family built on lies about the basic nature of who we are as human beings cannot last. It will be a sad and tragic day, but one that hopefully leads to a family arrangement built on honesty and being there for those kids is the best thing we can do, in my opinion. If that makes me arrogant in your anonymous eyes, I readily believe I can sleep at night knowing I've pissed you (whoever you are) off. In fact, I may sleep even better because of it. :D
Posted by happy time on July 13, 2012 at 11:18 PM · Report this
Dan Savage is so clever with his analogy to Boys in the Band. Alan Chambers is truly a sad and pathetic man, but what about his children who have to live with such a fake marriage. They will be injured by the forced relationship between their father and mother and will learn how to love in a very dysfunctional way.
Posted by gerryjim on July 13, 2012 at 11:44 PM · Report this
sissoucat 64
@57 and 61 - thanks for the tips, but I doubt she can easily read English. I'll ask her, and if she does, I'll buy her the books. She's off work because of her serious illness, she'll have time to read.
Posted by sissoucat on July 14, 2012 at 3:23 AM · Report this
Too long; didn't watch.
Posted by brendan on July 14, 2012 at 3:23 AM · Report this
Sissoucat, that guy does sound like a colossal jerk, and his wife and kids better off without him. But I am curious--you mentioned calling the cops on him for fucking another guy at a party. What would you accuse him of? Or was that slang for telling his wife?
Posted by clashfan on July 14, 2012 at 1:30 PM · Report this
sissoucat 67
@66 Well, calling the cops as witnesses. Marital infidelity, you know ? Shaming the man-slut. Giving her an opportunity to get an easy divorce. Cops are not only called when there is matter enough to arrest people... at least, not in my country.

Oh, the wife knew all right at the moment ; she's the one who told me, years later.
Posted by sissoucat on July 21, 2012 at 10:51 AM · Report this

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