by Dan Savage
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.