Ex-gay ministries have existed for many years. I was first aware of this through literature put out by Teen Challenge Inc. in the late 1970s which featured a man and a woman who self-identified as ex-gay. They got saved, got heterosexualized, got married. In the picture, the woman could have been mistaken for a "butch" I suppose. She had short hair. I learned better later on. I now know that some butches have long hair. And lots of women who aren't lesbian or bisexual have short hair.
There existed in Albany NY for at least one summer Sunday night Christian meetings of a sort housed in a second-floor flat near the gay juice bar. I do not know which organization they represented nor what methods they used nor their success rate. None of my friends or acquaintances disappeared from the scene during the late 80s to take up a new straight life. They must have pulled from different parts of the community than the radical in-your-face activists that I was a part of and hanging out with.
How very odd in this day and age when GLBTIQ activists are protesting the inclusion of non-heterosexuality in a Department of Defense list of defects and conditions [an improvement over being considered as a "mental disorder"?] that the ex-gay movement would remain a source of hatred by those of us who celebrate our non-heterosexuality. Yeah, I am familiar with all of the arguements.
People in ex-gay ministries and counseling outreach services do occasionally wind up in bed with each other or with a wayward staffer. A few? some? folks seeking to get out of the life may feel deep self-hatred. Most? All? ex-gay places are run by fundies and we have suffered prejuidice and discrimination at their hands for eons. And yes, the monosexuals [homosexual and heterosexual] in the population do tend to believe that sexual orientation is static rather than fluid.
The bisexuals among us [that is the tribe I fall into] tend to believe that sexual orientation is fluid and [will at least give lip service to the idea] that one's sexual orientation throughout life can change and all of them are equally valid. AIS [Androgen Insufficiency Females] statistically are 100% either attracted to women or to both women and men. A few transgendered friends going through the procedures to match their external gender to their internal gender have experienced a genuine but unplanned sexual orientation change shortly after the introduction of hormone treatment.
So if seeking to trade in my sexual orientation for another one via the path that some people have chosen is not for me, I still do not have to invalidate those who have made different choices than I have. A campus which allows gay-straight alliances and glbtiq clubs to meet needs also to allow ex-gay groups the same privilege and voice that we experience and expect. A workplace which discriminates on the basis of past sexual orientation ought to be as offensive to the civil rights activist as one which discriminates on the basis of present sexual orientation.
A pastor who has recently confessed to dealings with a hustler [male prostitute for men] deserves respect for seeking to address his failings, regardless of how he chooses to do so. Ted Haggart has admitted to despising that part of himself which engaged in male one-on-one sexual conduct and will be seeking counseling from James Dobson [Focus on the Family leader, for those of you living in a news vacuum] because he wants out. Ted Haggart is married and he has broken his marriage vows. If I broke my marriage vows-- regardless of who I broke them with-- I might hate that part of myself too.
Give the man a break people. He done wrong. He is going to fix it the best he can. If he comes out deciding that he is gay or bisexual or straight I really do not care. I hope for his wife's sake that he is able to remain married to her and faithful to her alone. The GLBTIQ community is not the real victim here. Sure, Pastor Ted Haggard has been identified as someone who has been part of the very vocal system out in Colorado which would deny us civil rights. Should we deny him his right to decide how he wishes to conduct himself in his personal life?
The fact that restorative therapy has been dissed by the American Psychological Association back in August does not mean that it should be outlawed. Other mental health bodies have come out with statements of the dangers inherent in change ministries. Dangers like increased depression and self-loathing were mentioned. Reparative therapy has many uses with varying results-- depending sometimes on who is doing the reporting. Quite frankly, Haggard does not deserve to be on exhibit as "proof" that sexual orientation cannot be changed. And yes, even if he never embraces our struggle for civil rights, I hope he is successful in "exiting the life."