Our own dear friend, David Watters, asked me to share this here. I hope you all gain some strength from this. It is not easy to come out nor to deal with the pain of ostracism. Keep going, though. It gets better
I just want to chat a bit.
My dear friend, XXXX, seemed a bit gobsmacked yesterday when I posted a picture of a book that discusses the fallacy of “Reparative Therapy”. It is a real thing. It is something that is touted as a viable option by the Fundamentalist Christians. It is also completely debunked by every REPUTABLE psychiatrist, therapist, the AMA, APA, DSM, and those of us who have had the misfortune of believing the hoax.
Let me tell you my story…
I came out to just a few friends in my senior year of high school. Although, many with whom I’ve become friends in my adulthood said they knew long before. I was in the Navy, serving stateside as Hospital Corpsman at the NASA in Jacksonville, Fl, until being discharged for homosexuality.
I went back home, in shame, and was frowned down upon by mother for, lo, these many years. I bumped around Kelso and Longview for a couple of years, hoping to find the man of my dreams and winding up lonely and despondent.
Then…I was cast in a play at Easter time that had a largely predomintate fundamentalist Christian cast. Long story made short, I got “saved” and “filled with The Holy Spirit” with “evidence of speaking in tongues”.
I was told to walk away from much in my life that carried “evil spirits” and would affect my “walk with G-d”. Among those were anything having to do with Dungeons and Dragons RPG, unicorn collection, any book having to do Mormonism, any friend attached with anything having to do with any of those, and, most, my “homosexual lifestyle”.
Along with giving that up, came the mandate to marry. When I met Marie she and her friend were the leaders of the college/career group at the church we attended. She was 17 years my senior. Again, long story made short, we married and have a beautiful daughter.
Marie knew from the very beginning what she was getting when she married me. I found, in Tacoma, WA, a group for men who were attempting to “change” with “G-d’s help”.
We spent five years as members and even lay leaders in Metanoia ministries. I taught classes, spoke at churches, led support groups, and participated in debates.
I also cheated. I’m not proud of that fact, nor will I defend nor excuse it. I can only explain. I wasn’t changing. Outside, to the public, I was solid Christian man, husband, father, minister, and success story…a walking testimony to the “changing power of Jesus Christ”.
On the inside, however, I was a wreck. I loved Marie…I still do if you want the truth. We were friends, spouses, partners, and Co-leaders in a number of different ministries in local churches for almost eighteen years. But, I wasn’t fulfilled. I wasn’t fulfilling her. My desire was to desire her but it never happened. I prayed. I was “slain in The Spirit”. I laid my “sin” at the foot of the Cross. I even went through a humiliating “exorcism”.
I confessed to her that I had been with men. We, eventually, decided to work it out. It was too late. The trust Marie had in me was irreparably crushed. The faith I had that G-d would, indeed, change me…or even cared…had vanished when the truth was finally out.
Again, to shorten the story…We separated and divorced almost eighteen years after meeting. I came out…again…and had never felt so light, free, and comfortable in my own skin.
When I walked away from “ex-gay ministry” I walked toward something more valuable. The realization that I’m okay and that it matters little to G-d, if G-d exists that is, whom I love. G-d simply cares that…I love.
During my time with Metanoia and teaching the Living Waters program by Andrew Comiskey, I suffered symptoms that are equitable to PTSD.
I was unnaturally irritable and anxious. Many times in my twenties and early thirties I was insomniac…at times awake, literally three to five weeks with only ten to fifteen minute shut eyes. I was depressed beyond comprehension. I reacted to my symptoms by lashing out verbally to my daughter and to Marie. I ignored my daughter much. I could never hold down work and only worked entry level retail or restaurant, sans the bit of time in lumber mills and framing. We struggled and rarely were in the same home… or even our own… the entire time.
There are many stories out there much resembling my own. Many national leaders and personalities of “ex-gay ministries”, i.e., Exodus International, have also realized the personal pain, not just to themselves, but to others and the LGBT Community.
Reparative therapy does more mental damage than it fixes. Our sexual orientation, it is proven, is immutable and “encoded” within us from birth… one can change BEHAVIOR not who one is fundamentally