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What Are Little Boys Made Of


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In the summer of 1970, just before Kirk?s fifth birthday, his parents learned about a new federally funded research program at UCLA for young boys who were showing early signs of being effeminate. Concerned that Kirk was exhibiting some of the behaviors listed by a UCLA researcher on a local television talk show, Kirk?s parents decided to take him in for an evaluation and treatment. Ten months later, Kirk?s therapy was judged a success and his parents were reassured he would now grow up to be a normal, heterosexual man.

When Kirk was undergoing treatment at UCLA, he was under the care of a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. In 1974, Rekers and his mentor, Dr. Ivar Lovaas, published a landmark paper describing ?Kraig?s? treatment ? ?Kraig? being their pseudonym for Kirk. That paper, which appeared in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, was ?the first experimental study on the subject of childhood cross-gender problems.? That paper launched Rekers?s career, first as an expert in childhood sexual development, and later as an anti-gay activist.

Kirk survived his ordeal, and he continued to grow up under relative anonymity. Neither he nor his family knew that he was the subject of nearly two decades of discussion among behavioral therapists working to change their clients? sexual orientation. Through it all, Rekers wrote that Kirk had a ?normal male identity, had normal aspirations for growing up to be married and have a family, and was well-adjusted as a teen-age boy in general.? The truth was far different. His suicide attempt at the age of seventeen was unsuccessful. But twenty years later, he took his life on December 21, 2003. He was 38.

read the full story HERE

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That's an amazing series of articles and papers. I've started reading and it's a real page-turner. It explains the beginnings of what has become the Ex-Gay Business.

Colin :wave:

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That's an amazing series of articles and papers. I've started reading and it's a real page-turner. It explains the beginnings of what has become the Ex-Gay Business.

Colin :wave:

The part of Colin's above post that I bolded hits the nail on the head. The biggest successes of this particular industry are, at least in part, successes because they have become dependent on the industry for their financial well-being. This is how they make their living, and they have gone so far as to create their own professional organizations, their own medical organizations, their own periodical publications to support themselves and this industry. They have a very thin veneer of professional cover that they have created themselves to provide themselves legitimacy, and in the process ruined far more lives than they have 'saved'.

I have always fluctuated between a grudging acceptance of the ex-gay movement and deep abhorrance. Decades ago I watched the ex-gay movement ruin the life of someone I cared about, ending with their suicide. At its best moments, it allowed a gay man to fool himself and his family for a decade so they got along and loved each other. I have yet to meet a 'success' of the movement who did not eventually cast it aside and learn to live a happy life as an accepting and open gay man (or lesbian), unless that person was actively working in the ex-gay movement itself.

Heck, so many people have taken up leadership positions in these organizations and later left it in order to live happy lives as openly gay men and lesbians that it's not too hard to say few, if any, people have ever found lasting happiness in the ex-gay movement. I am certain there are a handful out there, but I'm going to say this: life is rarely black or white. There are very few times when someone is all of one thing or all of another, and what this means is simple. A person who is bi-sexual can find happiness with either gender in a relationship, and thus would be able to find happiness in the ex-gay movement. (of a sort - they'll still deny their same-sex attraction, but that doesn't mean they can't be happy in an opposite-sex relationship at the same time). Yet even for bisexual people, the ex-gay movement is a charlatan with far too many pitfalls to ever promise real happiness.

What it boils down to with the ex-gay movement is that they are a religious movement, even when they try to cover their inner wolves in the sheep skin of professional psychiatry. Their main purpose is to take people from something that they believe to be evil (namely same-sex attraction) and move them into something holy (either celibacy or opposite-sex relationships). The need for this transformation presupposes that there is something inherintly WRONG with same-sex attraction. When you boil down everything from the ex-gay movement to the opposition to gay rights, or gay relationships, this is the core suppossition. This is why our opponents argue that gay marriage is bad because it will teach children that it is okay to be gay, and without the core equation that gay=bad, the whole purpose of the ex-gay movement collapses.

Real medical and psychiatrical organizations will tell same-sex attracted patients that it is okay to feel these attractions. Religion on the other hand, tells these people it is wrong. Real mental health professionals will seek to help people feeling conflicts about their sexual identity to explore their own psyche and to find a balance where they can be happy and stable. Where religion and our inherint natures collide, some compromises are giong to be living a life of celibacy. I for one won't stop somoene from making that choice, if they can do so with a full understanding of themselves and why they are makign this choice. Unfortunately what ex-gays almost always sell is hatred of who a person is and their innate sexual attractions. Instead of striving for acceptance and making honest choices in the light of that acceptance, they teach hatred of ours innermost selves and teach people to deny who they are, to be come liars of the most despicable kind.

I have an uncle who is a very smart, very intelligent and very compassionate man. He is also an extremely conservative baptist preacher of the hellfire and brimstone variety. He told me directly that homosexuals will go to hell, and he would prefer to not see me go down that road. My uncle is a very smart man as I said, and he did not try to sell me the 'you can change' line. In fact, he had very little respect for that message. "You are who you are, and God has made you to walk a difficult road. Walk the road of the Apostle Peter, live a life of celibacy and devotion to God. I believe that is why God made you the way he made you." Those were his words, and they were uttered out of love, and that is a very hard message to deny or to disrespect. It is a message that refuses to lie like so many of the ex-gay movement try, and for a few moments, it was a very tempting concept.

Yes, I can understand why a gay man or a lesbian might choose to go down that path, and I also believe that for some they will find happiness down that road. It is not 'change', it is dedication based on religious beliefs. What my uncle offered was acceptance and happiness with my family, and with the religion that I grew up in and still respect at some very deep levels. For people with true faith, what he offered was a path that could lead to happiness and a great deal of self-respect, as long as it was walked with openness, acceptance, and honesty.

It wasn't the path for me.

Deep down, I realized something even stronger than the attraction of that life he held out to me. It was the path of honesty, happiness, and most importantly of acceptance. In the end, this is why the ex-gay movement does not work. I know, and so many of us here know, that it IS okay to be gay. Twenty years ago, when I was a young man just coming to terms with and learning to accept the nature of my sexuality, it was almost impossible to conceive of a day when the likes of us could dream of marrying the person we love, even if they are the same gender as us. The idea that I could live happily with another man, and raise two kids in a suburb, attend little league games and have the other parents welcome us was never something I considered in those days. Now, twenty years later, we have changed the world so that the message is becoming clear.

It IS okay to be gay.

That is the message the Ex-Gay movement fights with every fiber of its being, because that is the message that will be their undoing, that will make them nothing more than a topic for esoteric study at colleges or universities. The message that it is okay to be gay is the truth, and it is followed by another message to all the young gay people out there. It is okay to be gay, and yes, it does get better.

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Oh boy, Dan, what a wonderful testament. You make a powerful point, with authority and conviction. There are a lot of video testaments on YouTube on the It Gets Better theme, but none, I think, have moved me more than your statement.

What you say is very close to home for me and I thank you for it.

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Great post, Dan. I am, like you, okay that I'm gay. It is who I am, and I am very comfortable in my skin and with my 'orientation'.

"It's getting better" isn't enough. I like "It IS better" and think we need to work together to help make it better NOW for all of the gay and lesbian and transgender kids out there so they can say "It's okay to be gay and it IS better for me" about themselves.

Colin :wave:

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