Gay Conversion Therapy: A Converted Straight Lives to Tell the Tale
Let us get the preliminaries out of the way: I am a 35-year-old gay man. You cannot imagine how long it took me to get to that point. It is shocking to even consider that I was once a counsellor for a gay conversion therapy group and was happily dating (a beautiful woman) at the time. This has been a journey of false starts, wrong paths and many, many setbacks.
I was blissfully unaware, then in denial, then out then militant, then back to normal. Along the way, I encountered a mixture of surprise, awe, disgust and friendliness depending on who I was interacting with at the time.
Most importantly, I have learnt a lot about myself. The most important lesson is that being gay is a lifelong and permanent condition. Nobody will cure you. Gay conversion therapy only allows you to find a better closet.
Nobody who knew me in my teens can believe that I just wrote that. I was the typical frat boy with girlfriends to boot. The stories I could tell! Throughout my escapades, I was the archetypal alpha-male. Always on the hunt and merciless when I found my quarry.
It all sounds rather corny but the truth is that I have broken many hearts, particularly when I was in my “straight phase”. Some girls still try to hook up with me, even knowing that I am a happy gay man. They think that they can find that special something that will convert me.
I Find the Lord and a New Spiritual Strength
Like many things in my life, finding God was an abrupt event that had very little explanation. It just happened that when I was 19 and a half I decided that I was “born again”. That meant giving up my old life of debauchery and rededicating myself to the work of the lord. All of a sudden the multiple girlfriends and boozy nights were no more.
I was a changed man on the straight and narrow. I kind of liked the new lifestyle. It seemed healthier anyway since it coincided with my need to bulk up. My local pastor was so impressed with me that I was assigned the task of converting the gays.
Let me absolutely be honest on this one; I was a tad disgusted by the assignment, not least because I had never been one for the sissy boys. It would definitely put a permanent dent in my street cred if I helped out with anything to do with the gays.
Upon reflection, I had a change of heart. Being born again meant that I had to leave everything behind including the vanity and false pride. If there was some work to do for the Lord, I would happily volunteer. The pastor was delighted when I accepted.
Thereafter I took on the task with relish, after all I was helping others to leave a life of mortal and disgusting sin.
Satan Beckons and I Fall
When working on the sexuality rehab center, I met a mixture of rather sad characters. There were the ones that were so obviously gay that it seemed cruel to try to make them anything else.
Then you had the watertight closet cases that could pass for straight…unless they came onto you. In the middle were frightened teens and frustrated middle aged men who were so desperate to be loved that they would do anything to fit in with the expectations of their community.
If that meant giving up on the gay lifestyle, that is exactly what they would be doing. Our success rate was very low at the conversation therapy center. In some cases; it just became a hooking up place. People would come to be cured and then leave with a new gay lover.
I don’t think I will forget the time I met Amos. There was nothing particularly startling about him. He seemed rather soft but not in an explicitly feminine way. Amos spoke in a very low voice and would look serious before giggling. He told me that his parents wanted him to try being straight but he was not sure it would work.
The way he spoke about it was so matter of fact that you could almost imagine he was debating whether to have cereal or toast for breakfast. He said that he was here to try out the program.
The Forbidden Love the Changed My Life
I was completely lost…lost forever. Amos made me uncomfortable for some unfathomable reason, but I actually liked it. He was two years younger than me but I was putty in his hands. Not that he even tried…I just had to look at him. Up to this point, I had never ever questioned my sexuality. It was unthinkable that I should fall in this way.
Had I known, I would never have gone anywhere near the recovery center. Indeed; I had never fancied anyone in the group, let alone a man. Amos was now my obsession, to the exclusion of everybody else. That first recognition was so disturbing that I resigned from the center.
After a few days I just could not help myself.
I went back to the center and asked for Amos. He was there and reacted as if nothing had happened. To my surprise and great embarrassment, he told me in that flat voice of his that he thought I was attracted to him and that he was also a bit attracted to me.
I could not say anything, save going very red in the face. Amos then suggested that we should go out for a drink. I was too dazed to say yes or no, but he just took the initiative. When the sex happened, it was the moment of my life. I knew then that I was not going to leave Amos ever again.
I Recognize Myself and Like Me
Amos has taught me not to take anything too seriously and to go for things when I want them. Looking back, I think that I was super closeted throughout my teens. It was a very subconscious thing…too far away to ever acknowledge.
Amos poked my conscience and brought it all out. I now know that I am capable of fancying and falling in love with another man. What is absolutely amazing to me is the turnaround that happened. From ultra-straight to gay.
Maybe it was the conversion therapy. My pastor was absolutely appalled with the direction I had taken. He called me filth and all sorts of names under the sun.
The thing is that I do not really mind. I know who I am and I am much happier. However, I would have liked to point out to the pastor how bad his conversion therapy was. They do nothing but push people back into the closet.
It seems as if they are so embarrassed by the gays that they must hide them away, even if it means denying that which is undeniable. I have witnessed firsthand the damage that these therapies can do and why they are not fit for purpose.
My pastor says that I am talking like this because I was tempted by the devil and must repent in order to gain redemption. Needless to say, I think it is a load of baloney that has no relevance to my life as it is today.
I also recognize that many people go to the rehabilitative therapies as a means of making sense of their sexuality. That is why I am reluctant to completely dismiss them.
During my work on the program, I saw some guys who swore that they were no longer gay but straight. Sadly, when we delved into their sexual preferences; they seemed reluctant to express any kind of preference.
I deduced that they were merely trying to avoid any type of sexuality, let alone a homosexual one. That is why I concluded that the therapy was only helping them to perpetuate a pretense rather than completely overhauling their sexuality.
Gay Conversion, A Complex and Convoluted Love Life
My case has shown that we human beings are not always an easy book to read. Human sexuality is so complex and so secret that it seems impossible to decipher it within the confines of a few counselling sessions.
It is not even clear what the sessions are trying to achieve. Telling someone to think of something disgusting, painful or even non-sensual when they feel a sexual attraction is not going to remove that attraction. Instead you will make it a secret pleasure that will take on a significance which it did not have before.
A fellow counsellor once told me that what we were trying to do is to turn gay men asexual. When you really think about it, that is the terminal stage of gay conversion therapy. If we accept the notion that sexuality is a primarily innate trait, changing it becomes an impossibility. Making people temporarily asexual seems to be the compromise.
All these things have made me think that attending or even leading the gay conversion therapy was a waste of my life; with the important exception of meeting Amos.