Quick hit: My so-called ex-gay life

Gabriel Arana at The American Prospect has a remarkable essay today about his personal experiences with “ex-gay therapy.” It’s a deeply personal look at a disturbing political phenomenon:

Early in my freshman year of high school, I came home to find my mom sitting on her bed, crying. She had snooped through my e-mail and discovered a message in which I confessed to having a crush on a male classmate.

“Are you gay?” she asked. I blurted out that I was. 

“I knew it, ever since you were a little boy.”

Her resignation didn’t last long. My mom is a problem solver, and the next day she handed me a stack of papers she had printed out from the Internet about reorientation, or “ex-gay,” therapy. I threw them away. I said I didn’t see how talking about myself in a therapist’s office was going to make me stop liking guys. My mother responded by asking whether I wanted a family, then posed a hypothetical: “If there were a pill you could take that would make you straight, would you take it?”

I highly recommend that you read the whole thing. It’s long, but absolutely fascinating.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at chloesangyal.com

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/emilyann/ emily

    I can’t even express how mad it makes me when parents aren’t accepting of their children when they come out to them. One of my best friends is gay and his father practically shunned him and seeing first hand what it does to someone breaks my heart.

  • http://feministing.com/members/kaitlincrawford/ Kaitlin

    This just makes me so mad. Why would you do that to your child when it is hard enough for them to understand what is going on with them anyway? I don’t think it is really possibly to make someone not homosexual anymore. Yeah you can make their thoughts less that what they were before but that won’t really change how they feel. I don’t think parents should really get involved with their child’s homosexuality because they will try to change them or they just aren’t accepting and they resent them. I think they should just try and accept them and not disown them. It is their kid after all. I can’t imagining disowning my kid over anything when I have kids one day. The fact that these parents took their son to go talk to this guy on how to not be gay just baffles my mind. That whole sentence sounds just utterly wrong to me. Trying to make someone be something they aren’t just isn’t right and I don’t believe in making someone be something they are not ever. It’s not right and it is just like being society and making someone something they aren’t just to please others. It’s morally wrong.