The roadside billboards of the ex-gay movement tell passing motorists — who often just wanted to drink their coffee and drive in peace — to “Question Homosexuality.”
Those who are familiar with the ex-gays who are spotlighted in the billboards know that Exodus International does not truly “question” sexual orientation; the organization merely pretends that it does not exist. Journalists who are unfamiliar with ex-gay ideology and the journeys of former ex-gays frequently ask questions that bypass substantive examination of the ex-gay movement.
Former ex-gay Peterson Toscano examines some of these questions :
Is change possible? Can someone change from gay to straight?
Most people on any side of the ex-gay issue who know about the lives of ex-gays and the various ex-gay treatments involved understand that these sort of closed-ended questions fall flat in light of the intricacies we’re talking about here and in particular when we consider the people most directly affected. None of us really became heterosexual. This is evidenced in one of the most challenging dilemmas many of us faced in trying to name ourselves. Even those of us who married people of the opposite sex could not honestly call ourselves straight. As Marvin Bloom used to say say when he was still ex-gay, “I’m a former homosexual. I’m not exactly straight. I’m growing into heterosexuality, slowly.”
Another popular question from journalists is,
What is the most outrageous treatment you experienced in an ex-gay program?
This “sexy” question exploits everyone involved. Yes, crazy, outrageous things happen in many ex-gay programs, but by focusing on these wacky practices, we overlook more important issues. One could too easily discount the whole thing and say, “Man, look at those crazy people!” without getting to the heart of the matter or to any useful analysis. (But then again, much of the news is about entertainment and not information.)
Toscano asks readers to supply additional questions and answers — and so do we.