By Phil Hicks
President-Metro DC PFLAG
I’ve spent some time looking over the PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays) website lately, strictly for entertainment purposes of course. Reading fiction can be so much more relaxing than the hard news of the day. Their slogan, Ex-Gays prove Change is Possible, superimposed beside a photo of a very sharp, neatly dressed young man has some extra meaning I suppose. As I read about how they can take somebody’s unwanted sexual desires and transform them into something else altogether, my first thought was “into what?” After reading this I became aware that it almost made sense! Perhaps they’re correct! Maybe change is possible.
As I once wrote, I became cognizant of the fact I was straight when I was in the fourth grade, at about nine years of age. The unnatural feelings I had towards my teacher, Mrs. Towler were so strong I often found it embarrassing to even stand up to go out for recess. I’ve had to live with that embarrassment now for over 45 years. Imagine how this has disturbed me. These feelings, both physical and emotional have haunted my dreams, yes, all kinds of dreams for decades. At times I get moist in my eyes just thinking of those feelings, over and over again. That goes for all those years of adolescence when I would watch the girls practicing gymnastics after school, looking at cheerleaders in their short skirts….stop it!! See how these creepy feelings sneak up on you?
Sorry, I almost forgot where I was headed on that, but even as I approached adulthood and went on co-ed camping trips and….forget it, I finally became an adult and continued to view these odd attractions to the opposite sex as something I could not avoid. The things I did, well I could tell you some stories. Here I am now as an “adult” male in my mid-50’s, married for 30 years, (almost 31 if you count the first marriage), and I recognize that more than half of my life has been spent married. Because of this I have to accept the fact that all of those single people, living their lives alone are probably laughing and joking about me behind my back. They might even be calling me names. I
suppose some might call that the curse of the straight guy.
But now, thanks to PFOX, I see that just because I’ve been attracted to women, and only women for my entire life, sometimes suffering with these “unwanted desires”, I can change. Using their program I can turn my back on those feelings and become Ex-Straight! This seems like a great idea because I see through so many of my kids’ friends so many of the advantages of being gay. Think about it. When over 40 states don’t recognize their marriages, they really don’t have any commitment recognized nationally. Any vow that a gay person takes to another is little more than a Newt Gingrich commitment. Pretty sweet!
Of course, if I were Ex-Straight I would be able to attend all kinds of gay events and get all of the many benefits afforded only gay people. I doubt I even have to itemize those for you; you know what they are. They’re too numerous to count. As an added bonus, I’d be able to be taunted or attacked, both verbally and physically in ways I couldn’t imagine as a straight man. I could even be targeted by politicians attempting to show how family oriented they are. My future would be so much brighter!
Why would I call myself Ex-Straight instead of gay you might ask? Good question.
Well, between you and me, there is no such thing. If I went through some sort of 12-step therapy to change myself from being a straight man to someone with same sex attractions it would be like an alcoholic going through a program to be an Ex-Alcoholic. Anyone that has ever known someone that has been through those programs knows one thing for sure. There is no such thing as an Ex-Drunk. After someone graduates from a program like that, they become a drunk that no longer drinks. It becomes an all out, never ending battle for the rest of their life.
So, if I were to change, I’d just be a straight dude that chooses to no longer have sex with women. Sounds a lot like a Priest to me, coincidence? Which leads me to think of the PFOX message again…..If a gay man or woman is having trouble coming to grips with, or don’t want the sexual desires they feel, they may want to see a professional therapist that can help them to understand their feelings. The last thing you would want to do is approach a group for advice that will reinforce the idea that your “feelings” are evil and need to be removed.
One of the most important things I’ve learned in my life is, don’t marry a woman that wants you to change. Perhaps that lesson is why my second marriage has lasted for 30 years. The reverse is true as well. Don’t try to change the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life loving. Love them for who they are; not for what you can make them. In the same vein, don’t seek advice from an organization when their first goal is to change who you are. Come to PFLAG instead, because we love you just the way you are.