Bil Browning

I've been thinking about ex-gays

Filed By Bil Browning | October 24, 2007 8:45 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Living
Tags: ex-gay, Love Won Out, poll, sexuality

Since I'll be going to the Love Won Out conference soon, I've been thinking about the mindset behind the ex-gay movement. I hope a lot of you will answer this poll honestly - and if you don't mind, leave a comment to let me know your reasoning.

If you could go back in time and flip a switch somehow that turned off "gay," would you do it?

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Zach Adamson | October 24, 2007 9:18 AM

Knowing what I know now... No way.. While admittedly the straights are doing much better for themselves these days... What with Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and all.. but as a whole.. they just dont have near the fun we do.. Plus.. they seem to be.. as a general rule.. very uptight.. which makes them so concerned about other peoples lives.. If I wasnt Gay.. what would I do with all that free time... The Civil Rights struggle is a full time job with sucky pay and a bad boss.. but the befits package is kick ass.. No. I'll keep my 3 dollar bill.. Thanks.

Diversity is a good thing. I think we should be striving for more, not less. Would I change something that is a critical component in making me who I am? Certainly not. It would be like going back and changing one's birth gender (assuming you were born with matching body and brains). You wouldn't simply be a different looking version of yourself. You wouldn't be yourself at all.

The trick of this question is why we have to consider it in the first place, which is not to say that I'm going to attack you, Bil, for posing it. It's provocative and something I think we've all considered from time to time.

If anything, I would turn off the prejudice towards "minority groups" of all types. Because, in the end, who I love, who I sleep with, who I'm attracted to, how I identify my gender, should not be something I have to question. It should be no big deal.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | October 24, 2007 12:09 PM


If you start to feel even the slightest hint that you are going ex-gay, send a distress signal and we will parachute in to save your homoness. Of course, we will be utilizing the standard issue rainbow flag parachutes.

Ellen Andersen Ellen Andersen | October 24, 2007 2:07 PM

When I first came out I suspect I might've flipped the switch were it possible to do so, but that was over 20 years ago (OMG, I'm getting old). While there are many things I'd change about myself, my sexuality isn't one of them. My sexuality is part of who I am; it's integral to my understanding of myself. Besides, how would I ever explain it to my wife.... :)

There's a lot of things I would change about being gay, a lot of things that I think straight people get right and that we could learn from. Gays and gay life can be, by and large, very unstable and unhealthy (not that str8's don't their own unhealthy instabilities). It's really easy, particularly for gay men, to become bitter and self-destructive because we treat each other with such disrespect sometimes.

And as far as having more fun...I mean really that and $5 will get you a cup of coffee. It's no wonder str8 people think we're shallow and superficial and to a large degree they're right: we are. (or at least we're more prone to it).

Would I change the fact that I love men? Depends on when you ask me.

Today the answer is no.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | October 24, 2007 3:34 PM

It certainly hasn't been easy, being queer and FtM. And for me, the two are inextricably linked.

Maybe one of the hardest things is feeling so alone at times, like sitting on a crowded subway train and thinking to myself, "It's almost certain that no other guy on this train is sitting here without a dick." An odd thought, I know, but there you have it! Most people of a gender share a certain body experience that I totally lack.

But then I think of the insight I've gained as a result of being queer and FtM. The absolutely incredible FtM and MtF friends I have, with whom I share a sort of inner circle. And how lucky I am to have been able to experience life from both sides of the great gender divide. In the end, I’m a man who had a baby! How could I want to trade that for something as banal as being straight?!

This an abbreviated version of my profile from

I like when grown men still identify themselves by high school cliques ("Jock" "Prep" "Twink" "Geek")-- like they're a character on The Breakfast Club. I like when guys say they "act str8" (act is the key word)-- when a guy in his pic strikes a butch pose (Jeans, muscle T, body covered in tats) but the room he's standing in is immaculately decorated just like on Queer Eye I love when a guy says he is str8-- yeah, so is spaghetti till it gets wet. I love when guys say they're not looking for sex but then want to see your pic, know your stats and what you're "into." I love when a man says to me: "I've only had 2 guys today. I've already lined up #3 and #4. Do you wanna be #5?" Yeah, I always wanted to be #5! I love when a guy who gets his d**k sucked thru a hole in a wall tells me I'm not his "type" (and truer words were never spoken). I love when a profile says the guy is the same age I am when I know for a fact he's 9 years older! I love when guys over 30 still refer to themselves as "boi." Likewise, if you're 30 or close to it and still call yourself a "Fratguy:" It's called arrested development; seek counseling. I love the married guys who are just "experimenting..." every day. I love when a guy makes like Madonna and tells me it's his very first time-- What he means is: it's his very first time today. I love that gay men (just like high school girls) determine whether or not they should do something based on the potential to meet guys ("Can you meet guys at the Art Fair? Because why else would you bother to go?"). I love that a lot of gay men think the only reason you should even speak to a guy is to get in his pants or that they assume that if you speak to them it's because you want to f**k them. I love when other gay men console me with: "Its just sex. Move on to the next guy and pass the last one to me." I love the way gay men pass each other around: "That guy was a jerk! What's his name? What's his number?" I love when guys say: "All fags lie," or "All fags cheat," or "All fags are immature," like that makes it all right. De-nial is a river in Egypt. And bullshit is bullshit, not McDonald's secret sauce. "I'm a gay man. I need all the drama I can create. I'm a gay man I don't deserve to be happy. I'm a gay man. I have to be fabulous and do fabulous thingz to overcompensate for the fact that my sexual behavior is socially unacceptable."

The sad part is that everything mentioned above has happened and is true.

The good guys and experiences are few and far between, in my experience (but maybe that's just me). And these are personal experience and not the more social-political aspect that you were probably refering to in your question. But still they are issues in our community and ourselves that we need to examine.

I absolutely wouldn't change - boys are too cute!

Haha, but seriously, I don't think I'd be as cool as I am today if I were straight. I think that being on the outside in terms of sexuality, putting off sexual activity until I was in college, and having a different relationship to the heteropatriarchy than most men do, all of which stem from being gay, has made me more neato.

Plus I wouldn't know what to do with a woman in bed. It's like Elaine says about trying to get a gay guy to switch teams:

Elaine: Well here's the thing. Being a woman, I only really have access to the, uh... equipment, what, thirty, forty-five minutes a week. And that's on a good week. How can I be expected to have the same expertise as people who own this equipment, and have access to it twenty-four hours a day, their entire lives.

Jerry: You can't. That's why they lose very few players.

I've never had to explain to a boi how to use the equipment, besides some of the finer details. That's pretty cool.

All judgement of whether or not it's "good" to be gay or not, i'd have to think that going back and changing something big about myself would lead me to be, well, DIFFERENT - and not just because i'd be heterosexual. All the things I went through growing up - school, coming out, whatever - contributed somehow to my current self. I don't want to lose my current self, and I think going back to "switch off" the gay would have caused me to become a radically different person. I no more want to trade in my sexuality than my height, because I don't want to be a different person.

Sexuality is not an area I feel comfortable about discussing. But if I had a choice, I'd far rather be lesbian than straight.

For one thing, it would be safer. TS women are less likely to be beaten to a pulp or killed by other women. For another, I can identify with other women in a way I can't with men. Finally, so many of us have a lot of psychological baggage from early life: we associate guys with being spat on, urinated on, having cigarettes stubbed out on us, being beaten with crowbars etc.

Right now, celibacy looks good.

As an aside - all that happened before age 13, it had nothing to do with sexual orientation. TS people differ from the usual at pre-school, and so get ostracised long before high school.

Gays tend to get persecuted starting in their teens. For us it's no worse, and often an improvement on what went on before.

NO WAY would I change | October 26, 2007 2:34 PM

During the years of struggle i often wished I wasn't part of the glbt community, but now looking back theres no way I would change.

Its given me a unique perspective and rich life. Although I could do without the bigotry I am part of a family that is WORLDWIDE- how could I not love that?

The Fire Island, P-Town, and our nightlife is also the best!

Kick ass at love won out- is there some sort of GLBT delousing powder you must apply when you leave?

So…Having read the responses, the good thingz about being gay are:
We have more fun and we’re less uptight
(and apparently str8 people being concerned about other peoples lives is a bad thing)

It gives us a different perspective. So does the Sears Tower, could anyone be more specific as to what is so great about the queer perspective?

Boys are cute…..

It makes us “cool”

You don’t have to explain your equipment to you partner

It’s safer? Since when? Did I miss something?

You can identify with a person of the same gender more so than the opposite gender. Yes, but isn’t that also limiting in a lot of ways?

And we throw great parties and have a great night life…

And then there's Lance Bass...

On the downside there’s bigotry and persecution and the threat of violence to deal with…

How has Western Civilization survived without us?