With the far right and the professional Christian set all in a dither about the possible upcoming vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act ("ENDA") in the U.S. House of Representatives, I guess it is no surprise that the faux experts at the American College of Pediatricians ("ACP") - a Christian right affiliate intended to dupe the unwary - are stepping up a new campaign based on the old "choice myth" as I call it. Desperate to convince voters - and more members of Congress - that sexual orientation is a choice and changeable, a new webpage with purported "facts" has been trotted out that regurgitates the same old worn out lies. In a letter to school superintendents, ACP endeavors to frighten school administrators into resisting any sort of gay affirming policies or programs. The propaganda piece starts out in part as follows:
The Only "Choice": Coming Out of "Situational Heterosexuality"
We are increasingly concerned, however, that in many cases efforts to help students who exhibit same sex attractions and/or gender confusion are based on incomplete or inaccurate information. To correct this and assist you in establishing the optimal school environment, a Web resource, www.FactsAboutYouth.com (Facts), has been created to provide important factual information about healthful approaches to students experiencing sexual orientation and gender identity confusion.
Interestingly enough, among the members of Pediatric Psychosocial Development Committee is Arthur Abba Goldberg who was recently exposed by Wayne Besen and others (I assisted in the investigation) to be none other than a former Wall Street "guru" who was convicted of securities fraud, went to prison, and lost his law license. After exiting prison, Goldberg got into the "ex-gay" business which in my view is equally fraudulent as his bogus bond deals were in the opinion of the SEC. The truth is that gays cannot change as now recognized by the American Psychological Association. All they can do is come out of self-denial and self-hate and and accept who they really are.
In this regard, former "ex-gay" evangelical minister Anthony Venn-Brown calls it like it is. Brown, now one of Australia's leading LGBT activists, has a much more honest approach to the issue of changing one's sexual orientation. Namely, that it is immpossible unless one is engaged in "situational heterosexuality" which he equates with gay men in heterosexual marriages. The phenomenon is the opposite of the situational homosexuality found in prisons and other all same gender settings.
Having been in a heterosexual marriage myself for 24 years , I think that Venn-Brown is definitely on to something. Those of us gays who married and tried to do "what was expected" by family, society and/or our religious upbringings in effect engaged in straight relationships even thought that was not our true sexual orientation. We either did not know what else to do, wanted to have children, or simply could not admit to ourselves who we really were. Thus, you try to make it work even though in your heart you know its not complete and you continue to suffer from those pesky attractions to others of the same gender. You become the actor on the stage playing a role until the point comes where you simply no longer have the energy to keep up the performance either inwardly or outwardly. Here are some of Venn-Brown's comments on the phenomenon:
"'Situational heterosexuality' is a term I've used for several years when people have asked how I could have been married for so many years and yet be gay. This term has also helped people gain a clearer understanding of what really happens when someone who is homosexual marries someone of the opposite sex and claims change. Confusion about what really happens in these situations still exists and often wrongly reinforces the 'homosexuality is a choice' and 'homosexuals can change' concept.
"How often have you heard someone say something like this 'They couldn't be gay, they're married'. When someone says that to me, I just remain silent for a while with a smile on my face (having been a gay man in a heterosexual marriage) and wait for what I'm actually thinking to sink into the consciousness of the person who made the naive statement."
As much the ACP may make false claims and and as "ex-gays" may seek to deny it - even to themselves - they have not changed their sexual orientation. Instead they have suppressed it at least for a time. That does not equate to permanent change. It certainly does not justify a vote against ENDA in Congress.