E. Winter Tashlin

Challenging Gay 'Exorcisms' Edition [What You Need To Know]

Filed By E. Winter Tashlin | November 21, 2012 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: Bryan Fischer, Donald Trump, ENDA, HIV testing, HRC, International House of Prayer, Kevin Clash, possessory work, same-sex marriage, War on Christmas


Christianist hate-monger Bryan Fischer, continues to insist that gay exorcisms work.

This really pisses me off on three levels -

First, as a gay/queer/GSRM person, the idea that who and how I love is something that needs to be forcibly driven out of a person is deeply offensive. Many of these 'exorcisms' are nothing more than brutal psychological and sometimes physical abuse, couched in a religious framework, and structured to encourage mental disassociation in a way not unlike some forms of CIA brainwashing.

Secondly, my own religious/spiritual tradition includes the concepts of spirit/deity possession, and possessory work as part of spiritual practice.

Now obviously my cosmology is not anymore universal or 'correct' than Bryan Fischer's or anyone else's. But it bothers me to see sexual orientation treated as something external, or even as an independent entity that can be driven out. Even many of the right wing Christian groups that practice gay 'exorcisms' aren't arguing that one's sexual orientation or gender identity is an external force or consciousness, despite appropriating the trappings of possessory practice in the service of their bigotry.

The vast majority of traditions that incorporate the concept of possessory experience, including African Diasporic traditions and some neo-pagan practices like the Wiccan 'drawing down,' have the idea of something external coming into a person (usually invited), and then being asked or made to leave again after a period of time. This is radically different from an exorcism intended to excise a part of oneself. So based on my own exposure to these sorts of traditions and practices, I find the whole concept 'gay exorcisms' angering on a spiritual/religious level as well.

Finally, as a sexuality educator and advocate for healthy, active sex lives for all (save asexual people of course), there is the very real fact that what 'ex-gay' practices, including 'exorcisms,' are really doing is encouraging people to exorcise their desire.

The reality is that there are virtual no 'ex-gays' who've changed their sexual orientation (if there are any at all), but there are certainly some people who've managed to cut themselves off from their sexual selves (see point one about disassociation and brainwashing). If these programs were bodily castrating LGBT people there'd be swift condemnation from across the nation, and around the globe. But encouraging or forcing people to mentally and emotionally castrate themselves? That gets a pass as religious freedom.

And now I'll get off my soapbox and tell you what you need to know today:

  • New guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommend that all Americans, regardless of perceived risk factor, be screened regularly for HIV.
  • After a battle with management over journalistic ethics and standards, two Maine reporters announced their resignations from Bangor stations WVII and WFVX live on air on Tuesday.
  • The American family is awfully queer, even families that aren't made up of LGBT people, and that's kinda awesome.
  • Same-sex marriage advocates have identified seven more states where marriage equality may have a fighting chance.
  • The Human Rights Campaign has clearly stated that pursuing national employment (or heaven forbid employment and public accommodations) protections for LGBT people is not on their political agenda at this time.
  • The Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund) is advising clerks in states that recently legalized same-sex marriage, on how to avoid giving out marriage certificates to same-sex families.
  • Fox News chose, on Trans* Day of Remembrance, to run a sensationalized story about a trans* woman seeking trans* related medical care in prison.
  • In Orono Maine, a judge has ruled that a 5th grade girl who is trans*, may not use the girls' restroom.
  • NOM has lots of (crappy) excuses for the drubbing they took at the ballot box earlier this month.
  • Financial planning firms are dropping the ball when it comes to the specific financial needs of LGBT people.
  • Wayne Besen writes about his experiences researching the International House of Prayer (IHOP - seriously), which is now the subject of a murder investigation.
  • As the dispiriting he said/he said saga around underage sex allegations continues, muppeteer and voice of Elmo, Kevin Clash, has resigned from Children's Television Workshop.
  • Over on Good As You - pointing out the AFA's "War On Christmas" hypocrisy.
  • And finally, Andy Cohen and Wendy Williams do a live reading performance of some of Donald Trump's top insane and hateful Twitter wars of the past few months.

(img - "Phoenix Rising?" by Flickr user Hollywata)

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