Friday, October 07, 2005

30. Doors

I have now seen Serenity twice… and some of you haven’t even seen it once!  Shame… shame on you!

Sorry, I just want a sequel, dammit!  Please help make that happen…  I’m actually begging!  Besides, it’s really very, very good.  You’ll probably like it.

…aaaanyway…

My grandfather drilled into me the concept of having an open mind.  Every time he would take me out for dinner, or… well, whenever I spent any time alone with him, he would eventually turn the conversation on to the subject of ‘having an open mind’.  My mom used to laugh about it when I would come home.  “What did you and your grandfather talk about?  Movies?  Politics?  Having an open mind?

It wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I realized that what he was probably trying to do with this ‘open mind’ doctrine was undermine my mother’s ability to raise me as a Christian, because Christianity was a huge bone of contention between them (up until he became a Christian himself).  Hilariously, it didn’t affect my faith at all… it’s true that I’m more willing to have an open mind about Christian doctrine, and other faiths, than I think my mother would like, but, well… I’m obviously still a Christian… I never even went through a real ‘teen rebellion’ phase of not going to church, or even not wanting to go to church.  I was an incredibly boring, good child.  

The point of all of this is that it occurred to me today that I have become rather close-minded in regards to this whole ‘ex-gay’ thing… so today I spent some time surfing around some ex-gay sites.  It was bit of an exercise in frustration.  I learned that I apparently have no healthy relationships with women – healthy same-sex friendships are key, apparently – because if I did, I would be on my way to heterosexuality.  I’m sure all of my female friends will be glad to learn that our friendships are not healthy.    

I also became frustrated by the constant reference to the ‘gay lifestyle’, as if all gay people live the same kinds of lives.  I’m a 30 year old, gay, Christian virgin, who has been on a total of 3 dates in her entire life (all with men).  Tell me; is this part of the ‘gay lifestyle’?  If it is, then please get me out of it! When I read the descriptions of this ‘lifestyle’ thing in the Side B books, or on the ex-gay websites, I have to say it sounds like they get all their information from TV and movies (which, as we all know, is the most accurate way to do research!) because I don’t know a single gay person who lives like that, or ever did.  And while I admit that I don’t know every gay person out there (which is something they would do well to admit to, actually), the fact that not a single one of the people I know conform to these descriptions says something to me.  

The thing is, though, that I sort of conform… not to the lifestyle thing, because like I said, virgin!  And not to the same-sex friendship thing, because I have never had problems making friends with women, and women have always been among my closest friends.  I maintain friendships well, and aside from the period in which I was in a severe depression I don’t think my friendships are codependent, or whatever the term is nowadays.  Maybe I’m wrong… any friends of mine who know about this blog… let me know if I’m too clingy or dependant, okay?  

What I mean when I said that I conform is that my family dynamic has not been good, and there is sexual abuse in my past.  (I have mentioned this a fewtimesbefore.)  This will sound a little trite, I suppose, but I’ve pretty much dealt with the sexual abuse stuff.  It was unpleasant, but I can talk about it without shame, I am not angry at the girls who abused me – if anything I feel pity for them, because they were rather young, and I don’t know what would cause a person of that age to think about doing that sort of stuff other than having experienced abuse themselves – I feel no guilt about it, no bitterness… I have delved into it rather deeply through therapy and prayer counseling sessions.  I honestly don’t think I have anything left to deal with in that area… and to tell the truth, I think I spent way too much time focusing on it as it was, because I was sure it was the reason I was gay and wanted to ‘fix’ myself.  

The parental issues are a different story… it’s hard to completely ‘deal with’ something that continues to be a part of my life.  So, as I was reading, I had the thought that maybe I should explore this further.  I mean, I’ve shut the door on the whole ‘ex-gay thing’ rather firmly, and maybe that was premature (for me).  The thing is, from what I’ve read, the solution to dealing with parental issues in regards to homosexuality is supposed to be healthy same-sex friendships… and, like I’ve said, I’ve got plenty of those.  I have no problem identifying with women, or as a woman, and I don’t fall in love with every woman I’m friends with.  I even have a few healthy opposite gender friendships… so there’s no issue with hating men, here.  

The reason I’ve shut the door so firmly is because I’m so afraid of ending up back where I was, in the closet.  I recently read something that really resonated with me, I’m probably not going to quote it exactly but it was something like “the reason they call it a closet is because it’s an easy place to hide, but an impossible place to live.”  It was so horrible, hiding this from everyone, and especially from myself.  And, it appears that that is the best these ex-gay organizations can offer.  The thing that they don’t advertise on their websites is that their ‘success rate’ is about 30%, which in and of itself would already be pretty bad… but the fact is, that ‘success rate’ includes people who call themselves heterosexual, but admit to still ‘struggling with same-sex attraction’, and some who are merely able to refrain from engaging in homosexual activity… and, need I say it again?  I’m a virgin!  I already do that… is that all it takes to be straight?  Am I actually already straight?  It all just seems like a bunch of lies to me… And I don’t want to go back to living a lie… a lie that almost destroyed me.

So, maybe I’ll just leave that door closed.    

8 Comments:

Leo said...

Glad to see your back. I could say a lot of things about this post, but I'll keep it concise for once-lol. You should never live a lie. Trying to be someone you're not, is to me the worst kind of hypocrisy and sin. If you don't love yourself-enough to be honest about who you are, then that's just horribly sad and wrong. That's my philosophy anyway.

Alli said...

Hi I've read all your posts and the comments and I absolutely love it. I even recommended it to a christian friend so he could see the kind of thing I am going through too. He refused to come and see your blog because he says that homosexuality is bad, just being homosexuality, just being and not doing anything at all, not actin on it is bad. I said to him that for other sins they are doing words, action words, you have to do or not do something in order to sin, but he says 'NO just having same sex attractions and not acting on them is still sinning'...I told another friend also and he agreed that just 'being' homosexual, as in just having attractions without acting on them is a sin, he even said that if I don't get cured it's because I don't have enough faith.

Anonymous said...

From what I have read about them the ex-gay groups tend to bully individuals into changing their behaviour.

I have chosen to adopt the "celibate lifestyle" (after being pro-gay most of my life) because Christ spoke to me in a very direct way. But I have avoided contacting any ex-gay groups here in the UK (or even spoken to other Christians about the ex-gay thing) because I do not trust them not use my example to bash other gays.

~Dawn said...

Alli-

If you buy what they say, then there is no hope for anyone, the human race is doomed- "For we are all sinners"

Thank God there is someone more powerful, who loves us for who we are and we don't have to concern ourselves with trying to find love among man...

Take heart... He cares for you and I

Liadan said...

The whole "no healthy relationships with women" drives me nuts. Most of my closest friends are women, and largely straight women at that.

A lot of the ex-gay ideology tends to break down to a cultural idolatry of masculinity; gay men are lacking in manliness or fatherly love and try to osmose it through gay sex (though there is a line of thought which posits gay men as hypermasculine, you don't see that much in ex-gay thought), and lesbians either desperately want to be male because they see masculinity as power/control, or they despise men and only turn to women as a last resort.

The idea that femaleness is something valuable in itself rather than simply in contrast to maleness doesn't ever seem to occur to them. I tell my mom all the time "I don't hate men. I don't want to be a man. It has nothing to do with men. I like WOMEN."

Eric said...

Hi JJ,

I've been hunting around for an email address for ya because from time to time I think of writing to ya. If you like, shoot me an email so we can keep in touch outside our blogs! =)

Eric

hashishan prophet said...

Man is a curse sent by the demiurge Christ (yeshu ben pandera) to tempt ladies away from true jehovan faith and purity. The LORD that I AM hath decreed SAPPHO my prophet and in Her age hath discerned female-female patterns the only succesful love in this age. the PHALLOS is a heresy and a curse and must be revoked with the LOGOS disease.

I AM THE LORD. I am here to help to the truth.

JJ said...

Alli

I'm with Dawn... I can't imagine any possibility that merely having desires or temptations could be sin. The Bible says that Jesus Himself was tempted in every way, and He did not sin... so temptation of any kind isn't a sin. I think these people you've mentioned are merely hiding their homophobia behind a religious facade. It's really frustrating when people do that.

Liadan, I'd never thought about it that way, but you know, you're probably right. I did recently have an email conversation with a friend where we were discussing how stereotypically gay men are more reviled that stereotypically gay women, because it's okay -- even desireable -- for a woman to adopt supposedly masculine characteristics (she is a tomboy), but it is not okay for a man to adopt supposedly feminine characteristics (he is a sissy). It is this underlying sexism in our culture that drives a lot of the hate, I think.

and finally... hashishan prophet, I don't even know what to say to you,. I can't tell if you're joking or not. If it's a joke...uh... ha? If not... uh... seek help! Now.