Recently, an anonymous reader left this comment on another thread:
I am perplexed by the tenor of the blogger's comments re his account of informing his wife that he is homosexual. He seems to suggest that he has started on a path that irrevocably leads him away from any notion of a hetersexual lifestyle. Therapist Floyd Godfrey of Mesa, AZ and Evergreen have successfully counseled many a struggler to understand the genesis of his homosexual feelings, address the relevant factors and revive his heterosexual feelings. If that is the path that Hurricane wants to explore, he should vigorously investigate. Signed, a fellow struggler.
Other gay Mormon bloggers have spent far more time on the question of changing one's sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual than I have. The reason for this is pretty simple: I don't believe it's possible.
Our anonymous friend here suggests that the work of Evergreen International and a therapist in Arizona have helped many understand their homosexuality and begin to change it or, at least, cultivate some heterosexual feeling. Though I myself have never been through reparative therapy, I know many who have, and I am familiar with the work of Joseph Nicolosi and NARTH, and I assume the aforementioned Arizona therapist subscribes to the same essential theories about male homosexuality and its origins.
The biggest issue I have with the approach of Evergreen, Nicolosi, NARTH and the broader "ex-gay" movement is that their theories about the origins of homosexuality have never resonated with me. Nicolosi points to an overbearing mother, an absent or distant father and the resulting early eroticization of male relationships. He describes how this precludes some men from forming close non-sexual relationships with other men; all of the male relationships become sexualized. Moroever, Nicolosi, et al, theorize that such men are uncomfortable in the world of men--they are more effeminate and sensitive; they are more artistic and less athletic. In other words, they are more stereotypically gay.
I am not stereotypically gay. I have, over the years, had close relationships with heterosexual men that I felt very comfortable with. I don't paint, sing, dance or act. I played sports willingly in my youth and on most days can tell you the score from last night's Red Sox game. Though my parents were divorced and my family dysfunctional on many levels, my mother was not particularly overbearing. I am not effeminate. (But I will plead guilty to being sensitive.)
It also seems to me that many of the things that those in the Nicolosi camp describe as the social and environmental causes of homosexuality are in fact the effects of a biologically-determined sexuality and the social distress that results from it. Do young boys who are alienated from their fathers become gay because of that? Or are they alientated from their fathers because they are gay and different from other "normal" boys? The latter is a more plausible explanation for me.
The general lack of success that reparative therapy has in changing one's sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual cannot be overlooked. All discussions of politics in science and political correctness aside, there is just no solid evidence that it happens in anything but the rarest of circumstances--and even then, definitions cloud the picture enough for me to be skeptical. The many men I know who have been through such therapy are as gay now as the day they began any systematic and therapeutic efforts to change. That's not to say that such men are not out there. They may well be. I, however, have never met one. Moreover, many of the men I do know who have been through reparative or change therapy come out of it feeling damaged. (Though, to be fair, many have also described the experience of bonding with other men like them and of learning how to be more comfortable in the "world of men," as healing. Still gay though.)
And, finally, after all these years, I simply don't want to pursue reparative or change therapy because I don't want to change. I hated myself for being gay for so long. I desperately wanted to change for many years. Not anymore. I'm comfortable with myself. I accept that I am gay and always will be (and always was). More than accept it. I am happy that I am gay. I feel complete now in a way that I never did when I was in the closet and struggling against my sexual orientation. I am more myself than I ever have been, and I think that is overwhelmingly a good thing--for me and the people I love.
I can understand why the anonymous commenter is perplexed by the tenor of my comments on this blog if he still believes that his own homosexuality is something to be overcome. But I don't look at it that way. It's not something to be overcome. It's something to be accepted and embraced.