In just under a week, Beyond Ex-Gay will be sponsoring their first Ex-Gay Survivor Conference. I haven’t been following the details of it until just recently. But the more I hear, the more excited I’m getting. So when I saw that they are inviting others to write and say what the conference means to them, I decided to speak up.
I do not consider myself an ex-gay. I never went to therapy. I never joined any of the various organizations or support groups that loosely make up the ex-gay movement. The closest I ever came to the ex-gay movement was to read a book written to help people “come out of homosexuality.” Beyond that, I merely prayed for God to change my attractions and asked friends to do likewise.
However, I do think I understand the kind of self-loathing and sense of frustration that drives a person to undergo such therapy. After all, those were the same feelings that motivated my own solitary struggle. (Truth be told, I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t try ex-gay therapy.) I can understand how the need to change can be so intense when you believe that your value as a person, moral integrity, and happiness all hinge on overcoming same-sex attractions. I can understand being willing to do almost anything to rescue yourself from that. And I know the kind of emotional and spiritual damage you can do to yourself while operating from that mindset.
That knowledge is the underlying motivation why I started working on my personal story months ago. I look at what I put myself through during that time of my life, and my heart aches to think that other people are facing those same struggles and choices today. And every fiber of my being cries out to help them find a better way the first time around and save themselves that kind of pain.
To me, I see the same desire motivating this conference and bXg in general. I see a group of people who wish to share their own experiences so that others might think twice about repeating them. I see a group of people who like me, are saying to those around them, “Let’s find a better way together.” And I find that comforting and encouraging.