Nicolosi: Gay People Can’t Be Fair to Ex-Gays


Virulently anti-gay bigot Joseph Nicolosi says in a post on the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) website that “ex-gay” advocates should not even speak to gay journalists or commentators because gay people are not capable of evaluating “the ex-gay experience.”

The adoption of this gay identity necessitates the abandonment of any hope that he could ever modify his unwanted feelings and develop his heterosexual potential. He must surrender his earlier wish that he could have a conventional marriage and family. So in order to internalize this gay identity he must mourn the possibility of ever resolving his unwanted homosexuality; i.e., he must grieve the loss of what he yearned for.

It is this process of grieving his own hopes and mourning his own dreams which prevents the person who later identifies as gay from believing that change is possible for others: “If I myself could not change, how could they?” Perhaps on a deeper level, this thought is also rooted in anger: “If I cannot have what I wanted for my own life, neither should they.”

Explaining this inherent bias of the gay-identified person against the ex-gay person’s experience, an Orthodox Jewish friend of mine commented: “It would be like a group of rabbis deciding that they themselves would determine if Jesus really was God.” “Worse,” I responded. “It would be more like a person desperately trying to find God in his life, abandoning the hope and adopting atheism, then setting himself up as the person who determines the reality of God in the lives of others.”

And it is that grieving process, that painful letting-go of one’s dreams, that has biased the gay person’s evaluation of the ex-gay experience.

Isn’t it interesting how certain Nicolosi is that every gay person dreams of not being gay and wishes they could develop their “heterosexual potential”? That every gay person wishes they could have a “conventional marriage and family”? Yeah, I’m sure gay people really are biased against being told that they are broken and an “abomination” and that if they just pray hard enough they can magically become straight. I’m sure they are biased against those who reinforce the self-loathing that society’s anti-gay bias has already drummed into them, often literally at the end of a clenched first (or worse). That doesn’t sound like an unreasonable bias to me.

Comments

  1. Nepenthe says

    Isn’t it interesting how certain Nicolosi is that every gay person dreams of not being gay and wishes they could develop their “heterosexual potential”?

    He must be extraordinarily confused by bi and pansexual people, like myself, who have same-gender partners.

  2. says

    I greatly appreciate posts like this. For my entire life, my attitude toward being male has been, at best, “meh.” (To forestall certain comments, I’m not claiming that men don’t enjoy a host of advantages; obviously they do.) For a very long time, I wanted passionately NOT to be male; but I was born in 1960, so my childhood and adolescence were spent during a time when only bizarre, wealthy eccentrics got sexual reassignment surgery–that’s just wasn’t going to happen. I’ve gradually come to terms with the body I’m in, though I rarely feel any enthusiasm for it.

    It’s nice to hear one isn’t a freak of nature; or, if one is, it’s not a moral failing to be one.

  3. says

    “Nicolosi: Gay People Can’t Be Fair to Ex-Gays”

    Well, he may be right. Then again, horses can’t be nice to unicorns and I suspect that unicorns are as numerous as “Ex-Gay” people.

  4. timberwoof says

    “he must mourn the possibility of ever resolving his unwanted homosexuality”

    Uh … no. At first I didn’t want to be gay, but then things changed: I met “nice” gay guys in college, felt comfortable with sexuality for the first time, and was relieved that I didn’t have to have sex with women. (Gosh, I hate social pressures and the thoughts they created in me!)

    Nicolosi is displaying an astonishing lack of self-awareness in this just-so story. He starts out by making shit up about how I feel. Then he goes all meta on us and makes shit up about me making shit up about how ex-gay people feel.

    Of course, he’s not gay or ex-gay himself, so how the hell does he know anything about those experiences? I suppose that journalists of any kind ought to avoid talking to him for exactly the same reasons he says gay journalists should avoid talking to ex-gays.

    One big problem with NARTH is that ordinary people have no easy way to evaluate the scientific accuracy of their claims. They think NARTH is an authoritative agency, and when I try to debunk NARTH, my debunking is dismissed as “biased”.

  5. thascius says

    Probably every gay/lesbian individual in the western world has the experience of denying who they are, trying to suppress those feelings, saying “I’m not really gay” or “I’m not gay anymore.” Telling themselves that if they just don’t give in and admit to being gay those feelings will eventually go away. In other words, every homosexual has lived the “ex-gay” experience, whether they call it that or not. Most of us get past it, and find we’re much happier living an authentic life than pretending to be what we’re not.

  6. pocketnerd says

    It is this process of grieving his own hopes and mourning his own dreams which prevents the person who later identifies as gay from believing that change is possible for others: “If I myself could not change, how could they?” Perhaps on a deeper level, this thought is also rooted in anger: “If I cannot have what I wanted for my own life, neither should they.”

    Yesss… the gays, just like the women and the non-whites, hate you, envy your success, and want what you have. Be afraid. Be resentful. Vote Republican.

  7. exdrone says

    It would be more like a person desperately trying to find God in his life, abandoning the hope and adopting atheism, then setting himself up as the person who determines the reality of God in the lives of others.

    This analogy is telling. It assumes that society needs or is expecting someone of authority to decide status, be it the existence of god or the reality of sexual orientation, for everyone else. Why can’t the individual just decide for him/herself?

  8. steve84 says

    Of course he immediately starts by assuming that these feelings are “unwanted”. It goes downhill from there.

  9. Happiestsadist, opener of the Crack of Doom says

    You know, I’ve never wanted to be straight. Ever. My queerness is most definitely wanted. I must be doing it wrong or something.

  10. pacal says

    Let me get this straight. Gays are incapable of evaluating the Ex-Gay experience, but he, Nicolosi, and of course Narth and Ex-Gays are perfectly able to evaluate the Gay experience, which he then proceeds to do negatively of course.

    Well Nicolosi. Whatever!

  11. says

    Call me a dreamer, but I now have a vision of Nicolosi as NARTH Vader, travelling the galaxy in his Death Star, menacing the Rainbow Alliance, and telling Luke that he is not actually gay, and that he should search his heart and he’ll know it to be true.

  12. dogmeat says

    I would also argue that gays being opposed to an organization that advocates hurting people, misleading them, etc., isn’t any more biased than minorities who are opposed to the Klan, Jewish people who are opposed to the Neo-Nazis, etc. If I know someone is doing harm to someone else, I’m highly unlikely to be friendly towards their position.

  13. zero6ix says

    Of course you gays can’t understand what it’s like to be ex-gay. The continual reinforcement of the lies you have to tell yourself, the never ending nostalgia trips when you could be true to yourself, and those late nights, hunched over the computer, browsing those sinful MSM or WSW personal ads and wistfully sighing. It’s really hard you guys!

  14. eric says

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that most gays probably don’t give two wooden nickels whether some other gay person remains celibate or has opposite-sex-sex. They probably care a lot more about the anti-gay messaging that comes from folk from NAARTH (gay OR straight).

    As for the bit about journalists, well, “don’t talk to a mainstream journalist” seems to be pretty good advice for most right-wingers in general, because they are so good at making themselves look bad. I’m sure most NAARTH ex-gays would suffer the same problems on camera as Palin or EW Jackson – just letting the camera roll with no editing at all makes them look crazy.

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