Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Ex-Gay Experience (PART THREE)

After almost three years of these programs and the intense reparative therapy and reading almost every book from well known ex-gay authors like Sy Rogers, Joe Dallas and Alan Chambers, something finally hit me and I realised that even though I had given my all that nothing had actually changed. All that praying, all of the counselling and all that effort, and those ‘curing’ exercises could not make me straight. It couldn’t even take away my desire to be with another man. Nothing had changed and I had to confront the harsh reality.....Could I really change......Will I ever be straight?

The trials and temptations only continued as I started to go deeper, past the Christian book stores and church walls and into the world, looking for research that was stronger than the programs and trying to find out if anyone had really changed. I looked closer at my bible and took into account for the first time, the context and culture behind the word of God.

Around that time, Sy Rogers was coming to speak at church and I was excited as this gave me hope for change once more and I knew Sy through his books and resources. Attending the Sense & Sexuality seminar, I was surprised that Sy did not preach a message of change. He didn’t really bring it up. This is because; as I later discovered that Sy Rogers no longer believes in re-orientation of homosexuals and that his problem was not homosexuality but rather transgenderism. In an interview with Sy Rogers he exclaims “I no longer preach a re-orientation message”.

The many Joe Dallas books that I was given to read took you through many aspects of the ‘healing’ process and the book ‘Desires in Conflict’ even has a chapter on how to date and court the opposite sex and how marriage is the final cure for homosexuality. Books and resources like these are available in abundant supply at many churches across the nation and also at Christian mega-stores like Koorong. When most Christians need advice then they head to Koorong to grab a book on the issue. If young gay Christians or parents of homosexuals were to buy a book on homosexuality from Koorong then they would get a book promoting change as the only option. This is a danger as these books cause much harm to the person trying to change.

Researching the issue more I realised that maybe change was not possible and the thought of living in this pain the rest of my life terrified me. Alicia Salzar, a psychiatrist and producer of the film ‘Abomination’ says “only 4% of people in the ex-gay programs are able to make a lasting change”.

Salzar then goes on to say “They don’t tell you about the depression, the suicides, the self-loathing, the shaming that goes on and how messed up you can really be by going through these ex-gay programs” (Salzar, 2007).

If I was going to hell anyway and I would not be accepted here then what is the point of going on, I thought. And so self- hatred ended up in self harm and I would often grab the razor blade and slowly start cutting my arms. The realisation that I was doing this gave me a shock but I felt like I was a mistake, like I needed to be punished for being gay.

One day I just couldn’t handle it anymore. I couldn’t sleep and at 3am, I got in my car and started driving....speeding as fast as I could....went down the motorways of Sydney and I made the decision that night would be my final night. So I sped down the M2 and put my foot full-throttle on the accelerate and turned my wheel toward the big concrete edges of the motorway...I went from the far right lane, drifting over to the left, and straight towards the concrete walls of the motorway. At the last moment something pressed my left foot firmly on the brake and I missed the wall by only a few centimetres. I sat there crying, realising what I had almost done and knowing that this time, by some miracle that God had spared my life.

Later that week I made an appointment with my doctor and summoned up the courage to speak about what was going on in my life. She diagnosed me with severe clinical depression which was a shock to me because even though things were hard I would never have seen myself as the kind of person who battles depression. In order to diagnose me she performed all these tests and treatments to get an accurate idea of my mental state. After diagnosis, she referred me to a Christian psychologist and prescribed doses of anti-depressants.


Benny said...

See the interview with Dr Alicia Salzar here...

The Hour: Ex-Gay said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John said...

Hello, I'm shock to hear your story, on this part. Its always a great thing to hear someone's testimony. Put part four on fast will love to read it.

Benny said...

I will put part 4 up soon.

Life is kinda crazy at the moment readers...

If you pray then please pray for me!!

Anonymous said...

Hang in there Ben. You're a good man and living a real life. You are a blessing to your friends and family and a great encouragement to many. Praying God's blessing and strength. Jeff

zharmad said...

Hey mate,
'course we'll pray for you. I agree, it's complicated. :)

Posting from Coolangatta, ybiC,

P.S. your testimony really puts the Saviour into the Lord. Praise God He delivered you from yourself too.
You told us last time, but I'm still so glad to hear it. :p