“How can you stop being gay?” 3/26/14

stop_being_gayThe short answer? You can’t.

Along with my personal blog, jimmiejoe.com, I also post at Queerlandia.com (shameless plugs), where I’m Vice-President and senior blogger.  Early Tuesday morning I was checking our stats page, and saw a search engine query that brought a reader to our blog.  It’s something that pops up from time to time, and it breaks my heart every time I see it, no matter the exact wording.

how can you stop being gay?”

You can’t stop being gay* anymore than a straight person can stop being straight.  That’s not how sexuality works.

Oh, you can be celibate, trying to avoid being gay, but all you’ll be is celibate.  A gay celibate.

You can turn away from anything that might be attractive to you.  You can try to occupy your mind with something else…  anything else.  You’ll still be gay.

You can try dating a member of the opposite gender.  You might even have sexual relations with them, get married, and raise a family.  You’ll still be gay.

You can see a “therapist”, and he’ll tell you all you need is Jesus.  Perhaps another will try aversion therapy.  Maybe they’ll psychoanalyze you until you’re both blue in the face. Was your mother too protective, your father too remote?  Did someone recruit you?  (I really want to hear THAT pitch!)  You can sit around a campfire with other men, beating on drums, trying to find your inner heterosexual.  There!  In the flames!  Grab him quick, before he gets away!

They’ll take your money, and after a time declare you cured.  Go forth and be straight!

But you’ll still be gay.  You can’t stop being gay.  Deep down, you know that.  But here’s what’s important –

It’s OK.  It’s good.  Dare I say it? – it’s fabulous!

To see someone searching the internet looking for ways to stop being gay is heartbreaking.  Is that reader ashamed of who they are?  Are they afraid to be out to others?  Has somebody spent a lifetime, whether deliberately or not, telling them being gay is the worst thing that they could be?  Will they be tossed into the streets if they come out?  Will they be fired?  Will other people assault them?  I imagine a young boy (or it could just as easily be a girl) despondent about their feelings, afraid of the possibilities, and desperate not to be gay.  Perhaps they’re praying to have this taken away, to be “normal”.  How many stories have we heard of teens praying endlessly to have the “sin” of homosexuality taken away, only to be ignored by the one who is supposed to love them the most?

Oh, we’ve all heard stories of the “ex-gays”.  Some will claim they “came to Jesus” and were “cured”.  Some may even have convinced themselves of that nonsense, but they are relatively few of the thousands who have tried.  Even those who founded the “ex-gay” movement are now admitting that it never worked.  Not on them, and not on anyone they knew who went through the “change me to straight” mills.  It just doesn’t work that way.

Our mystery visitor may be dealing with a level of self-loathing that many of us in the LGBT world understand.  Society for so long told us the worst thing in the world for a man was to be a queer.  Movies, television, novels and more all presented the gay world as perverted, evil, criminal, and immoral.  Only in the past decade or two have we began to see a change in those presentations, and even as positive role models emerge in all walks of life (since “the gay” is literally everywhere), it can still be daunting to realize you’re not straight.  But you don’t have to fear it.  You’re not perverted, evil, criminal, or immoral.  You’re just gay.  And that can be a good thing, if you’ll let it.

Trying to change sexual orientation doesn’t work, causes harm, and is painfully unnecessary.   Don’t waste your time or money.  Don’t let the preacher tell you you’re going to hell.  (first of all, he doesn’t know that, no matter how often the voices in his head tell him so, and secondly there is no such thing as hell anyway!)  Don’t let “friends” determine who you are.  You get to decide that, not them.

Don’t try to find it, or hide it, in drugs, alcohol, sex, or extreme risk-taking.  Go all Zen on it…  accept what is, then explore from there.  But do it while being true to yourself, otherwise you’ll endure your own private hell on Earth.

“how can you stop being gay?”  You can’t.

You can’t stop being gay.  Don’t listen to anyone who says you can, should, or wants to “help” you stop.  Just be you, and let the rest work itself out.  Being your authentic self is the adventure, literally, of a lifetime.

Don’t miss out on the music because somebody else doesn’t like the tune.


*I’m using ‘gay’ to represent the entire LBGTQI etc. spectrum here

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s