October 7, 2018, 6:00 AM

"Torn" Session 4: Chapter 6

Torn Chapter 6



            The focus of chapter 6 is Lee’s experience with so called “conversion therapy.”  Lee has realized he is gay.  He does not want to be gay, so he puts his effort into trying to become straight.  He begins to search for groups/programs to help him with this.  Most of the resources he was able to find locally were for men who were or had acted on their attractions.  He was unable to find help for a teenage boy with same-sex attraction and no sexual experience. 

            With his parents, Lee attends an “ex-gay conference” out of town.  The conference was advertised as being for ex-gays and their parents.  However, most of the people Lee meets at the conference are parents of gay children who are living openly.  The keynote address included admonitions to fight against the “gay agenda,” and painted the issue in a very simplistic, “us vs them” (gay vs Christian) way.  Lee states that the speech made him very uncomfortable.  He says, “It didn’t seem very much like Jesus.” 

            Next, he attends a break out session on “The Root Causes of Male Homosexuality: A New Christian Ethic,” which upheld Moberly’s “reparative drive” model stating that all male homosexuality is due to a poor father figure that leaves a boy unable to properly relate to the same sex.  Lee knows that this is not his experience.  He says as much during the question and answer portion of the session.  Other people come up to him after to thank him for his comments.  They too do not have families that fit the model being presented as fact. 

            Lee then takes on some of the larger players and organizations across the “ex-gay” movement.  His basic conclusion is that ex-gay organizations do not do what the claim to do.  The ex-gay movements that Lee investigates define success as people refraining to act on their same-sex attraction, not an actual change in orientation.  Lee concludes that ex-gay movements do not help gay people become straight, as they do not actually bring about a change in attraction.  At best, they encourage gay people to live as straight people in terms of how they act.  This, he points out through examples, leads to more secrecy, denial, and betrayals in relationships.


Quotes of Note:

            “…therapy can’t make gay people straight and that what’s typically happening is behavior change, not orientation (that is, attraction) change.”  -pg91

            “In a Gays-vs-Christains world, admitting you’re gay makes you an enemy of Christians.  After hearing some of these people’s horror stories, I'm amazed that any of them have any faith left at all.” –pg86


Questions to consider:

            What are your thoughts on the topic of “ex-gay therapy” and the stories Lee highlights?

            Think about Terry’s story.  Lee states that he was blind to the “pain and damage” the church was doing.  What is he talking about?  What can/should be done differently?

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