Serial Killers and the Ex-Gay Movement

I’ve broached this subject before. Ex-gay organisations are up in arms over an episode of Criminal Minds that this week featured a serial killer who’d undergone sexual conversion therapy.

The show portrays members of the ex-“gay” community as ticking time bombs who are potential serial killers…It is obvious that the ex-gay movement has become such a threat to the homosexual agenda that their allies in the media and entertainment industry now feel they have to work so diligently to discredit us…

Oh, boo hoo. Everything’s a conspiracy, isn’t it?

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Last time I checked, a TV show was fiction. When was the last time you saw an organisation get upset because in fiction one of their own was portrayed as a crackpot or a killer? If I switch on the TV and watch a drama about a bloke whose footballing ambitions have been thwarted and thus starts killing referees, I don’t automatically think all footballers are psychotic. I don’t think the selection process for the Premier League creates killers.

Moreover, I don’t think when a show depicts a gay serial killer that it implies anything about the gay community in general. When Channel 4 broadcast Clapham Junction it was met with mixed reviews. Some complained about the portrayals of the gay community within it – but I don’t recall anyone saying that because one of the characters was a self-loathing gay serial killer, that all gay men are (potential) serial killers.

So why exactly have ex-gay defenders got their knickers in a twist?

Well perhaps – just perhaps – because there is a truth behind the fiction. You teach someone to hate a fundamental part of themself; prevent them from accepting their innate desires, and would it really be surprising if some of them resented those of us who do accept our desires, act on them and are even – shock! gasp! – happy?

Just listen to the message those people are hearing:

…you are not ‘gay.’  Yes, you may be physically attracted to people of the same sex, but how you act on those attractions is entirely your choice…You are priceless. But you are flawed – you are a sinner. Homosexual behavior is always wrong – demonstrably and absolutely wrong. Period. If you continue down this wide, empty path, make no mistake: it will not “get better.” It gets much, much worse.

That’s the delightful Matt Barber writing in a “Letter to ‘Gay’ Teens” published on World Net Daily. Charming man. That’s what he says he would say to his own son, were he to say he was gay. Then follows some BS about the Bible and the old lie that gay men die “8 to 20 years” earlier than other men.

Unnatural behaviors beget natural consequences. “The wages of sin is death.”

This stuff makes me so angry I start shaking. If that man would really say that to his own son then he doesn’t deserve to be called a father.

Linda Harvey, founder of Mission America, is another speaking out in favour of ex-gay conversion therapy.

[Homosexual groups] do not care about kids, all they care about is their agenda and whatever they have to do to manipulate people into committing violence against the Christian community. Their goal is to make people who were thinking about supporting conversion counseling to no longer support it…

Suffer the little children! It’s an age-old rhetoric. Isn’t trying to fundamentally alter your child’s psyche damaging? Isn’t rejecting their emotional – and, yes, sexual – life damaging? A Mormon called Jimmy Hales hit the news this week after videoing himself coming out to friends and family and publishing the videos on his blog. The poor sod spills his guts in a long and rambling post, documenting his struggles with reconciling his sexuality with his faith. He thinks he’s found the perfect solution: he’s going to remain celibate forever. His friends and family largely support him.

I’m still, and will forever be, a faithful Mormon, so it looks like I’m not going to marry and therefore live a single life through this mortal existence. Sucks.

Who would condone that? Forget sex for a minute (if you can). It always comes back to sex, and I for one am bored of it. This isn’t about sex, it’s about love. It’s about finding another person and forming a bond with them. As Jimmy himself states, “living a lonely celibate mortal life is a taste of hell.” What person who claims to care about Jimmy – about anyone in that position – would want that for him? What is wrong with you that you would deny someone a loving, emotional commitment to another human being because it makes you uncomfortable?

And don’t throw God into it. This isn’t religion, it’s a perversion. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: no benevolent God would create people in His own image and condemn them to lives of loneliness and unfulfillment while those around them get to meet someone, settle down, raise a family perhaps; and all the while have those around them smile benevolently on their relationship.

Are all ex-gays (potential) serial killers? Of course not. But I guarantee you, they’re fucked up. Who wouldn’t be? Being told that you’re broken or damaged or just plain wrong, being told it so often and so virulently that you come to believe it yourself – who wouldn’t be fucked up by that? Being told that you have to force yourself to stop feeling what you’re feeling and start feeling something else instead; that every time you ‘lapse’ you’re a failure; that the best part of yourself – your ability to love and nurture – is wicked…who wouldn’t be fucked up by that? Seriously.

The ex-gays and the hate groups will tell you that conversion therapy is no different from any other counselling and should be made available as widely (and as early) as possible. These people will tell you that a parent has the right to put their child through this process; that a parent’s desire not to have a gay child outranks the child’s right to develop in their own way and at their own pace. To make their own decisions about their future.

What about the child’s rights? Every legitimate medical authority and institute that has commented on conversion therapy has agreed that it is damaging and children should absolutely not be subjected to it. Personally, I’d like to see it completely outlawed, but of course what an adult chooses to put themself through is up to them. More’s the pity.

You don’t need to create folkdevils practicing aversion therapy – electric shock treatment; drugging – in order to show conversion therapy for what it is. Those elements, of course, were added to the drama for the sake of being, well, dramatic. Words are powerful enough to twist a developing psyche without the need to resort to electricity.

There is no evidence to suggest that conversion therapy creates serial killers – any more than anything else ‘creates’ them. Some people kill; if we knew what the trigger for that was, the world would be a much more peaceful place. But how many people who undergo that process are suicidal?

It’s something to think about.

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