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A Dangerous Message?

Why do some people feel as though trying to change was a waste of time and others feel that time was wasted not trying to change? For those whose attempts to change seemed unsuccessful, the problem is not that change is impossible but that change is improbable. These individuals likely were given an inaccurate or incomplete explanation of what the process of change entails, or they may have set an unrealistic timeline for their expected transformation. I’ll just say that while many factors can add to or subtract from the challenges of going through this process, no one is without the potential to change their sexual orientation. Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, in his book Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality, writes, “There is always an underlying… latent heterosexuality — on which to build change in the client who seeks it.”

An accusation I commonly receive during speaking engagements is that my desire to change is not really my desire to change. Rather, our homophobic society causes me to want to change so that I can avoid being misunderstood or ridiculed for my homosexuality. But I find this logic hard to swallow because I have been harassed and misunderstood as an ex-gay just as much as I would have been if I had embraced the gay identity. In fact, probably more so. (The term “ex-gay” refers to anyone who has experienced homosexua feelings or behavior and who is in the process of changing his or her orientation.)

Of course, I could avoid all of this hassle by keeping my struggle a secret, which is the solution that Christians usually offer to LGBT people. We say, “Why are homosexuals so blatant, always making a spectacle of their sexuality by kissing in public, wearing wedding rings, and telling everyone what they do in the bedroom?” But asking people to keep themselves a secret is not the solution.

A person’s sexuality is not a huge deal, but it is a big deal. Forcing someone to hide their sexuality is not healthy because emotional congruency is a central element of mental and spiritual health. Being forced into the closet is not healthy for those who have chosen to embrace their homosexuality, and it’s not healthy for those of us who have chosen to come out of homosexuality.

CHAD W. THOMPSON
Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would (2004) Brazos Press: Grand Rapids, Michigan

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