Can the Ex Gay Apology be Trusted?
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I didn’t know my sexual orientation was still up for debate. Progress is made at the US Supreme Court, but not in certain religious conservative circles.
Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, announced the closing of the organization. What appeared as a seismic shift, or a closing chapter in the harmful history of ex-gay ministries may be neither. I suggest we all listen to the coded language and read the fine print.
Chambers, a married man with two adopted children, and a purported ex-gay convert himself, has something up his sleeve.
In a public mea culpa titled " I Am Sorry" published on Exodus International website Chambers wrote: "For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical..."God is calling us to … welcome everyone, to love unhindered....Please know that I am deeply sorry.”
For some of us, however, in the LGBTQ community Chambers' apology is more than a day late and a dollar short—it's suspect.
Chambers act of contrition is suspect not only because of huge cultural and legislative changes made in support of our civil rights, but also because Chambers also knows from his own first hand experience of same-sex attraction that one's gay sexual orientation is never a choice and can never be "cured."
At last year's Exodus International annual conference Chambers stated, "I do not believe that cure is a word that is applicable to really any struggle, homosexuality included.... For someone to put out a shingle and say, 'I can cure homosexuality'—that to me is as bizarre as someone saying they can cure any other common temptation or struggle that anyone faces on Planet Earth."
And at last year's Gay Christian Network (GCN) conference, Chambers told the audience, “The majority of [ex-gay people] that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9% of them, have not experienced a change in their orientation…The vast majority of people that I know do still experience some level of same-sex attraction."
Just five years ago, the American Psychological Association put out an official position paper stating, "The longstanding consensus of the behavioral and social sciences and the health and mental health professions is that homosexuality per se is a normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation."
The negative health outcomes both emotional and psychological