I used to go to bed some nights and pray earnestly that I would wake up straight the next morning. Some mornings I would wake up not feeling very gay, and I would get excited that maybe God had finally heard me and made my wish come true. I would nervously try to have an erotic thought about a man, just to test whether it still turned me on. And sometimes it did nothing for me and it would be further evidence that perhaps this was the day God had chosen to heal me of my homosexuality.
The test would come at school where I had an infatuation with a pair of 16-year-old twins. They were tanned, with brooding good looks, and I was always trying to get a glimpse of them. Sometimes before school on these miracle cure days I tried to picture them to see if the effect was the same. But they would always be my downfall eventually. I would find myself attracted and wanting to fantasize, and I would realize -- after a full three or four hours of being miraculously held in a state of straightness by the power of the Spirit -- that underneath I was gay after all.
I guess I could say that's my excuse: I really am straight, except for the fact there are just so many beautiful men in the world; yeah, other than them I'm a bona fide heterosexual.
Trying to be straight when you're really gay is almost always a bad idea. I don't say that because of a conviction that it's genetic, but because I've seen the disasters that happen when gay men try to be straight. As if the litany of ex-gay champions who eventually go back to being gay didn't speak enough, there's my friend who married and had children, all under the advice of his pastor and wife, who both knew he was gay, only to find after ten years that it was a living hell and he had to get out; there's another gay friend whose self-loathing has driven him to attempt suicide several times.
I'm fearful for Zach right now. His first response to the furore surrounding his time at Love in Action is ambiguous at best; yet I fear he may yet be propelled down the path of trying to be straight. When he says that "homosexuality does run people's lives and it's not a place I want to go", I fear he's been presented with a particular portrait of the so-called "gay lifestyle", and he's believed it. The "gay lifestyle" that fundamentalism portrays is no more representative of gays than clubbing, one-night stands and teenage pregnancy represent the heterosexual "lifestyle". Yet perhaps being presented with an inaccurate, slanderous picture of what being "gay" is will be enough to push Zach down the ex-gay path. Perhaps he now has the sham marriage to look forward to, the children left without a daddy when he can't cope with being straight any more, the depression and suicide attempts as he struggles to suppress the person he is inside. Perhaps.