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The Right to Choose


[Extract from]

By definition, homophobia is "fear or hatred of homosexuals". Ex-gay ministries and many orthodox Christians neither fear nor hate homosexual people.  All Christians can acknowledge that each person has been given the freedom (not license) to live out their sexual lives according to their wishes.  Equally, Christians should respect that some gay and lesbian people do not want to be lesbian or gay.  There are also a lot of people who are attracted to their own sex but who would never consider themselves gay or lesbian.  Reorientation ministries are here for all those people; to offer support in their journey toward becoming the people they want to be.

Critics of ex-gay ministries say such attitudes contribute to homophobia. According to web site

It's important to note that those critics are often pro-gay individuals who've never been gay or lesbian themselves or gay persons who have not experienced or desired sexual reorientation. Those who have found help and experienced change report that the life they lived as gay people was miserable for them, especially after the initial relief of coming out had passed. And we tend to put more weight on what they say as, after all, they have seen both sides.[i]

FreeToBeMe says that change happens through process.  Sometimes people think that if they pray enough or wish hard enough, their homosexuality will just disappear. This is an unrealistic expectation. Changes in the area of sexual orientation happen as a result of a process, which usually involves some hard personal work.  Imagine wanting a vegetable garden. You could pray for years that vegetables would grow in your backyard.  When nothing happens, you might even decide to be angry at some unseen being for not hearing your prayers.  However, the reality is that we must prepare the soil, plant the seeds, water and weed, and do other work.  This gives the best chance that there will be an abundance of vegetables to harvest.

In the same way, individuals who want to experience changes in their sexuality must do a lot of work as part of the process. They need to prepare the space in their lives for the growth desired.  How long the process of change from homosexuality to heterosexuality takes depends on a number of factors. FreeToBeMe and other reorientation agencies contend that some of these factors include:

The root issues that are involved:

The more difficult or complex the underlying factors involved in a person's same-gender attraction, the longer the process of change may take. For example, the process may take longer for a person who has experienced severe sexual abuse in childhood than for someone who has experienced mild sexual abuse. For one man, most of the sexual abuse that happened in his childhood was worked through fairly quickly. One particular abuse incident, however, took four years to work through because of the degree of shame and destruction of personhood involved.

How much support a person has:

The more helpful things a person puts in place, the better progress he or she can expect to make. For example, a woman who only attends a support group will most likely make slower progress than another woman who is also in individual counseling, involved in her community, and has friends with whom she can share what is happening in her life.

One's ability and willingness to face difficult personal issues:

As the process of change involves facing difficult personal issues and the pain related to these issues, a person's ability and willingness to face these things will affect their rate of progress. Related to willingness is the question of whether a person truly wants change. Some individuals say they want to change, but are not prepared to take serious steps to accomplish this. A person who thinks, for example, that entertaining a little fantasy now and then is ok, should not be surprised when change doesn't proceed the way they hope.

FreeToBeMe  claims it is not unusual for the process of change to take 5-10 years. This is no reason to despair.  They are not talking about 5-10 years of going through hell!  Many people change their identity much sooner than this. Significant relief from the intensity of homosexual feelings can also come much sooner.

[i] FreeToBeMe, “Aren’t you just a bunch of homophobes?”, 2/22/01.