Living a Lie is Not Truly Living

At the heart of the junk science of gay conversion therapy, also known as reparative drive theory, is a grossly-overgeneralized notion, summarized by Dr. Warren Throckmorton, who comments on this most novel theory belonging to the late Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, who theorized that "the formation of male homosexuality ... [is due to] distant fathers and overbearing mothers [which] together created a family triad which greatly increased the chances that a male child would become gay." (link) Let us unpack this idea carefully.

Never mind the insurmountable problems and inconsistencies with this theory. Never mind that many straight men had distant fathers and overbearing mothers. Never mind that male twins had a distant father and an overbearing mother but one guy is straight and the other one gay. Never mind that male twins had a distant father and an overbearing mother but are both either straight or both are gay. The most troubling aspect of Nicolosi's novel theory is that such a scenario may greatly increase the chance that a male child would become gay.

May? Increase? Chance? This is not science. Technically, this is not even good philosophy or theory, because there are far too many variables that practically undermine such a notion. (Note that I oppose reparative drive theory, or gay conversion therapy, and am behind laws to cease the practice.) But the primary agenda of conservative religious (and even many non-religious) and right wing political advocates is to discover the origins of homosexuality so that they can seek methods to convert the homosexual to heterosexual. This is because the notion of homosexuality is deemed "an abomination" from their (biblical) perspective.

"Ex-gay" (anti-gay) advocate Christopher Dolye states: "Leaving the homosexual lifestyle, becoming ex-gay, overcoming same-sex attractions -- whatever you call it -- seems to be the only unacceptable behaviour on the sexuality spectrum these days." (link) But Doyle conveniently omits the central narrative of this alleged rhetorical dilemma: Why would a gay man or a gay woman want to "leave the homosexual lifestyle" and become a so-imagined "ex-gay"? I will tell you why: because such individuals are shamed into shunning their own inner reality by religious conservative evangelicals. That is the one and only reason.

I remain baffled at how much evangelical so-called Christians love lies. They would rather a gay man live the lie of a life, naming him an "ex-gay," than to embrace truth, reality, and still serve and worship God in and through Christ. How disgraceful. How utterly disgusting. Such an individual does not even have to engage in homosexual sexual activity. But to shame such a one into the life of an "ex-gay" framework is not only deplorable, speaking volumes about their alleged faith, but even coerces the gay believer into a tormentous existence. Living a lie is not truly living. Even the vast majority of "ex-gays" boldly admit that they are still same-sex attracted. "Ex-gay," then, is quite the blatant misnomer.

Revisiting the junk science of gay conversion therapy, Christopher Dolye, having noted that scientists have not yet discovered a direct biological cause for homosexual inclination, confesses, "I personally believe that a person's sensitive temperament, which is biological, will make them susceptible to developing SSA [same-sex attraction], but this is a pre-inclination, not a pre-determination." (link) (emphases added) Note the blatant inconsistency. He "personally believes" (and that statement is subjective at best and is no more or no less valid than what is offered by the scientific community or psychotherapists studying human behavior) that some men are biologically born with a sensitive temperament that "will make them susceptible to developing" same-sex attraction. Read him carefully.

He proverbially rails against any notion that some men are born gay but then brazenly posits that some men are born with a pre-inclination for being gay. What is the difference? Well, primarily, he wants to avoid, at all cost, any insistence of a pre-determination. If some men are biologically born to be gay then changing one's biological make-up is an impossibility. As long as he can portray homosexuality as a pre-inclination, and what leads one to be homosexual are causal factors, then homosexuality can be "cured" or "healed."

Why, though, are some men biologically born with a pre-inclination to being homosexual and other men are born without said pre-inclination? Doyle cannot offer a viable reason; he cannot know the answer. But he thinks he knows for certain that men are not born gay! Yet there is another inherent problem with his theory that evinces its implausibility.

Not all men are born with said susceptibility, but some are, and those men may develop into homosexuals. The caveat conveniently protects his theory, though, "but this is a pre-inclination, not a pre-determination." In other words, this alleged susceptibility will only effect some, and the ones who it will effect are those who have had emotionally-distant fathers and overbearing mothers. However, as already noted, this bunk theory is undermined by an inconvenient reality. What of gay men who had emotionally-fulfilling fathers and life-affirming mothers? Author Justin Lee comes to mind. Then there are those with Doyle's theoretical "sensitive temperament," who fit his presumptive ideological mold (complete with the emotionally-distant father and the overbearing or over-protective mother), but who are straight. What of them? Why does his theory fail these straight men?

My point is this: If you are a conservative religious-minded individual who is attracted to his or her own gender, and you maintain a perspective, biblical or otherwise, that being attracted to your own gender and engaging someone sexually (or emotionally, relationally, physically) is morally unacceptable, then remain single and celibate. But do not live a lie, either, and attempt to be something that you are not -- heterosexual. Believe this or not, you actually can embrace your own reality of being gay without forming a same-sex union, and you are not even required by Christ or His Gospel to feel shame about this reality.

But allow me to make another shocking statement: You are not required to believe the lie of gay conversion therapy in order to be right with God by grace through faith in Christ. As a matter of fact, as I have been arguing in several posts, God already knows the truth about your same-sex attraction; and, since God properly contextualizes and sustains all of truth and reality, then trying to deny your own same-sex attracted reality is to betray the reality of God. God loves you regardless of your attractional reality. God, in no conceivable sense whatsoever, requires you to become straight in order to bless you, to save you, or to love you every moment of your existence. I beg you not to listen to well-meaning but severely-misguided professing believers like gay conversion advocates. The One who sustains and properly frames truth, Jesus Christ, welcomes you to live the truth that is your life.


There is no such reality as "the homosexual lifestyle." If, however, the alleged homosexual lifestyle refers to attending bars, random hook-ups and attending functions that offer cultural or relational support within the framework of human relationships and human sexuality, then heterosexuals also live "the homosexual lifestyle," since heterosexuals also attend bars, practice hooking up and socially gather together at functions that offer cultural and/or relational support within their heterosexual context.

For someone to properly be titled "ex-gay," one would have to no longer be attracted to one's own gender, for "being gay" merely refers to being attracted to one's gender. "Being gay" no more refers to someone having gay sex than "being straight" implies that the straight person is having straight sex. An ex-Baptist is someone who no longer subscribes to Baptist ideology. An ex-wife is a woman no longer married to her former husband. An ex-employee is someone who is no longer employed by his or her former employer. An ex-gay, then, would be someone who is no longer attracted to his or her own gender. As long as a man or woman is still attracted to his or her own gender, then such a one is still gay, and "ex-gay" cannot be used to refer to this individual.


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My name is William Birch and I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition but converted, if you will, to Anglicanism in 2012. I am gay, affirming, and take very seriously matters of social justice, religion and politics in the church and the state.