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Homo- and Hetero-statistical
Can homosexuals become "ex-gay"? Some people think so. The leading conversion group, Exodus International, refuses to publish any verifiable statistics on success rates. Another program, Living Waters, claims a 90% conversion rate without any evidence. Two independent researchers found that only 15% of people who entered the Exodus program were converted to heterosexuality after three years. An additional 23% are now assexual. Hooray! That's a win?

My problem with "ex-gay" success rates is that all the participants of Exodus International actively searched out the program and entered it with a strong desire to change. It's a self-selecting sample, creating a huge bias. I'd like to test that theory, with your help.

So, my question is: how many of you out there have ever tried to change your sexual orientation? Of course, this is also a self-selecting sample, only recording my gay, lesbian, and transgender friends who read my LiveJournal, and who felt like responding. The best idea would be randomized sample of all people, gay or straight... but doing that large of a survey would be impossible (finding subjects, people refusing to answer, lying, defining homosexuality, etc.) However, I want to see how many LJers have tried to become straight and failed.

Have you ever tried to change your sexual orientation? And how?

Entered a dedicated long-term "ex-gay" conversion program
Attended one or a few short-term sessions, each lasting a weekend or month or so
Went to a few "ex-gay" meetings or lectures, but never seriously joined any program
Tried to "pray the gay away" with a church group or counselor
Studied on your own, reading "ex-gay" books or websites
Used pure force of will to banish gay thoughts, or stopped masturbating
Never ever tried to change your sexual orientation
I am "ex-gay"

Without prejudicing the results by sharing my hypothesis, I'm guessing that 99% of my gay friends have tried not to be homosexual at some point in their lives. Either during adolescence and puberty, or perhaps at a catastrophic low point in our lives. I'd bet that almost all gay men in the US have tried to become straight, even if only for a week or two (or a day) and failed. That's over 12 million failures.

Exodus International only has 120 local ministries in the US. Even if one hundred men are enrolled at each ministry (a huge overestimate) and if it is indeed true 90% of them are cured each year, that's only 10,000 successful "ex-gays". That's not even 0.001% of the total estimated US gay population! Is Exodus International proud of the fact that only one *thousandth* of a percent of gay men in the US are converting sucessfully to become "ex-gay"? Are they saying that their cult is the only one that works?

Note: results and comments are not anonymous

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I have never thought there was anything wrong with being gay.

And, from the moment I realized that I was gay, I have never wanted, or attempted, to be straight. I do occasionally engage in the pursuit of wondering what I would be like if I were straight, but not because I want to.

I'm definitely in the wouldn't change to straight if I could category. (I mean, if it was necessary for the survival of humanity for me to get a woman pregnant and help here raise the children, I could, but that is far from being the case.)

It is often said that gays are threatened by bisexuals. Particularly, but not exclusively in the case of bisexual males, there is a presumption that bisexuals are not willing to give up the acceptance of heterosexuality. I personally have had several bisexuals confide to me that they are more comfortable in same-gender relationships, but want to be viewed as "normal."

Is your presumption that all gays would change if they could, juxtaposed with your outing yourself as bisexual, trying to tell us something?

>Is your presumption that all gays would change
>if they could, juxtaposed with your outing yourself
>as bisexual, trying to tell us something?

Wow! You always play hardball, Sir. My conclusion was exactly the opposite... most gays stay gay because they couldn't change even if they wanted to. Which they don't. Only a very small minority can become asexual, and fewer than that can truly "change" = those that were probably bisexual in the first place. I didn't mean to imply that all gays wanted to do be straight. I enjoy too many things about gay culture (bikers! getting dirty! being piggy! rough sex! blue collar guys! wrestling! ah... there are too many things to cite) to wish to solely live in a straight world (titty bars! forced monogamy! swingers! accidental pregnancy! objectifying women! hugh hefner!). My outing was incidental to the post, not related.

I was really off by my 99% prediction. Fewer of my friends have tried to change than I expected. Perhaps coming out as gay is nice because you can stay in the closet until you are ready... by the time you make your mind up, you've made your mind up and there is no reason to second guess yourself. I was waaaay wrong about that. Maybe because I'm bisexual I could have an easier time of having sex solely with women if I had to. So, to me it might have been a conscious choice: I could stay straight and live a loveless but easier life in the straight world, or I could admit I liked guys and go for the glory of hot sex, intense connections, and bears. (bears!)

For the record, I'm just theoretically bisexual... the opportunity for meeting women hasn't arisen often since I live and play in the gay ghetto of the bay area. I just like kinky people: men, women, FtM, MtF, unlabeled. I just find it easier to meet men that are into what I'm into.

Edited at 2009-03-17 12:26 am (UTC)

just to keep punching when you're down, how much of the masochistic/slave persona has to do with self-loathing that's connected to sexual identity issues? While we're at it, how about the fascination with both the ultra-macho stuff and deliberately indulging in getting dirty with other males of all orientations?

Zero on the the first one. I'm not attracted to gender play, or sissificiation, playing with straight guys, or homophobia in a scene. If someone called me "faggot" as an insult, I'd probably yell back, "Yeah? Whaddya want?"

But ten on the second. I totally love being a man. To me, men are dirty. They do filthy nasty disgusting dangerous jobs. They *stink*. So, yeah, I love being as piggy as I can possibly be. It's a lot of fun, and very spiritually fulfilling.

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