March 16th, 2009


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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