walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

New York Times Magazine article about an "ex-gay"

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/19/magazine/my-ex-gay-friend.html

4 pages, very depressing photo of the guy in question at the beginning.

I felt like the author sort of missed an opportunity by mentioning that the guy's father died when he was 13 and his mother when he was 19 and then not really following up on that.

I felt that these paragraphs were particularly unfortunate:

[quote begins here]a young man who was fascinated by queer theory — namely, the idea that sexual and gender identities are culturally constructed rather than biologically fixed — and who dreamed of a world without labels like “straight” and “gay,” which he deemed restrictive and designed to “segment and persecute,” as he argued in a 1998 issue of XY. Though he conceded back then that it was important “to stay unified under a ‘Gay’ political umbrella” until equality for gays and lesbians had been achieved, Michael preferred to label himself queer.

As Ben and I reminisced, I couldn’t help wondering if Michael’s new philosophy might, in a strange way, be a logical extension of what he believed back then — that “gay” is a limiting category and that sexual identities can change. Ben nodded. “A radical queer activist and a fundamentalist Christian aren’t always as different as they might seem,” he said, adding that they’re ideologues who can railroad over nuance and claim a monopoly on the truth."[quote ends here]

Really? That's where you're going to go with this piece? Equating radical queer theory and related ideas of sexual fluidity with fundamentalist Christianity of the Everyone Is Straight form? Really? In what universe does _that_ make sense?

Look. The guy in question clearly has some issues (his parents died when he was young, of _course_ he has issues), and one of those issues is that he doesn't feel right unless he's thoroughly marginalized. He was gay and became straight. He hung out with Buddhists and became a Christian. He joined the Mormons and decided they weren't Bible enough. Believe me, if there's a safe prediction to make about this person, it's that he'll find a way to marginalize himself out of every group he joins. Given he's picked Montana [ETA: H. correctly points out it was actually Wyoming], I can only say that I hope someone notices if he holes up in a one room cabin and writes a manifesto, at least notices enough to make sure that's _all_ he's doing up there.
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