Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Parents Kill Gay Son's Spirit through Ex-Gay Therapy

There is a story going around the Internet about a Christian couple who spoke at the recent Exodus International conference about how they helped kill their gay teen's faith and spirit through six years of ex-gay materials, therapy, and prayers.

After years of non-stop prayers for Jesus to help pray away the gay, Ryan gave up. He gave up on the Church. He gave up on Christ. He gave up on himself.

And why wouldn't he? He had been told that he would become heterosexual if he prayed enough. And he prayed enough. More than enough. Not only that, but his entire family and faith community was actively praying to deliver him from homosexuality. For years. And it wasn't enough.

Why wouldn't he give up?

What followed was a spiral into out-of control addiction that eventually killed him. You can read about it here, but you can watch the video of their story here:

I know I'm supposed to feel bad for this family, but I can't help but be furious at them for being so instrumental in what became of their son. And where was the beloved gay uncle in all of this?


D.J. Free! said...

I am intrigued by the number of people for whom anger is the response to these parents. (I don't think that's inappropriate by any stretch of the imagination, but it was not my response). I see these parents as victims as much as I see their son as one. They placed this pressure on their son (and all of them paid a very dear price for it) largely because the Church has been peddling these silly lies about "change", and they've been emboldened by those at Exodus. I'm not saying that the parents don't have any responsibility - they surely do, and I think they know it, and feel the guilt of it every day of their lives. But there are millions of Christian parents out there unwittingly doing the same thing, completely unaware of the potential danger they're putting their children in. In their minds, putting pressure on their kid to "change" is the same as putting pressure on their kid to get out of a bad relationship, or to stop having sex. So my anger is towards the people selling them these lies, and I pity those foolish enough to buy into them.

Jon said...

They talk early on about the gay uncle and how much they love him. So they weren't totally anti-gay before their son came out -- or they exaggerate their affection towards this relative.

But they cut their son out of relationship with the uncle and with anyone who might have been of support to their son.

I know I'm feeling a bit punchy in this situation, but I've mostly read people praising the family for shifting their attitude in light of what happened to their son. But I can't help but believe that they and everyone else that was allowed around their son helped contribute towards his addictive behaviors.

D.J. Free! said...

As a parent, I'm sure you have a different connection to this than I do.

It's unclear to me what they mean by how they "loved" the uncle. My guess is that they never accepted him, but loved him like they loved all "sinners".

I agree with you wholeheartedly that they contributed to his addictive behaviors. Do you feel that they themselves DON'T feel that way? Or do you feel that they don't feel guilty about it all?

Jon said...

I have no doubt that they feel guilt over how this went down.


I share your sentiments, Jon. We are not living in the Dark Ages anymore; people choose to be ignorant about LGBT status.