In a May 15 letter, Edward D. Duffield II ’58 asked to hear the stories of “former gays” among the alumni. I am an alumna who tried very hard to be a “former gay.” I spent three years in reparative therapy and another three years participating in two different Christian “ex-gay” ministries. Here are three things I would like to tell Mr. Duffield about that experience:
• It didn’t work. I am just as gay now as I was before. Furthermore, I never met anyone in all those ministries whose sexual orientation actually changed. Just because you marry someone of the opposite gender doesn’t mean that your own orientation has changed.
• It was harmful. I wasted many hours and much money on an effort that was doomed to fail. Even worse, I tried to be something I wasn’t and spent untold energy keeping a huge “secret.” Years of depression and unhappiness resulted.
• It was unnecessary. I now realize that being gay is just a natural variant, like being left-handed. Unlike Mr. Duffield, I no longer see being gay as an “aberration and a trap.” In fact, the ex-gay myth is the real trap. It causes people to try to fix something that isn’t broken. No reputable psychological organization endorses therapy to change sexual orientation.
Thankfully, I’ve come to embrace and celebrate being gay. I no longer have to keep my sexual orientation a secret and am happily married to a wonderful woman. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the Every Voice conference, and I am delighted finally to be able to bring all of myself to my Princeton experience.