California Says Stay Gay, Shut Up, or Go to Jail. Conservatives Should Give It No Quarter.
Peter Sprigg has an exhaustive and eloquent summary of conservative alarms about California’s AB 2943. This law strives to ban sexual orientation change therapy. It will prohibit engaging in efforts to change “behaviors” and “gender expression.” It also bars attempts to reduce someone’s sexual or romantic attractions to the same sex. This law does not limit its scope to abusive therapy such as electroshock. It applies to all ages. Its ban applies whether the patient wants help to change or not.
Conservatives have complained that this bill amounts to banning the Bible. In fact, its impact is broader. And crueler. Homosexual arousal already floods schools’ sexual education programs and popular culture. This law appears to take a segment of California’s population hostage to the LGBT community. Young Californians are prompted everywhere to experiment with homosexuality. Then people tell them repeatedly that if they have engaged in it they were “born” gay. By law nobody can suggest that they can stop gay activity and engage in normal straight sex.
Conservatives worry about churches and ministries. I worry most about a group few Christians even think about. The many people who end up in the gay community who are not really gay. You read that right. There are people who are pushed to experiment with homosexuality, or even get sexually abused. They can fall into a habit that conflicts with who they are. I know, because that used to be me. And many of my friends.
Gay behavior in many cases repulses and damages such people. Yet anyone who wants to help them get out of homosexuality risks legal penalties. I was gay once and now am technically straight. The California law renders me an “untouchable.” Nobody can affirm my story even if it is true. I presume that soon we will not be allowed to recount our life stories to others. Those who groomed, abused, and bullied us will get an eternal pardon. The truth will go down an Orwellian memory hole.
According to California Law, I Never Happened
So here’s my story, warts and all. I engaged in sex with males between the ages of thirteen and twenty-eight. At the age of twenty-eight I had sex with a female. I realized that I was primarily straight and soon got married. Lost in labels I called myself bisexual, ex-gay, or “beyond that stuff” depending on who talked to me. My wife and I have two children and now approach our twentieth-year anniversary. So I spent fifteen years gay and twenty years straight.
The California law is based on the idea that I am impossible. The people behind this law actually believe that nobody engages in gay sex because of trauma, bad habits, failure to find an opposite-sex partner, confusion, or cultural trendiness. I would describe myself as a male with a healthy attraction toward women. Yet by California’s logic, it would be preferable and even mandatory for me to spend the rest of my life engaging in sex with males. Those activities do not appeal to me.
Like the vast majority of males in the world, if given the choice, I would prefer to engage in sex with women. The act is more pleasant and enjoyable than the sex acts men have with each other. Looking back at my life, I can understand why I had so much gay sex between the ages of thirteen and twenty-eight. The initial sex act with older teenage boys did not seem to me like abuse at the time, as is often the case. I came to associate gay sex with a community, party drugs like poppers, and social affirmation. I developed increasingly effeminate mannerisms. I knew most girls would not want to date me. I had never had intercourse with a female. I feared I would be impotent. The risk of trying to pair with a girl and being discovered as impotent seemed more dangerous to me than the risk of foregoing sex with females and fulfilling my sex drive with other males.
I Got Out, But Can Others Do the Same?
Notice what made my case different from other people’s — I did not care what either side thought about me.
I ended up changing my lifestyle without conversion therapy, religious help, or any self-help books. Basically I decided to pursue a girl at school regardless of what people said. This was before my Baptist days. I used wine to quell nervousness. Liberals do not like my story because I had the gall to break ranks with gay culture. Conservatives dislike my impudence in pursuing a woman so shamelessly and doing it while drunk.
But notice what made my case different from other people’s — I did not care what either side thought about me. I did what I wanted and did not need others to say it was okay.
I did not feel called to this highly-charged moral and political issue for many years. Other men, I assumed, could do as I did. Time and study have made me think otherwise.
Jordan Peterson has become popular because he speaks of how personality traits affect social relations. Through his schemas I can see why my change happened in 1999. I have few friends because I tend to find myself in conflict with people. People would tend to describe me as insensitive and often brash, but this allows me not to fear disapproval. In Petersonian terms, my “disagreeableness” is part of why I could get out of a situation that others would have assumed to be insuperable.
I am a willful person who likes challenges, which explains my bizarre range of experience including a Yale degree and time in the Army Reserves. I take risks and tend to ignore advice, which explains why my writing career has been fraught with controversy. Also, I am unafraid to do unfamiliar things. This explains why I know a lot of languages. When I want something I tend to be aggressive in obtaining it. This explains why I ended up marrying a wonderful woman and did not feel intimidated by competition from other males in the same program.
Listening to Jordan Peterson has helped me understand my own life in the context of other people’s lives and the broader culture. When I assess all of this, I see why reparative therapy is necessary. For a long time I wanted other men to get out and do what I did. They cannot, literally. Certain personality traits made it possible for me to ignore the conventional wisdom around me, break social rules, and compete against other males for a desirable female.
Most boys today who get pressured or bullied into the gay lifestyle today cannot repeat what I did in the late 1990s. They have grown up in a culture that actually punishes all these traits. Schools and the counseling professions seem interested in domesticating or drugging competitive, undaunted, risk-taking, and aggressive males.
The man who wants to go from gay dating to straight dating has to overcome his own demons, strengthen his confidence, compete on a cutthroat dating market, find the right girl, get her to fall in love with him, and then get her to marry him.
On the left, feminists stigmatize this behavior in males and add layers of fear and danger to basic courtship. On the right, Christians have reacted to the hypersexualization of popular culture by fearing discussion of sex as if it is the same as engaging in it. Hence, if I write an article about the physical damages wrought by gay sex, the left will ban it as homophobic and the right will suppress it as vulgar. If I write an article about how great sex with women is, the left will call me a homophobic predator and the right will call me sleazy.
What Alternative is Presented to Gay Men?
Today young men who are twenty-eight in the gay community are really stuck. The sex acts tied to homosexuality will damage them over the long term but nobody is willing to discuss this openly. Mass Resistance published a book on Health Hazards of Homosexuality but they were banned from CPAC. Young men get a constant dose of sexual poison from porn all around them. At the same time, feminists cast any attempts to approach a female as possible harassment or sexual violence. Male virgins are mocked the way the “incels” attract constant rebukes from the left.
The conservatives’ ex-gay alternatives often emphasize prayer and celibacy. In recent weeks I have discussed the lack of sexual coaching offered to young men. It struck me as worthwhile to reach out to men wanting to leave homosexuality, to teach them how to date, court, and have sex with women. But all the things I know such men need — confidence, willfulness, disregard for social norms, risk-taking, virility — are stigmatized in males on both left and right.
This situation is so impossible. Liberals object to reparative therapy because they commit to a delusion of innate homosexuality. Conservatives do not want young gay men to pursue women and become straight.
The man who wants to go from gay dating to straight dating has to overcome his own demons, strengthen his confidence, compete on a cutthroat dating market, find the right girl, get her to fall in love with him, and then get her to marry him. If he follows Christian morality, he will wait to have sex with her until after he marries her. This is an even higher hurdle than it is for the average man. He must figure out how to function in heterosexual intercourse with copious memories of male-male sex in his brain, and zero experience with women.
I suggested in my social circles that we generate content for young men in such a situation. One ought to cast heterosexual intercourse in a positive light and acquaint them with what will happen on their wedding night. LGBTs have endless conferences telling the world their sex lives are fabulous. Why are we not holding conferences telling the world how delightful heterosexuality is? After all, we would actually be telling the truth.
My inbox swelled with rebukes from people telling me I should repent of having fornicated with my wife for the year before we married. Rather than write about it, they said, I should warn other men not to repeat my sinful ways.
Two Solutions, Same Effect
This situation is so impossible, I have concluded that California’s law is essentially irrelevant. Liberals object to reparative therapy because they commit to a delusion of innate homosexuality, to which young people must be sacrificed.
And many conservatives do not want young gay men to pursue women and become straight — they want young gay men to stay gay and become celibate. So many conservatives are helping enforce the ban on sexual orientation change just as much as liberals are. Both sides are equally unwilling to discuss in frank detail what happens in gay sex. Neither side seems all that positive about what happens in straight sex. Perhaps it makes sense that celibacy would be the best hope for a guy caught in the gay lifestyle today.
I have put a lot of work into the social conservative movement and will lend a hand in the fight over California’s law. But it would help if I felt that people fighting a ban on sexual orientation change actually believed that men can change from gay to straight — and to go from dating men to dating women. If my own side believes that is impossible or sees it as inherently wrong, I cannot see the point of fighting the law at all. Perhaps I should just stay home, stay quiet and embrace my wife.
Robert Oscar Lopez can be followed at English Manif.