Hungry for articles that will make your brain explode? This Sunday's NYT magazine delivers a double dose. Mimi Schwartz writes a massive piece, Living the Good Lie, about gay therapists and gay psychologists and some straights who help their deeply religious clients stay in the closet in order to remain in their anti-gay faith. You know, lying to your wife and community as a form of being honest with yourself. Worse:
"In professional parlance, his sexual orientation was gay, but his sexual identity — the way he saw himself, and the way he wanted to be seen — was as a straight man."
So now the term "sexual identity" is synonymous with "wishful thinking." And apparently this travesty is widely accepted:
"In the final document, the A.P.A. clearly stated its opposition to conversion therapy and unequivocally described homosexuality as normal. But it also offered a nuanced view of religious gay people who did not want to come out. The A.P.A. considered the kind of identity therapy proposed by Throckmorton and Yarhouse to be a viable option. No effort needed to be expended trying to change a client’s religion or sexual orientation. Therapy, in fact, was to have no particular outcome either way, other than to guide the client closer to self-acceptance, whatever the client believed that to be. The difference between sexual orientation and sexual identity was microscopically parsed. “Acceptance of same-sex sexual attractions and sexual orientation may not mean the formation of an L.G.B. sexual-orientation identity,” the report stated. “Alternate identities may develop instead.” It further stated that acting on same-sex attractions might not be a fulfilling solution for everyone."
Yes, there's a shred of nuance between orientation and identity. But seriously. White people who completely immerse themselves in African-American culture cannot say their "racial identity" is black.
Schwartz has the good sense to end her article with the quote, “He’s actually pretty happy,” Flanigan said, “except for a nagging voice in his head that tells him he’s not being honest about who he should be.”
In the other article Benoit Denizet-Lewis profiles Michael Glatze, 36, a former XY colleague and cofounder with his then-boyfriend Ben of the magazine Y.G.A. Young Gay America, who is now virulently ex-gay:
"Homosexuality came easy to me, because I was already weak,” he wrote in the opening line of an article for the far-right Web site, WorldNetDaily.com. He went on to renounce his work at XY and Y.G.A. “Homosexuality, delivered to young minds, is by its very nature pornographic,” he claimed. In a second WorldNetDaily article a week later, he said that he was “repulsed to think about homosexuality” and that he was “going to do what I can to fight it."
Once again, the gay stories are exclusively about white men. Impossible to imagine that these are the two most important or most interesting queer stories to be told.