Exodus Co-Founder “Knew It Wasn’t True”

In case you’ve ever wondered about all those “ex-gay” groups, the biggest of them is Exodus, and it’s co-founder says “Deep down he knew it wasn’t true”… In the interview shown below he says essentially that Exodus is about repressing feelings. “Reparative therapy” doesn’t mean you stop being gay, it means you just repress the feelings and become asexual or focus on any heterosexual feelings you might have if your bisexual.

When I was getting my high blood pressure figured out I went to a hypertension specialist and he felt there’s a good chance I’m hypertensive because I was gay and grew up in a fundamentalist environment. Repressing who you are is not healthy, it’s not “therapy”, and it can lead to serious health problems.

So if one of the guys who started it thinks programs like Exodus are all smoke and mirrors, that sorta deflates their claims pretty effectively. Wherever it comes from, if you’re gay, you’re gay… Accept it and move on…

Powerful Afghan Men & Their Dancing Boys

Back when I was in college I did my honors thesis on homosexuality in the Middle East. After a fair amount of research I found there are homosexual traditions in the Middle East that are accepted despite the fact that homosexuality is punishable by death under Islamic law. Modern, Western gay relationships are out, but what you find are one of two things – 1) cross dressing, and 2) pedophilia. Think of Middle Eastern cross dressers as pre-op transexuals who live their lives as women. Despite the segregation of men and women, the cross-dressed men are allowed to spend private time with women outside their family (which is unheard of). The pedophilia was well structured and took the form of young “apprentices” to older “masters”. The older men didn’t consider themselves gay because they would have wives and families. The boy was just something on the side.

The other night Frontline had a program the other day on “The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan”. Afghanistan has a tradition that’s called “bacha bazi” (بچه بازی) which literally translates to “baby play”. Poor young boys are recruited by an older wealthy men, their families paid pretty well for the boys, and they’re “trained” to entertain men. Not stated in the documentary, but pretty clear from watching which boys are recruited, is the fact that they’re trying to find and recruit kids who are probably gay. It probably also explains why the families are willing to  sell the boys – I doubt they’d sell their butch, rugged son, but it’s not such a big deal to sell the kids who they suspect to be gay.

The entertainment consists of dressing them as women and having them dance for a group of men. Curiously, the dancing part is quite modest – like women dancers, hardly any skin shows.

The issue is that after the performance their “master” (owner) may lend the boy to another man for the evening and sex is expected. From a western perspective this is literally sexual slavery of minors. The other big problem is that while some of the boys manage to fit in (the femmy gay ones), ones who resist and cause problems are often killed.

What’s interesting is that it’s all practiced pretty openly. Frontline even showed one case where bacha bazi was the entertainment for men attending a wedding. And most of the men who involved are powerful, with standing in the community – military commanders, police chiefs, businessmen, etc.

When I was in college studying sociology and Middle Eastern studies one of the big challenges was to try to look at cultures from their own eyes – cultural relativism. The Afghans who are outraged about bacha bazi are typically western educated, English speakers, or strict Muslims (the Taliban banned bacha bazi). I think part of their outrage comes from that fact that rich, powerful “straight” men with families might actually be gay or bisexual. Yes, there are serious exploitation issues with bacha bazi, but I think homophobia is a big part of the opposition to it. If the boys were older and things were more consensual (like western drag queen) many of the opponents would probably still be opposed to it.

However, the traditional Afghan seems to pretty much accept bacha bazi, and in a culture that isn’t all that fond of educating women and makes women wear burqas, it’s really not that surprising. Human life just isn’t intrinsically valued in Afghanistan like it is in the west. All men are not created equal. In Afghanistan if you’re male and wealthy you get to do pretty much what you want. And if you’re poor or female your life will be dictated by others with more power. Women literally can’t show their faces in public and some poor boys are required to have sex with older wealthy men.

So ultimately this is less about a sex crime and more about principles of basic equality. You can pass all the laws you want outlawing bacha bazi (as the Taiban did), but it will have little effect if you don’t instill in people that everyone is inherently equal and that there are certain human right everyone just gets without earning them.

If you’re sitting there thinking the Afghans are so horrible for accepting bacha bazi, think again. Many in the “Tea Party” movement seem to have big problems with the fact that the country is being led by a black man and say pretty horrible things about him based solely on his skin color. Others spend millions of dollars fighting civil rights for gay people. Others don’t like to ride in airplanes with Muslims. Then there are the thousands of hate crimes that are reported every year with some people getting killed simply because of the color of their skin, or their religion or their sexual orientation. We’re really not in a position to throw stones at the Afghans.

Equality Isn’t Something You “Study” Or Vote On

To add insult to many years of injury, the Pentagon has decided that the next step in “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is to “study” the problem despite the fact that more than enough studies have been done already, and every other first world country has successfully implemented openly gay men and women into their armed forces without any problem.

How would you like it if some did a study as to whether people like you should be treated with equality and respect? They’re literally going around asking service members and their families whether they have a problem with gay men and lesbians serving, as if we should care if they don’t.

What would the reaction be if we were asking people if they minded if Jews, Mormons or African Americans served in the military? It’s an absurd question on it’s face.

Yet these things do happen… I remember when I went to the University of Texas at Austin I stayed in a private dorm that was run by Jews (orthodox Jews got the lowest floors, then more mainstream Jews were on the floors above them, then there was a mixed intensive study floor, and then the top of the dorm was where the ‘goyim’ lived). When I sat down with them and they were trying to find a room for me they said “well, we have a spot on the intensive study floor, but your roommate would be Latino – do you mind that?” The question floored me. While I was brought up in an almost all white environment I had been taught race didn’t matter.

I know none of this sort of thing comes as a shock to people who are racial minorities and have faced inequality all their lives, but I still really wish I could turn the table on some of these bigots and have a study which asked people if they should be treated with dignity and respect. They seemed to have forgotten “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”…

I know it’s just a matter of time before Don’t Ask Don’t tell is gone, but it sorta galls me that a President who’s had to deal personally with racial discrimination can’t stand up for the core principle of treating everyone equally. Taking policies like this down slowly reinforces the idea that it’s understandable to be a bigot.

And how can a military that doesn’t live by “equality and justice for all” police that concept around the world? Military conflicts just get worse when soldiers think the person they’re pointing their guns at aren’t as good as they are…


Even though President Obama it crystal clear about getting rid of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the White House has also made it clear that they won’t get rid of it until their ‘study’ is done. What is the logic in that? Either their not taking the study seriously and it’s recommendations will have no impact and they’ll do what they’re telling the LGBT community, or they are taking the study seriously and they may not get rid of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, in which case they’re flat out lying to the LGBT community. Pick a side – any side… Just stand for something…

Dan Savage On Marriage

This is one of those “I couldn’t have said it better myself” moments… Dan Savage goes point by point showing that straight people, not gay people, have redefined marriage. Traditional marriage was about passing property (a female) from one male to another (a father to a husband). Needless to say that’s not the case any more, so we no longer have traditional marriage and no one wants to go back to it. Instead we have the union of two equals now and marriage is defined by the people in it, not externally. If it’s about anything it’s about commitment and companionship.

Take a listen…

Senator Burris Opposes Marriage For The Elderly

Senator Roland Burris (D), the man who was appointed by deposed Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to replace Barack Obama in the Senate, came out with the following quote a couple days ago…

My concept of marriage is a male and a female for the perpetuation of the species, for children to be born and identify the bloodline and the heritage. But I’m pretty sure, as things are moving along, that that will probably change. (Source)

So, if we take him at his word that means he opposes marriage for anyone who can’t bear a child. So, if you’re a woman over 45 Burris wants to take away your right to marry. Pretty much all marriage for the elderly is out. If you have fertility problems he feels you shouldn’t be allowed to marry.

Thing is, I’m pretty sure he’d be shocked at what I just said. Apparently he’s not bright enough to understand that from a reproductive standpoint (which is the point he’s arguing) there’s no difference between an elderly straight couple and a gay couple. Actually, the gay couple is more likely to adopt an abandoned child – but of course there’s no place for that in his ideology either – if it doesn’t pop out of your uterus it’s not your ‘bloodline’, ergo not worthy of granting you marriage.

Of course this is ridiculous. Even Burris understands things are changing – too bad he can’t figure out it’s only logical that they’re changing. A bloodline argument for marriage hasn’t made sense for hundreds of years (if it made sense back then).

All I can say is thank god views like his aren’t prevalent among young people – there’s hope for the future!