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Doolally in the USA

Gay to Straight  Stacey Dooley in the USAIt’s half term, the weather sucks, and the third day of our holiday break is spent playing a mash up of Dragons, Ponies and Babies. All of which require me to be the said creature, crawling around on all fours, until my owners-my five year old son and my four year old daughter-decide it’s time to assert their authority and sit me on the naughty step for one minor misdemeanour or another. It’s their idea of heaven. Pulling Mummy around on a make shift lead and telling her off when she fails to trot fast enough on command.

I manage to make it through the day and end up collapsing, with my wife, and a good bottle of Merlot, in front of the television. Surely nothing will beat the absolute nonsense of Derren Brown’s Apocalypse, and actor, Steve, who’s in on the spoof. But it does. Episode two of Stacey Dooley in the USA begins on BBC3 and we know we’re in for a treat. Tonight she’s exploring the gay conversion therapies, readily available in the USA, that claim to increase the probability of heterosexuality. I take a big swig of wine. I think I’m going to need it.

The first thing that gets my goat is when Floyd Godfry, a notorious gay conversion therapist, calls it a ‘condition.’ Being gay is a condition. I turn to my wife and wonder if I should ask for some paracetamol. How awful to call it a condition. When someone has a ‘condition,’ you immediately know there’s something wrong with them. Well, apart from having slightly carpet grazed knees, there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. I pick my wine back up, and against my better judgement, decide to watch on. Two minutes later and the wine’s back down. The mother of ‘confused’ seventeen year old, TJ, is clarifying her point. “It’s like me trying to decide if I would be okay with him being a terrorist.” Sorry, did she just compare being gay to being a terrorist? Yes she did, and her other son, TJ’s younger brother, sticks the boot in too, declaring, “I don’t know if I’d be supportive of him choosing to be gay.” So it’s no wonder poor TJ, (who did make me laugh when he said he thought straight sex was “kinda gross,” and that he “enjoys a good wrestle,”) decides to ship himself off to gay conversion camp, whereupon he’s told that his same sex attraction is simply a fault that can be fixed.

By this point I’m in complete despair. What utter bollocks! Could a weekend in the forest turn a straight man gay? Take my dad for instance. He’s embraced my sexuality. What if he wanted to prove his absolute loyalty to me and felt the ultimate way would be to embark on a homosexual affair. Could he go gay for his girl? .... So off he trots to the forest. I’ll stop there. It’s getting too weird. My point is that he wouldn’t. He couldn’t. He shouldn’t. But unfortunately these kids feel like they must show solidarity for the lifestyle their parents have adopted. They feel they have to fit in. They feel they have to become someone else, in order to be loved. And who can blame them with parents who say, “I can handle anything but him being gay,” or “The thought is repulsive,” or “I thought he was going to be a great husband and daddy.” I felt heartbroken. Especially when one father hailed the conversion therapy as essential since his son had already attempted suicide. How confused can you get? The conversion therapy will fail and then what are you left with? A child who feels nothing but that ‘failure’.

Please, someone let these kids know they’re okay. Let them know that heterosexuality and homosexuality are equal. That gays and straights are equal. That sexuality is not a choice. It’s who you are and it’s what you should be most proud of.

Kiki Archer

Kiki Archer is a lesbian novelist. Check her out at www.kikiarcher.com

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