Posted by: nastypen | April 16, 2007

Give It To Me Straight

Recently, I saw that CNN Untold Stories about the Ex-Gay movement. I have heard of this industry in which Americans send in their effeminate sons, butch daughters to a facility that promises to make them straight.

I was in the mood to watch horror stories so I did not flip the channel.

It was a distrubing insight to tell people it (homosexuality) is a choice and it is a decision. That it was a matter of listening to CD’s aiming self-hypnosis, focusing one’s aggression and repression by beating a pillow and that one can be converted to “normal” that is being straight.

I always had to deal with self-righteous people addicted to the heights of their morality. What disturbs me more is that morality is a growth industry. Such is the case of those facilities in America aiming for this conversion. People shell out thousands of dollars to be “normal.”

Here in the Philippines, I have no idea if such facilities existed HOWEVER I am not surprised if they do and have conversion therapy. I was talking to friends of mine and we discussed growing up gay in this country.

One had a harrowing experience of receiving annual memos from a Catholic school warning him of “excessive effeminacy.” He has to submit a letter to the school promising the authorities that he will not exhibit flamboyance. As a result of these negotiations, he along with his gay friends enroll last. He said he and his friends won’t speak to each other for a week or so or else they might be caught by the school authorities of “excessive effeminacy.” After the third week, it was business as usual.

That school is run by this religious order comprising of brothers. One time at a gathering, the religious brother took the stage and mouthed off against homosexuals. He said that gays should be nailed to the cross and be burnt in hell. My friend fell silent and dumbfounded. The brother ranted on about about the faggots being the scourge of society. My friend’s classmate began pelting him with crumpled pieces of papers, pens, garbage and chanting “Burn, burn, burn.”

Incidentally, the word “faggot” came from the medieval times; it was a bunch of sticks used to alight the stake burning sodomites.

My friend just shed one silent tear but did not flinch as abuse reigned over him via words and flung objects.

I had had my share of this frankenstein’s angry villagers type of violence. I was pushed. Kicked. Punched. I concealed the bruises because I did not want my mom to worry. I noticed that I was always bullied by groups, like a pack of wolves. I guess, like most moralists, when they combine together, they think it is a show of might and force.

I never cried.

I took their abuse while some of my gay friends ran away, I stood there not afraid but angry at this sort of predatory maneuvers by boys with nothing better to do.

I remember reading my school manual and there have been sections there devoted to the treatment of homosexuality. Gay students are frowned upon and must be met with disciplinary measure. Expulsion is seen as an answer to homosexuality. I thought if they expelled us, the school will be devoid of its most brilliant students. Our valedictorian, who has one of the highest IQs in that school’s history, was addressed by us as “The Empress.”

I heard of stories of gay students being terrorized by a system that sees it as an appropriate response to those who do not fit. It is a sad cliche, but a violent one a lot of times.

No wonder these ex-gay facilities flourish so. It is human nature to scorn what is different. I guess I am fortunate that my parents are smart and understanding and did not beat me nor ship me to such a facility. I do not know how will I react if I was shipped into these concentration camps.

I was shaken by that feature, so I turn to my tried and tested therapy: Comedy and Satire.

So, I look through my film library and saw a copy of the cult classic But I’m a Cheerleader to make me laugh. Let me tell you, this movie is NOT brilliant. However, it supplies the viewers the lengths some people go through just to be “normal.” Critics’ scorns aside, I really laugh everytime I see this film. I find it funny because it is just too stupid to be real HOWEVER I know at the back of my mind, I am wrong because this stuff happens. No spoilers here, people.

So, Natasha Lyonne is the cheerleader and she has a hard time feeling desire for her jock boyfriend. Evidence A:

kiss me, you fool

My God. I always pause this part, so I could laugh for a minute. Friends and family are concerned that she is a lesbian because she listens to Melissa Ethridge‘s music. Yuh, like I listen to Marilyn Manson and I’m into satanic rituals. Smart.

The main character says she can’t be a lesbian because she’s a cheerleader! Yup, this warped thinking spills over that gays can never be in the military because they might scream and sashay in battles.

This is how she looked when she finally realized that she’s a Lezzie:

What, me, lezzie!?!?!?!?

Well, I didn’t look like this when I realized that I was gay. I just sighed, sat in a corner and read. I was comforted that the Reniassance art’s greatest masters were homosexuals. It was comforting to look for people with similar inclinations in history. You would not believe the list I stumbled into enumerating great men who also love men.

Anyhoo….

So, she is shipped to a rehabilitation facility that deals with teenagers with “confused sexual identites.”

This is the house that will make you straight:

barbie's dream house?!?!?

Uh-huh. Yah, sure.

So, while in the facility, the patients undergo gender gentrification activities. The girls should become more feminine by nurturing their maternal instincts by practicing how to change diapers. So, to be a REAL woman, one must also know how to do this:

a good woman knows how to clean!?!?!?!?!??!?!

I do love their outfits, though. The woman in the middle is the brilliant Cathy Moriarty. She is the headmistress of this school and she would make a fine terrorist drill sergeant.

As for the boys, well, REAL men must love guns:

POSE!!!!!!!!

Ah, God Bless the Charlie’s Angels homage in this clip and please tell me you get the subliminal message of the cutout figures on the right.

So, the boys have their own trainer:

Work it to the left!!!!!

Yup, that shirt he’s wearing is convincing at the backdrop of the color of the van. By the way, that dude is portrayed by RuPaul! For those who are pop-culturally-ignorant, this is how RuPaul usually looks in public:

oh my......

My my my. And we have some Pinoy presence in the movie:

mabuhay ka, mama!!!!

It’s Dante Basco! Wow, I’m so proud that he is unafraid to take a role in this movie. He plays a closet member of a high school wrestling team. Love those Greco-Roman moves!

That facility has even graduation rites proclaiming that the patients are finally straight. This place, and a lot of people around earth, believe of the Adam and Eve dichotomy:

show us your goods!!!!!!

I laugh at the narrow-mindedness of some people. I find it amusing when they have a hard time broadening their horizon. They cannot seem to dislodge themselves from the 1+1=2 mentality. Humanity is just too varied and divergent to be classified into “right” and “wrong” segments. I know, some of you out there reading this, do not particularly share my thoughts. Some of you are grossed out on the thoughts of homosexuals and are all-too-ready with the labels “perverts” and “sinners” to be cast upon my kind like stones.

Well, if only you can de-limit yourselves in this world. Try to look at it with different eyes. the world does not revolve around you nor your sets of standards.

Yet, I know, ultimately, ignorance is the true culprit for genocides. I just remember the feeling of profound grief when I went to the Holocaust Musuem last October. And I reminded myslef that an assertion of strength is not by force, not by casting stones, not about who has the bigger muscles but a steely determination to understand and the ability to remember and learn.

I may have had my fill of laughter from that satiric movie. But, I know, some young gay boy or girl out there is deathly afraid of his/her own skin. That person wishes he or she was not different. That person is angry and tortured and inflicting with self-hatred. Such people are the easy exploits of these ex-gay facitilites.

Why search for a cure for homosexuality? It is not a disease in the first place. But is there a cure for society’s multi-layered ignorance?

I don’t know.

All I know is that I want to sit next to these young gay people who are afraid and angry and say I have been there and I feel for you, but that I was ultimately comforted and made strong by a lyric in Les Miserables which goes, “To love another person is to see the face of God.”

Period.

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Responses

  1. ang haba ng entry mo ateng! chos. anyway, napanood din namin ni bridget ang cnn report na yan and it was really disturbing and funny and scary.

  2. as jher said, we were able to watch the CNN segment. i am still organizing my thoughts and references because i wanted to make a paper about it. initially, as a psychology major, i was astounded by the parameters of the reversal therapy and that there are implications that the APA is somehow “accepting” it after years of revoking the concept. uminit na naman ang ulo ko. charos.


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