(cross-posted, practically speaking, at Pam’s House Blend)
David Benkof, the former David Bianco, claims:
There is zero evidence I am ex-gay.
Dear Mr. Zero Evidence of Whatever:
This sounds like you’ve been to the Bush-Cheney-McCain school of linguistics. You’re using a term that everyone is familiar with (with them, its ‘freedom’, ‘democracy’, ‘compassion,’ etc.; with you here, its ‘ex-gay’ and, perhaps ‘gayfriendly’) and attaching some personal definition of your own to it to ensure that those to whom you speak do not come away with what you actually mean.
Here’s something that the California Supreme Court had the opportunity to consider while it was deciding the Marriage Cases:
As my religious identity as a Jew became more important to me, I began to question many aspects of the way I was choosing to live, including the fact that I wasn’t keeping Shabbat and I was having sex with men. After beginning to keep Shabbat, it became easier to imagine not having sex with men. After all, if God could tell me what to do on a Saturday, couldn’t he also tell me what I should do with my bedroom life? On New Year’s Eve in 2002, I was in Las Vegas, I had sex with a man and I said: “I’m not going to do that again.” With the help of a therapist (who was very gayfriendly but was willing to help me bring my life into accord with my values), I changed my own self-understanding and behavior.
From my perspective, for this Court to rule that “orientation” is like race or gender would suggest that I was born with a category that stuck with me my whole life, and that just didn’t happen. Everyone has a unique sexual and erotic universe includes what hair color one finds attractive, or whether men or women dominate one’s desires. Our contemporary way of boxing sexuality into two or three orientations just isn’t true across cultures. If the California Supreme Court declared homosexuality a suspect class like race or gender, they’d be saying people like me don’t exist, that somehow my life story of change and choice in identity and behavior (if not always in attraction) is less real or true than another person, who shapes their identity around their dominant sexual attractions in a more direct way.
The citation for the above is: Email interview by Maggie Gallagher with David Benkof, Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, Mannassas, VA (June 20, 2007), in Brief of Amici Curae Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (“JONAH”), Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (“PFOX”), And Evergreen International, in Support of Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund, at 15, In re Marriage Cases (No. S147999).
You can have your own personal definitions of ‘ex-gay’ and ‘not an ex-gay’, but you can’t legitimately assert that there is no evidence from which people of reasonable intelligence can reasonably draw a conclusion that the term ‘ex-gay’ applies to you.
Is your assertion that only those who OD on christianity/pseudo-christianity are ‘ex-gay’, whilst individuals such as yourself whose “unique sexual and erotic universe” is influenced by judaism to the point of giving up same-sex sex are ‘not ex-gay’ but something else?
Or are you saying that Maggie Gallagher made up that conversation from which you were quoted to the California Supreme Court?