Credit: (Robert Ullman)

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Last week, Montgomery County high schoolers brought home an extra special science lesson with their report cards: A flier from Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) informing parents that their gay kids don’t have to stay that way.

The flier, which claimed to be in the business of promoting “diversity for the ex-gay community,” contained a series of “scientific” ruminations on human sexuality. It’s all good, but this is my favorite part (emphasis mine):

According to mainstream psychological associations, there are no replicated scientific studies to support that a person can be born “gay.” No “gay gene” or gay center of the brain has been found. No medical test exists to determine if a person is homosexual. Sexual orientation is based on feelings and is a matter of self-affirmation and public declaration.

The gay center of the brain: The final frontier.

So, while the world’s most brilliant scientists are busy mining the deepest recesses of gay brains in search of that elusive chocolaty center, I’ve got a related question for PFOX: How many real, live ex-gay people has PFOX discovered at this point?

PFOX claims that the ex-gay community grows by the thousands each year. But last time I checked, PFOX’s ranks were overflowing with “everstraights”—-heteros who say they have never been gay, not even once in college—-and positively hurting for members who had really, truly successfully prayed the gay away. I can only conclude that the world’s ex-gays are all on a very long vacation to somewhere just out of our reach—-the gay center of the brain, perhaps!—-sipping on Mai Tais and having enthusiastic heterosexual sex with their spouses, far away from the uncomfortable glare of scientific fact.

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Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) promotes diversity for the ex-gay community. Ex-gays demonstrate that those with unwanted same-sex attractions can seek help and information on overcoming their feelings. All individuals deserve the right to self-determination and happiness based on their own needs, and not on the needs of others. PFOX supports tolerance for everyone regardless of sexual orientation.

PFOX can provide: resources for parents and students, ex-gay speakers for your school or club, books for your school library, and brochures on same-sex attractions, bullying and tolerance.

Who are ex-gays?

Every year thousands of people with unwanted same-sex attractions make the personal decision to leave a gay identity through gender affirming programs, including therapy, faith based ministries, and other non-judgmental environments. Their decision is one only they can make. However, there are those in society who refuse to respect an individual’s right to self-determination. Consequently, formerly gay men and women are subjected to verbal and physical attacks simply because they dare to exist. Ex-gays and their supporters are denied equal access and support, forcing them to remain silent for fear of negative reactions and disapproval, while gays are affirmed for their decision to come out as gay. Former homosexuals do not think something is wrong with them because they decided to fulfill their heterosexual potential by overcoming unwanted same-sex attractions.

But aren’t some people born “gay”?

According to mainstream psychological associations, there are no replicated scientific studies to support that a person can be born “gay.” No “gay gene” or gay center of the brain has been found. No medical test exists to determine if a person is homosexual. Sexual orientation is based on feelings and is a matter of self-affirmation and public declaration.

If only one part of you has gay feelings, should your whole life be gay identified?

Many people would agree that just because one part of you feels a certain way, it doesn’t mean you entire identity is that way. Having feelings of same-sex attraction may make you feel different. We all feel the need to fit in and be accepted. But no one should identify themselves based on sexual feelings alone,. There is more to your identity than your sexual attractions. Thousands of ex-gay men and women had those very same feelings when they were in school. You may have heard, “You must be gay!” But no one should be labeled based on the perception of others. Get smart! Explore the origins of your same-sex attractions. Why do I have these feelings? Where did they come from? The decision of a prom date, a car, or whether to super-size those fries can be based on a feeling, but important decisions should not be made on feelings alone. In order to make an educated decision, you have to be informed! Sexuality develops over time. It is not necessary to label yourself today.

Find out more at www.pfox.org !!!

(These materials are neither sponsored nor endorsed by the Board of Education of Montgomery County, the superintendent, or this school.)

Illustration by Robert Ullman.