CONVERSION THERAPY

CONVERSION THERAPY

Today’s update will be Kito Diaries’ hundredth post. And to commemorate it, I wondered: what other write-up is suitable than something penned by Absalom? Here’s another thinker by Absalom. Read and enjoy.

*

Foreword

Some gay guys stick to the story of a “conversion” in their lives, muddling it up with their first sexual experience – all to feel better about a sexual orientation that’s hard to deal with. It’s understandable, but this class of “converts” is not my problem this morning.

A bend in the rod

Some of the most interesting stories we’ll ever hear of sexual encounters are those involving a gay guy and a straight guy. It seems the idea behind describing heterosexuality with the term “straight” has something to do with “non-derailment”, “being on course” – unlike the other kind of guys, you know, we the bent ones.

These stories, about a gay guy and straight guy having sex, make me smolder with quiet envy. I have a pillowcase list of straight guys I really like, but who, remain just friends with me. It’s hard bearing that kind of attraction each time I’m with them, but I’ve survived worse. One of my BEST friends when I was in university – Tonna – was my crush for at least 3 years. We did everything friends do together but I couldn’t tell him how I felt about him. Because he is straight; he was always talking about girls and his woes with them…while I listened patiently and wondered: Why not try me? Many times I came close to pleading with another friend of ours (this one’s gay) to please – please – seduce Tonna, make things easier for me. Then I’d feel ashamed of myself. How could I contemplate something so diabolical towards my own friend? If I didn’t possess the skill to bend him gently without breaking him, perhaps I should just let the attraction go.

And I did eventually.

I used to believe it was morally wrong for a gay guy to sleep with a straight guy. It seemed deceitful, manipulative and even abusive. I don’t think that way much these days; I’ve learnt to own my envies and work on them. If a (gay) guy is skilled enough to get a straight guy to bed, good for them: Someone else has done something I couldn’t do with the likes of Tonna, who am I hit him on the head with The Handbook of Gay Etiquette? In the biblical story of the “fall of man”  at Eden, Adam was as much accountable in eating the forbidden fruit as was Eve; short of drugging a guy or pumping him with alcohol or killing him then fucking his corpse, or (like me) contemplating sending an emissary to him on your behalf, seduction is a two-way street. It’s the rare seduction, if at all, that passes without the consent of the parties concerned.

The question

I loved the comments under *this* post about bisexuality. Nearly all the commenters agreed sexual orientation is not black-and-white, can be fluid and even messy. So, if as gay men, we hold this to be true, where do some peeps get the idea that they can convert a straight man to gayness?

The conversion

In the Christian bible – Luke 15:1-10 – Jesus Christ impressed upon his followers that a sinner who repents and comes to the way of god will be celebrated by the angels in heaven. It’s no wonder today one of the strongest mandates of Christianity is conversion. The average Christian takes it very personal – feels it an obligation – to direct you to Christ, sometimes in the most intrusive ways. Which brings us back to “straight-to-gay conversions”…

First off:There’s a perceptible tone of smug triumph when (some) gay men share stories of hitherto straights they’ve… conquered. Like they’ve scored some goal: Yeah, I converted him. I turned him gay. Oh, he must have been gay all along! I think he’s in denial. He might be bi.

It sounds a tad desperate, like they are titillated that one more (hapless) fellow has been pulled over to join our marginalized demographic and share in our misery.  If we’re not going to have it easy with our sexual orientation, how about we mess yours up a li’l bit? (How quick will we be to re-label a gay guy straight once he starts doing girls too? I bet we’ll scoff at the change. I might, to be honest.)

Perhaps not all “straight-to-gay” men will agonize over their first gay sex (so I’m not interested in devil’s advocacy here), but for those who might, put your gay self in their straight shoes for a minute: You’ve never thought of being with a guy before, and all of a sudden you are. How would you feel? I like to think there’ll be a conflict going on inside you. If you’re religious, you have a boulder of god-guilt crushing on your spine to deal with; plus the implication of this sudden sex act(s) to your orientation as you know it. Has it changed? Or has it only been tweaked? What if you get “too addicted” to this…thing and can’t “quit” it? After all, your friend who “led” you into it has been “into it” for…how long again?

Same-sex attraction is tough shit to handle. What if the straight guy overhears you telling your friends of you “converted” him? Is it something he’d be happy about? That you’re roping him into a situation he’s yet to fully process? Is it fair? He cannot quarrel with god (Remember he is the guilty one.) He cannot just walk into society and challenge the culture, norms and institutions of the day because he – what – kissed a guy 5 minutes ago. (He’ll be buried alive and not be missed.) So who’s likely to be the recipient of his frustrations? You. The tempter.

Now does this fit the profile of some homophobes we have deal with? Those die-hard, foaming-at-the-mouth ones who hate us so violently because they fear they might harbor some unresolved same-sex attraction somewhere. I kissed a guy and liked it…then hated the guy. (Some years ago, a friend told me he made out with me – several times, no less – to “please” me. What will I not hear in this world?)

To find the label on the spectrum…or to not

I think our language could be modified when we talk about gay-guy-straight-guy affairs. I think we should talk about having slept with/seduced a hitherto straight guy. Not having converted one/turned him gay. Because, put that way, it’s impossible. (Can you be turned straight?)

I think we shouldn’t sound so smug when talking about that night with Mr. Ramrod Straight – like we’ve gotten something we want at a loss to him. (As an 18-year-old, newly admitted into university, I used to fantasize about the possible existence of a Gay Secret Cult and that I would like to join, and have sex with broad-chested, dark-skinned guys who wore their hair long and smoked weed and wore boots. Very stupid thoughts like that. But gayness, I think, is a personal thing. Every gay man is not going to think alike or make the same choices. Gayness is not a cult – never has been – and outside of the clamor for equal rights, is not a movement/religion. So homosexuals are not seeking more members/fresh converts/new initiates.)

I think that if we, as gay men, choose to, out of convenience, forget the fluidity of the sexuality spectrum and the complexity of the human being just to promote a conversion agenda, we’ve become hypocrites.

I think we shouldn’t let leave our fingertips the fact that sexual orientation/identity is not reducible to mere sexual acts – else our own claim to a homosexual identity loses its credibility.

I think it is up to the hitherto-straight guy to, on his own terms, draw conclusions on his sexuality after we open to him the door to same-sex attraction. Labels are not always as adequate as they appear. (Some people have described me as atheist; I tick just about all the boxes, I’m more at home in irreligious spaces than religious ones. I’m not atheist, however, I don’t feel atheist. And I’m not agnostic either. But this is not a religion blog, so back to queer matters…)

I think we should respect people for how they choose to define themselves sexually. For the record, a guy who shags guys cannot be strictly straight…or can he? But it doesn’t mean he’s gay either. Or bi. And why should we care anyway? The “straight” guy is not likely to thank you for slamming a sexuality label on him without his consent. Let him drive that conversation, not you, else he might feel trapped and lash out, and become a homophobe, ergo a problem to us.

Most importantly: I think we owe it to our peace of mind to, instead of preaching “conversion” and labels, stress to any hitherto-straight guy who kisses us and likes it that, at any hour of the day, curiosity is an option. ■

Written by Absalom

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20 Comments

  1. Dennis Macauley
    July 04, 06:45 Reply

    Absalom, 1Million likes! I like this guy, he could totally get it.
    I have often wondered what it is with us and Labels and why we have the desperate need to classify ourselves. Ultimately it comes from the point off accepting that you are in the minority, the “deviants”. So to reach into the “normal folk” and snag up one of them is like winning a prize complete with bragging rights.

  2. JustJames
    July 04, 07:29 Reply

    I’ve always wondered as to how a “straight” guy can suddenly become gay. I believed there was a huge misconception of the whole idea of conversion. Was going to write about it during one of my ramblings but absalom beat me to it and has done a better job.

    I think the smugness that most guys get from sleeping with a seemingly straight guy is from the fact that what people thought was unattainable has been attained… Other than that I don’t see why anyone should be glad they slept with a straight guy. It’s not like he’s turned into a sex slave that will open his legs for you at your command.

    • chestnut
      July 04, 15:16 Reply

      Oh dat was loooooow! Lol.why u gotta shade dat niqqah like dat tho?

  3. Zing
    July 04, 08:44 Reply

    You couldn’t have put it better. ..even as a diagonally bent person, I still have issues with the labels. I think we can just allow the ‘straight’ guy be ‘curious’ until he decides otherwise. This piece makes for great discussion. Can’t wait to see what the intellectual gods here have to say…just saying. First time commenter by the way. ..*grabs chair and sits patiently.

  4. kendigin
    July 04, 10:11 Reply

    We as humans can’t help but place everything in boxes- “gay” “straight” “bi” etc. It helps us relate with one another. Such relatnship may be sometimes good or terrible.
    I often wonder, why can’t we just be people. Why does it matter who you sleep with. Look at the so-called “lower animals” they care less about who sleeps with whom. Must we all be defined by sex?

  5. trystham
    July 04, 12:06 Reply

    Thank you Absalom. You empathized with the homophobe. In the aftermath of Jonathan’s faux pas, arguing with straight guys always had them bringing up that issue of being converted like it was every gay guy’s mission.
    Curiosity is fine, but I do not approve ‘converting anybody’ n like u have pointed out, it could be the reason for extreme homophobia. Well done.
    HOWEVER, gloating after a conquest, ANY conquest is a human thing. We all have that player friend who crows after he/she has bedded a particularly hard-to-get babe/bloke. That overly spiritual christian friend who boasts cos he converted a staunch atheist or Imam. Just because we are gay or because homosexuality is a dreaded topic doesn’t mean we should blame ourselves for all thefaults of humanity.

    • Absalom
      July 04, 12:28 Reply

      Applauding your comment, Trystham! 🙂

  6. Milli
    July 04, 13:36 Reply

    Been following this blog for a while now.
    Thoroughly impressed with a majority of the writings.
    This is my first comment here and it serves as a huge vote of endorsement/approval on the Author.

  7. chestnut
    July 04, 15:12 Reply

    Well,dis article might be longer than Lexington Steel’s cock(y’all know u were thinking it too,lol),but it’s a really good read; very insightful piece. I’m sure we’ve all,at one point or another,indulged in fantasies of getting it on with a straight,hunky guy (some are lucky enough to turn those fantasies into reality, d rest of us,not so much). I can’t count how many straight crushes I’ve had,but I try not to linger on them too long cos I know at d end of it,nothing will come out of it,since I hav neither d patience nor skill(nor lliver) to “convert” a straightie.how I wan take start d waka? How will I explain myself if it all goes awry.I no fit,biko!

  8. Rapum
    July 04, 15:29 Reply

    “Gayness is not a cult – never has been – and outside of the clamor for equal rights, is not a movement/religion. So homosexuals are not seeking more members/fresh converts/new initiates.)”

    Now, that got me. Anybody ever wondered at the word, GAYISM? Started hearing it mostly used in discussion about the bill, mostly by people in support of the bill. Like, maybe we’re now running a movement.

    • pinkpanther
      July 04, 18:38 Reply

      A movement. LOL! That word tho…has it crept into the dictionary yet?

  9. Chizzie
    July 04, 17:50 Reply

    I think anyone that reads this from start to finish has alot of time on their hands. Certain things in my opinion aren’t worth discussing.

  10. Absalom
    July 04, 18:14 Reply

    Rapu’m, most people still suffer hangover from their fascination and horniness around lesbianISM. Forgive them!

  11. Dominic
    July 05, 08:16 Reply

    Most time I see gays who claim they’ve converted straight folks as lunatics. You claim u r born this way and preach acceptance yet u say u r converting straight people. Isn’t that contradictory? I don’t know about conversion. Its either u r more straight than gay or more gay than straight. Having the opportunity, confidence or being adventurous enough to experiment is another thing entirely.

  12. sensuousensei
    July 05, 23:20 Reply

    Why am I just seeing this? This is absolutely brilliant! And omg you just said my mind when u said “gayism” is not a movement or a cult. I have been having that thought for a while. Sometimes we act like we are this special group of people with special needs. A homosexual is no more special or unique than a heterosexual. If this is a movement of sorts, its only a pseudo-movement, one that formed natually due to the oppression we suffer. The opppressed tend to bond together. That’s the beginning and the end of it. Infact, sometimes I think that the reason why there is so much focus on sex among gays is because we have been repressed so much that sex become an outlet for our frustrations. If we had freedom to express ourselves, date and marry like everyone else, this “party” would break up and this “pseudo-group” would no longer exist. I dream for such a day…

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