Inside out

Coming out kinda sucks.

Unless you’re a celebrity you inevitably have to come out over and over. I did it again last week in a piece for the Desert Sun’s LGBT magazine, Desert Outlook, on reparative therapy. I didn’t particularly want to write the column.

I’m a journalist. That means the stories aren’t about me, even when sometimes they are. I agree with Anderson Cooper’s journalistic sensibilities. The less people know about me the more likely I will be judged for my work, not for who I am. Of course, I am the sum of my experiences, even if I don’t fit neatly into anyone’s preconceived ideas.

At the time I wrote the story and my column, Gov. Jerry Brown hadn’t yet signed the nation’s first reparative therapy ban into law. He would make it a nail-bitter event waiting until the last possible day he could sign or veto the bill. Already the conservative group Liberty Counsel that uses litigation to press its religious agenda is challenging the law in court.

There are no reliable statistics on the number of gays who attempt to change their sexual orientation through reparative therapy. The largely discredited therapy has been criticized by all the major associations. Called “reparative” or “conversion” therapy, the pseudo-psychological method relies on the antiquated premise that homosexuality is a deviant, lifestyle choice.

Gay activists are hailing its passage as an important weapon in the culture war. I’m not so convinced. The battle over hearts and minds isn’t going to be won with legislation. It’s going to take men and women of courage everywhere, sharing with conviction their life openly and honestly.

Here’s a link to the magazines and my story: http://www.mydesert.com/desertoutlook/October2012.htm.

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