After watching the 2021 Netflix documentary, "Pray Away" I felt a complexity of emotions: saddness, inspiration, and enlightenment. The film captures the story of the how the grassroots organization, Exodus International began the gay conversion therapy movement to “Pray the gay away". While most leaders and members are ashamed of their past and are currently undergoing the process of reconciliation with themselves and the queer community, it does not erase the harm it caused.
Leaders of the "Ex-gay" movement, indoctrinated people to believe:
Change is possible 🦋
Homosexuality is not only a religious concern, but a psychiatric illness
Homosexuality is not natural, it is caused by external trauma (abuse, unhealthy attachment, poor parental relationships)
God defines marriage as an institution between a man and a woman.👨👩👧
Genitalia was created by God to form one organism between a man and a woman for the purpose of reproduction. Sex is solely for reproduction. 🍆
God loves people, he does not love sinful behaviour; therefore, if you want God to love you completely, you must change your gay behaviour.
However, as leaders and members of the "Ex-gay" movement realized as time went on:
Gay "conversion" was only a mindset that one could manifest in their behaviour. Ex-gays were only straight in their behaviour, as they identified as "straight", married partners of the opposite sex and had children. The gay feelings never went away. They were just repressed and ignored until it was painful to do so.
At this point in the film, I had an "uh-oh" moment. My idea of being gay was skewed. 😱
Being gay is not a behaviour, it is a feeling.
You don't have to identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community to be gay. You don't have to act on your feelings to be gay. Having same-sex sex does not mean you are gay. Having feelings (Romantic and/or sexual) for the same-sex is gay. And feelings are natural and cannot be synthesized. Just as we can't help but feel happy when we dance to our favourite song 🎧 or meet up for coffee ☕️with a friend, gay feelings are the same thing. We cannot help them. They are apart of our biology. 🧬
You can't stop choose to stop being happy, you choose to direct your energy elsewhere and convert your happiness to another feeling. Yet, the happiness does not go away.
Gay feelings are the same thing: you cannot stop your gay feelings, you can only suppress them until they bloom once again. 🌷
I knew I was gay because of a feeling. I knew I was gay before I engaged in gay behaviour. My feelings are biological, not psychological. They cannot be changed by the power of my mind.
I highly recommend "Pray Away" to all of the All Love, All Ways readers! It was so educational and inspirational.
Q: What do you guys think? Is gay strictly a feeling, or is it a behaviour as well? Maybe a combination? Tell us about your gay feelings!!!!
-Alexa (Co-Founder) :) ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜