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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

SL Letter of the Day: What Do I Say to My Ex-Straight/Ex-Gay/Ex-Straight/Ex-Gay Brother?

Posted by Dan Savage on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Here's my problem: My brother, who is 40, first came out to me and our family in the late 90's. Since then he has had a mental breakdown and was diagnosed with OCD, depression, ADHD, etc. He then found Christ and became an evangelical Christian which led him to seminary as well as going back in the closet and declaring himself heterosexual. Eventually he left the seminary because he realized he was in fact homosexual. I was proud of him and supported his decision in every way. He enrolled into the state college to finish his degree and was seeking out a more tolerant church to belong to. He moved into an apartment with another gay man and took trips to San Francisco. Then he started hanging out with his evangelical friends again, and lo and behold he's straight again.

I'm tired of his nonsense, Dan, and extremely worried he will end up back in the hospital. He is extremely confused. I know he is gay. He has never had a girlfriend, or any type of relationship, for that matter. He has struggled with his sexuality his whole life and his choice of religion has done nothing but confuse him further. I am writing you seeking ANY advice on what to do about this. I have had many talks with my family, with him, and nothing seems to do the trick. He does not listen to his family, only those outside who seem to encourage him in negative ways.

He just sent me a letter in an attempt to explain to me what is going on. Can you read it, please? And then give me some advice on how to respond to it? Thanks.

Brother Reverts On Sexuality

The letter BROS got from his brother—and my advice for BROS—after the jump.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Here's the letter BROS's brother sent him:

The purpose of this email is to tell you that I have begun dating someone. It's a she. Her name is XXXXXX. I have been friends with her for about a year and a half. She's a beautiful and extraordinarily talented girl. She was valedictorian at XXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXX. I really love her a lot. I've been on three dates with her so far, but this has been developing for awhile.

I know the question you must be asking. The answer: no, I am no longer “gay.” I no longer identify as a homosexual. I have overcome the psychological issues and damage done by difficult circumstances and past trauma which directly led to my homosexual inclinations. I no longer have any physical or emotional desire to pursue a sexual relationship with another man. I have every desire and intention to have a relationship with a woman, and am so grateful that I found an incredible and brillant woman to share this time, and hopefully, life with.

You may be shocked and may not believe what has happened. I'd ask you to yield to and trust your brother's story and not side with the lies and distortions perpetrated by the media and homosexual activists regarding the ability to overcome homosexuality. I never thought what I believed to be my “orientation” could ever be undone. I'm grateful to be one among thousands who have received healing and restoration.
I did not intend to get into a relationship so soon. It just happened. Very excited about the future.—XXXXXX

Your brother is a mess, BROS, but you didn't need me to tell you that.

He was out, he was in, he was out, and now he's back in. It sounds like your brother has real problems—OCD, depression, ADHD—but I don't think the closet is one of them. Your brother loves the closet, BROS, because the closet is useful to him. He wants drama and attention and jumping in and out of the closet gets him truckloads of both. When he comes out, his family is relieved and his evangelical friends freak out; when he goes back in, his evangelical friends are relieved and his family freaks out.

And he makes it clear in his letter that he expects you to freak out, BROS. And while he asks you to "yield to and trust" his bullshit story, BROS, he desperately wants you to do the opposite: he wants you to freak out, he wants to confront him, he wants you to send him links to the juicy Truth Wins Out expose of the "ex-gay" superstar and boy-chasing fraud John Paulk and to recent news stories about Alan Chambers, the head of Exodus International, who recently admitted that there is "no cure for homosexuality" and that the "reparative therapy" programs offered by religious groups like his are completely useless. He wants you to bring up his gay roommate and all those trips to SF and he wants you to having screaming arguments with him about the causes of homosexuality and he wants you to tell him that three dates with a vagina-havin' valedictorian does not a pussy-eating straight guy make so he can hang up on you in anger and there can be tears and drama and rifts.

But if you talk your brother into coming back out the closet, BROS, a year or two from now he'll jump right back in and you'll get another letter just like this one. Mince, blather, repeat.

Don't take his tired, old bait, BROS. Here's how you should respond to your brother's letter: "Sounds good, bro."

And that's how you should respond to any letter he sends you from here on out. Engaged? "Sounds good, bro." Wedding invite? "Sounds good, bro." Birth of a child? "Sounds good, bro." Leaving his wife and coming back out of the closet again? "Sounds good, bro."

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