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Why I tried to
Hi, my name is Peterson, Peterson Toscano. I am an ex-gay survivor. I spent 17 years and over $30,000 on three continents attempting to de-gay myself, and straighten myself out---eventually came to my senses and realized that it was not possible, nor necessary, or particularly helpful to attempt to so drastically alter my sexuality.
But in the years following, people would often ask, well why did you do it? What was it all about? And my immediate pat answer was, ‘cause I’m a Christian. And my belief was that one could not be gay and Christian at the same time. So I figured in order to be a good Christian I had to eradicate the gay part of me.
And so I spent all this time and energy and money do it, thinking I was doing it for Jesus, and for the Church, seemed like a very noble pursuit, in my mind, and I was very much affirmed by the people around me.
But since that time I’ve had a lot of opportunity to reflect on what I did, and why I did it. And I’ve begun to compile a list of the other reasons, the hidden reasons, the ones really fueling this-this drive, this quest to straighten myself out. And I’d like to share with you some of the reasons why I tried to de-gay myself. They’re in no particular order.
The desire to marry, and have children, very strong. Twinned with that was a fear of loneliness as I grew older. There was AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases, that I assumed I would get if I came out gay. I had lots of misinformation of what it meant to be gay. I had this strong desire to fit in with everyone, to feel normal. I felt pressure from society to virtually every film, TV show, pop song and commercial, that proclaimed the heterosexual life was the idealized norm, without showing any other alternatives.
I saw many negative portrayals of gay people in the media, as well as lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people. I had the fear of physical and verbal attack for being gay, and I witness physical and verbal attacks for those who were gay, or perceived to be gay. I felt strong desire to advance in the church hierarchy, to become a missionary or a pastor in a church that made it very clear that you could not be gay and serve God. I had the desire to please family and friends, and I had the fear, of losing, family and friends. I didn’t see any positive gay role models in the world.
I had some sexual encounters, and it cause me a lot of distress, because I lived in a society that punished sexual deviants, and I felt that I was being deviant, because everyone said it was so wrong. Well interestingly enough, an addiction to credit cards, never seemed to bother me in a society that encouraged debt. I had unresolved sexual abuse issues, that cause me to carry my abuser shame with me, for years. Thus leading to question my own sexual orientation and self worth. I had a low self esteem, and a great deal of self hatred and internalized fear of all things gay. And I had cowardice. Cowardice to stand against the tide, and to simply be myself.
For years I bowed to other people’s will. I begged and I pleaded God to do--to do something that, is fruitless to pursue. It was for me, and it cause me a great deal of harm, that took years to begin to recover from.
Ultimately I did come to my senses, and I came out. And I have been coming out as myself, and what I’ve discovered was that there’s so much life. There’s so much power, in integrity, in authenticity, and in fearlessly, pursuing honesty.
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