An open letter to anyone who will listen.
There used to be a time when I was certain I could find good, balanced news from major news outlets. Perhaps I still can, but recent events have put major seeds of doubt in my mind and have made me feel powerless and helpless.
For those who may not know, David Matheson is a man who experiences same-sex attraction who helped co-create the Journey into Manhood weekend, an experiential weekend run by Brother's Road intended to help men who experience unwanted same-sex attraction find ways to live a whole and happy life in comformity with their personal values and life goals. It has had a profound, life-changing, positive impact on my life and the lives of many of my friends. Two weeks ago, he announed to the Brother's Road community, and then to the world at large, that he was no longer married to his wife and that he is actively seeking a romantic relationship with a man.
In the ensuing two weeks, I have seen David publicly move from a stance of (paraphrasing here) "I helped a lot of people", to "I helped a lot of people, but maybe hurt some" to "I hurt so many people, and some of the particular therapies I encouraged need to stop completely". I can give David space to live his own life, but it is so incredibly frustrating and even infuriating to see him ignore all of the good he has done for so many people - including good that has come from some therapies he now deems unethical, and to imply that his choices and experiences should have bearing on the therapies the rest of us receive and seek out.
It wouldn't be so bad if people like me were given a fair voice as well, but in not a single news story have I seen any kind of balanced reporting where reporters are even willing to listen to those of us who have benefited greatly from David's work. On the contrary, when they do give someone air time it is someone who has also decided to live the gay lifestyle and they consistently call for David to go even further in repudiating his past work.
In one particular report, though they interviewed Rich Wyler, the other co-founder of Brother's Road, they only included a small statement from him, while giving David and another guest lots of time to attack. This is the statement the included from Rich:
...we made every tweak to our program that he ever suggested that might make it more beneficial with less chance of anyone feeling hurt. We also have had at least 30 licensed therapists attend our workshops over the years to volunteer and observe, and they have affirmed our approach without raising concerns.
The very toxic public environment over this particular issue has caused a lot of stress in online communites where people like me go to get support. In one in particular, there has been a lot of heated argument because so many people who haven't taken the time to learn about Brothers Road just repeat the stuff they hear in the news and then those of us that have benefited get up in arms because we feel like we are under constant attack.
I'm having a really hard time understanding why there seems to be no one in the general community listening to people like me. We're repeatedly vilified and cast off by people who claim to be loving and kind. They claim, without even letting us speak, that we are just expressing our "inner homophobic". Or they say that we are tying our self-worth to getting rid of our attractions. I know me and I know I am not homophobic - who are they, who have never met me, to tell me who I am or who I can be? Who are they to try to put organizations out of business that have clearly helped so many people? Who are they to be able to say why I do what I do?
To be a man who wants to live in accordance with his own faith and values but also experiences same-sex attraction, and on top of that who claims that they have benefited from therapies meant to help them reduce their attractions or change their perception of them, is to be in a small minority without a voice.
Is anybody there?
Does anybody care?
Does anybody see what I see?
They want me to quit
They say, "John, give up the fight!"
Still, to England, I say:
"Good night, forever good night!"