Gay Law Student Puts Ex-gay Counselor In His Place.

by scott blair

My name is Scott Blair. I’m from Ocean Grove, New Jersey. When you apply to law school these days, you can actually mark on your application if you are openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. And, you know, I put that down, because I figured why not? I was. And I did pretty well on the LSAT and this information goes out to a bunch of law schools. And so Harvard’s gay law students group called my mother’s house because that was my address, and said, “We want to talk to Scott Blair.”

And she said, “Why?”

“Well, he’s gay. We know he’s applying to law school. We really want him to go to Harvard.”

And so we’re in the car at one point, and she goes, “Scott, I got this call from Harvard Law’s gay student group saying you were gay.”

I’m like, “That’s weird. Why?”

“Well they want you to go there.”

I’m like, “Oh. Did you save the contact information?”

“No.”

“Oh. How come?”

“Well, I was hoping you were lying to them in order to get into a better law school.”

I’m like, “Well, I probably would do that if I was straight, but actually I am gay.”

And she replies, “I almost want to drive this car into a tree.”

And I reply, “Can you let me get out of the car first?”

It was very weird because I still maintain that that is the best way for any mother to find out that their child is gay. And even though my father is an atheist and my mother is a nominal Catholic, they joined an Orthodox Jewish ex-gay group, as well as Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays, which is an ex-gay movement, surprisingly active in New Jersey. And I look at them and I say, “That is the opposite of the group that you are supposed to be joining right now. They literally stole the name of the group, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. That is the group you should be joining.” And they asked me to meet with somebody in this group – one of its leaders – to sort of understand what the homosexual lifestyle was about and what being gay was about. And I thought they were crazy. I still think they’re crazy for thinking that. But to humor them, I said I would go if they tried to be a little more open-minded.

So I met this guy at my father’s office in the summer of my second year of law school. And he comes in, sits down and he asks me, “So why are you gay?”

I’m like, “Well, I’m attracted to men.”

And he’s like, “Why are you attracted to men?”

And I’m like, “Well, probably pretty complicated. Maybe some hereditary thing. Maybe upbringing. You know, sexuality is very complicated.”

And he sort of goes into this weird diatribe about how no one has ever found a gay gene. And I’m looking at him. He tells me, “You know, every study that purported to find a gay gene has been authored by gays. No one else has ever found one.

And I said, “I have no idea what studies you’re talking about, but sexuality is very complex. Everything that humans do is very complex. All a gene does is control the expression of a protein. I would be extremely shocked if one gene can control anything like that.”

And he looked at me and is very confused because I don’t think that anyone had ever answered him in that manner before.

And so he continues sort of talking and he asks me about my childhood. And says, “Well I know you’re parents are divorced. How did that affect you?”

And I said, “Lots of people are divorced. It wasn’t great but I’m doing fine now.”

And he asked me if I hate my father for that, for the fact that my parents are divorced. And I said, “No, not really. I was raised by my father after the divorce.”

And then he asked me, “Okay. How do you feel about your mother?”

“Why do you ask?”

“Well a lot of times people who, people who are angry at their mother end up being turned off of women.”

And I looked at him and I said, “Okay. If I was angry at my mother, that would make me gay, because I would be turned off of women. But you asked me how I felt about my father. My guess is what you’re going to say is if I was angry at my father, that would make me want to seek the company of other men.”

And the guy looks at me and says, “That is often borne out by my experience.”

And I sort of blinked at him for a moment and said, “Isn’t that sort of contradictory? Which one of my parents I hate, which I don’t if they ever watch this, that made me gay?”

And he said, “Well it’s very complicated but often it’s something the parents have done.”

We tried to talk about how sexual immorality can lead to the fall of civilizations. And he brought up the Roman Empire. And I got very angry about this because half the books in my bookshelf are about the Roman Empire. And the point I made to him was the Roman Empire only fell after it became Christian. And he said, “Well they weren’t really Christian in any sense of the word that we would use today.” And I pointed out to him that St. Augustine was one of the most famous Christian theologists ever. And according to what this guy was telling me, he wasn’t actually a Christian. And I wanted to know what made him say that that was the case. And then he said, “Well, you know, they were very, very Catholic.”

And then I said, “You realize my mother is Catholic, right?” And he sort of then changed the conversation a little bit.

One thing that he tried to do was say that gays are trying to restrict the rights of religious people by trying to make it illegal to fire gays and lesbians. And I told him this is basically the same thing as saying African Americans are trying to restrict the rights of KKK members during civil rights movements. I didn’t see any difference and I still don’t see a difference.

And I was sort of like, “If we’re at this point in the conversation, I don’t know what we’re really talking about. All you’re doing as far as I can tell is getting everything wrong. If you want a reading list, I’m happy to give you one.”

And he was like, “Well, thank you for your time.” Then he walked out to go talk to my father for a little bit.

And it’s actually hard not to feel sorry for him. Because he was gay before he changed. He claims that he realized homosexuality was immoral in the 80s when he saw a lot of his friends dying from AIDS. And it’s hard to mock somebody for that because I do think that affected him. I don’t think it affected him in a healthy manner. I think there are a lot of people who had a better, more productive outcome. It’s easy to see how that would affect somebody.

My parents continued to be in this group for a little while longer after this happened. When he left, he told my father that I’m very much like him, which did make my father laugh a little bit. Because it’s certainly true – we both have a very strong argumentative and stubborn streak.

The relationship with my father now is interesting because we are very similar in a lot of ways. But we don’t talk about my sexual life at all, or my relationships at all. It’s a shame. The last time we talked about it, I said, “I’m not changing who I am.” He can deal with it or become a smaller part of my life. So we’re seeing how that plays out.

I would tell any kid that has to go see an ex-gay therapist or somebody who’s telling them that it’s wrong to be gay that they are smarter than somebody who thinks that and they are better than somebody who thinks that. And frankly any argument that somebody uses to support changing who you are and being straight is very, very bad. Very dumb. Thirty seconds of thought will show you why it’s wrong.

Scott-Blair

7 Comments:

  1. Thanks Scott for.the.brilliant way you.turned this.around. We have a lot in common and would like to.talk.with you. I’m struggling with telling my family about my sexuality.and don’t.know.how to get it done. You’ve given me some ideas but I’m.not sure how to approach it.
    Cody Adams

  2. Bravo! You did GREAT, Scott! If I were your mother, I’d be SO proud. Keep fighting the good fight and don’t ever let the haters get you down. THEY’RE the ones with the problems. THEY’RE the ones who need to change.

  3. Hey Scott,

    Thanks for approaching the myth of ex-gay therapy from an intellectual point of view. Too often we dumb down the conversation in an attempt to meet our opponents “half way.” This is down out of consideration for our opponents, but sometimes a spade has to be called a spade.

    I appreciate what you stand for and respect you for your decision to stand up for what is right. Hope everything works out between you and your parents. I know it can take a long time. My mother is still hot and cold on my sexuality (and I’ve been out for several years).

    Anyways, I run an LGBT organization called Punk Out. Would love to chat more sometime.

    -Michael

  4. Scott – A great account! You did wonderfully in putting the “ex-gay” guy in his place. These people have no idea of the *dignity* and the *pride* that comes with affirming one’s gay identity. I’ve been a supporter and fan of the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus over their 30+ years (I’ve even written some gay pride lyrics for them), and the very fact of their existence has immeasurably enhanced GLBTQ life in Portland (OR). I hope things work out with your folks – you might want to put them in touch with Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) – they’re on the Web, and there might be a local chapter nearby. If you’re already in law school, your school probably has some kind of LGB organization – that can be very supportive and helpful. (And as a Harvard alum – AB ’60 – I hope you made it to the law school!) Ed Segel

  5. Scott,

    You have a very matter of fact approach to your sexuality and an intellectual perspective based on scientific expression. I am a natural philosopher nowday’s they call it being a scientist and cannot understand this logic or reasoning. Explain why people or folks in society have a compulsion or need to conjugate religion with homosexuality. I believe the term can be defined as Biblical Literalism, which I find very frustrating. Everyone uses the Bible for justification of their viewpoint on homosexuality.

    Why cant people be free thinkers like yourself, why cant people let a person love who they want to. In terms of contextualisation, why would you apply the tradition’s, customs or thoughts of an ancient text written thousands of years ago, to modern society to explain human sexuality.

    Most people around the world, use religion as a tool for interpretation of who a man or woman should love. This is wrong, I am a man, would is attracted to men, who would love to be straight, but I cannot this is biologically recalcitrant. Maybe I could use a better term or adjective, but metamorphosis of human sexuality or sexual orientation is impossible and is a preset digit, and cannot be altered.

    The discussion you had with the ex gay therapist, who thinks he has changed his sexuality. He perceives homosexuality as immoral, it is OUR society which has ordained this ritual on him. I am writing in European English, which maybe spelled differently. Sexuality is innate and cannot be altered I know you get this.

    I am just arriving at this conclusion, you demonstrated an empathy towards this man, which is refreshing for a legal person. Some day he will reach the same realisation you did or maybe he never will and live out his days in darkness. The comparison of Black Civil Rights movement as a persecution of the rights of the Ku Kluk Clan was really smart.

    Why are you studying Law, Scott, you should become a human rights activist.

    Very impressed with you interview, you are charming, articulate, intelligent and handsome.

    Best of luck with your law career.

    Patrick

  6. This is must read for all

  7. After my parents divorced, my mom started seeing a counselor for some issues she had. Around this same time, she figured out I was gay and at first she tried to make my life difficult until I told her it wasn’t up for discussion. But at one point she told her counselor about me and she asked if the counselor would meet with me. She agreed and then mom asked if I would go. So I did.
    After I I was introduced, mom was asked to step out of the room. The counselor asked me a few questions like “When did you know you were gay?” and “How do you feel about it?” Those type of questions.
    When we got done, she said, “I don’t see any reason to see you again, unless you have anything you want to work through.” I said that, no, I was fine with my being gay, it was Mom that had an issue with it.
    Then she looked at me and said, “Well, I would like to keep seeing your mother.” I almost burst out laughing. After that, I don’t know what was said between mom and the therapist, but she never gave me trouble again.

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