I am certainly around the same age as Bryce, except I in no way think that our stories are the same. But I do understand the pressures of being a dependent college student and being faced with difficult decisions.
I came to recognize my same-sex attractions during my first year of college at Azusa Pacific University. It was very confusing, and at times frightening, to recognize my same-sex attractions will being a student at Christian university. I remember having a lot of fear. Fear of being "figured out" and then kicked out of school for being gay. Fear of my parents finding out and disowning me. Fear that I would some how end up with AIDS, die, and be eternally damned to hell.
I made the decision myself to go through reparative therapy because I thought it was the best choice to make at that time; yet it was a choice nonetheless. I also made the choice to not tell my parents that I was receiving "help" for my sexual orientation. My choice lead me down a path of even more confusion, spiritual abuse, and shame. My choice to get"help" did me more harm than good.
Several years later, I am "out" and live my life as an openly gay person. But I am still asked all the time, "Why would you choose to go ex-gay?" Back then, my answer would have been something like, "Well, because I'm a Christian." Soon after that answer became, "I believed that it was sinful." After spending a lot of time processing my life experiences I have come to realize that that answer is a really "bad" answer; I might even go as far to say that it's the "wrong" answer.
Peterson Toscano wrote a blog last year titled, "The MANY reasons I went Ex-Gay." After reading his blog I began to start listing why I truly let myself make the choice to go through reparative therapy:
- I thought I would be kicked out school.
- I feared that my parents would disown me and cut me off from the rest of the family.
- Negative portrayals of LGBT people in the media and in the church.
- Fear of getting AIDS and other STDs I would get if I came out as gay.
- Wanted to get married and have a family.
- Fear of becoming promiscuous, yet lonely.
- Fear of physical violence against LGBT people.
Choices come with consequences. I've faced the consequences of making both decisions: to be ex-gay and to be ex-ex-gay. Both were not easy decisions to make. Ultimately though, I realized that my decision to go ex-gay was not because I thought it was sinful to be gay. Instead it was because of fear of the outcomes that would arise had I not chosen to do something about it. Alas, several years later I have come to realize the outcomes.
My heart does go out to Bryce and those supporting him. His decision to listen to his parents clearly was not an easy one, but a choice he did in theory make. It is unfortunate the levels of manipulation people will use to control and affect the lives of people.