False memories

False memories

The most popular theories behind current gay conversion therapies are based on three childhood issues:

  1. An incomplete bond and resultant lack of identification with the same-sex parent
  2. Childhood sexual abuse or trauma
  3. Lack of strong or correct gender role modelling

During sessions, the participant is prayerfully led through childhood memories around these issues.

Before commenting on the problems with this technique I will say, most emphatically, that none of these issues make people gay. It is completely unfounded and damaging.

What makes it all even worse is the occurrence of false memories. We create these memories due to the prompting we receive, the expectations of those around us, our desire to change and please God, and as in my own case, desperation, simply because it was the only explanation I had left. I “remembered” supposed events that ended up demonising my father and family relationships.

Here is an article by Chris Paley, author of Unthink

Remembering something doesn’t mean it happened

We come to the truth in many ways. We read books, think, listen to other people and experience things directly. Other people lie sometimes. They skip the important details. Our thoughts are sometimes mangled. The most convincing way to learn things is to experience them ourselves. Our memories seem to be our unmediated store of the truth: the things we know for certain happened. But other people can give us memories of things we never experienced.
Elizabeth Loftus and colleagues conducted one of the earliest experiments showing how to do this, and highlighting how dangerous it is to rely on what we remember. They showed volunteers a clip of a road accident. Afterwards, they asked some of the participants, ‘About how fast were the cars going when they smashed into each other?’ They asked others how fast they were going when they collided, bumped, contacted, or hit. Participants who heard the question with the verb smashed estimated that the cars were going faster*.
A week later, the experimenters contacted the participants again and asked them further questions on what they remembered about the accident. In particular, was there any broken glass at the scene? Those who’d been asked how fast the cars were going when they smashed were more than twice as likely to wrongly remember seeing broken glass after the accident. A single, apparently innocuous word changed what people remembered, and their memories afterwards built all the details of the accident to be consistent.
This was an early experiment. Researchers have since become bolder and better at manipulating people’s memories. They’ve had participants remember robbers carrying a screwdriver that wasn’t there. In controversial experiments, they’ve implanted memories of childhood events that never happened including being lost in a shopping centre, taking a flight in a hot air balloon and even meeting Bugs Bunny (a Warner Brothers character) on a trip to Disneyland.
When The X-Files was popular, the number of reported alien abductions, some recovered under hypnosis or in therapy, rose dramatically. It seemed like a fad, but the unfortunate abductees were just as distressed when talking about their memories as people who really had traumatic experiences. Memory’s a strange thing, and just as unreliable as those grainy photos of UFOs. The truth may be out there, but don’t rely on finding it in your head.
Chris Paley holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge, and is the author of Unthink, which has been published in six languages.


Posted by silentgays in Conversion Therapy, Mental Health, 0 comments
Gays and G0ys

Gays and G0ys

A couple of years ago I stumbled across (that’s gay with a zero – G0Y). It was interesting, but I didn’t give it much thought at the time other than thinking it was just a bunch of gay guys who hated effeminate gays and anal sex trying to justify themselves.

Recently though I’ve seen them mentioned around the traps and have given them another look. What I’ve found is fascinating, to say the least.

Basically, their tenet is built around the idea that more than 50% of guys are really on the bi-sexual spectrum and we should accept and embrace that. They also condemn anal sex and posit that being gay is mostly defined by effeminate, anal sex loving queers and it’s time we normalised “bromance”.

I actually applaud them for bravely addressing a very large issue – almost the elephant in the room in some ways! I’m not sure of the veracity of all their stats but I do believe they are right in that many guys would engage in more romantic and intimate relationships with their “mates” if it was normalised.

They also address the biblical issues around homosexuality reasonably well, although the way they approach it suggests a strong religious bias mixed up in it all.

What I find disturbing though is the strong underlying contempt for effeminate gay men. They hardly even attempt to disguise this either, which I guess is good to know before you venture too deep into their literature.

Their entire appeal is built around “we hate that effeminate crap and anal sex is evil”. They then present a lot of great information about normalising same-sex relationships between men – something that definitely should be promoted! But the huge problem is to do with their motivation and underlying attitudes, which, as I said, aren’t even thinly disguised.

There is a lot of mocking the “visible” gay community – the effeminates, the type that dress up and go to Pride parades and want to flaunt their sexuality. I can understand the mentality in terms of a knee-jerk reaction (I’m not effeminate myself and just want to be a “normal” guy who happens to be only attracted to men) but it’s actually incredibly damaging! The last thing we need is another level of bigotry and intolerance masquerading as a superior option for gay men!

The real issue is tolerance and mutual respect. We must learn that we are all unique and wonderful as we are. There is no right or wrong way of being gay. I absolutely agree that the taboo boundaries of sexual attraction should be exposed and normalised, but not at the expense of all the other expression of sexuality.

So for me, these guys, while expressing a genuine issue that needs urgent attention, have created something that is not only unhelpful but actually destructive!

It’s the wrong solution to the wrong problem guys!

Posted by silentgays in Blog, 0 comments
Exposing Conversion Therapy in New Zealand

Exposing Conversion Therapy in New Zealand

I’ve just had the incredible privilege of working with TVNZ (our national Television network) on a current affairs feature about “gay conversion therapy” (aka reparative therapy or “pray the gay away”).

So many people have expressed shock that it’s so prevalent. It’s not (or ever has been) the exclusive realm of cultish organisations – most of the big ones have closed down as they realised it doesn’t work anyway! However, it’s even more active “underground”, meaning thousands of churches have anything from a pastor who will happily pray with people to “cure” them, through to teams of “prayer warriors”, spiritual counsellors, and support groups that continue the destructive work in even more insidious ways.

It’s time this was exposed and the toll it’s taken on countless lives revealed. There simply is no place for this life threatening practice – and I use the term “life threatening” without hesitation simply because the largest demographic for suicide is amongst LGBT people in religion, and especially those who have experienced this so called therapy.

Sadly, so many of these “counsellors” are genuinely caring and loving, convinced they are helping. I was one of them! But that doesn’t excuse them from the deep level of abuse they are ignorantly inflicting on these people. Although I respect their desire to help people who struggle, I will do all in my power to stop them.

So here are the links to the feature on the Sunday current affairs show and the follow-up the next morning on the TVNZ Breakfast show.
They are Facebook links so they don’t have country restrictions and can be viewed internationally.
I hope to have direct links to the videos soon so we can bypass Facebook and stream direct from here. (They won’t open in a new browser/tab window so you’ll need to click the back button to get back to this page)

FULL CLIP: Controversial gay conversion therapy happening in NZ

This is the story you almost didn’t get to see.On Friday we were threatened with legal action if we didn’t agree to demands to pull this story about gay conversion therapy. But we think it’s important to show you this is happening in New Zealand in 2018.And as you’ll see, the men who’ve been through this controversial therapy say it’s harmful, and psychologists believe it’s unethical. Please let us know your thoughts.

Posted by Sunday TVNZ on Sunday, June 17, 2018

Last night Sunday TVNZ looked into gay conversion therapy, which is offered to "cure" people who find themselves attracted to the same sex.

Sunday TVNZ has looked into gay conversion therapy, which is offered to "cure" people who find themselves attracted to the same sex.It's illegal in some parts of the world, but not in New Zealand. Jack Tame talked to Jim Marjoram, who went through the process and now runs a support group for people too afraid to come out.

Posted by Breakfast on Sunday, June 17, 2018


Posted by silentgays in Blog, Conversion Therapy, Mental Health, 0 comments

My Legacy

Many people think that I’m now “out and proud”, and that my days of living in hidden trauma, depression and self loathing are long gone.

I guess I do give that impression because I’m a passionate advocate for helping people untangle the mess of religion, especially for LGBT people. I speak about how amazing life is now that I’m free from the bondage and abuse from that belief system.
But there’s a hidden legacy that I live with – that most who have been through this sort of stuff live with.
Let me explain…
On one level I’ve never felt more at peace to be free from religion and dogma and how that affected me as a gay man. I understand love in ways I never thought possible. Life is infinitely better!
But I lived a nightmare for most of my life. I lived a life of shame and guilt – of being a failure, a “freak”, faulty, rejected and deeply tormented for being something I couldn’t change, which culminated in a breakdown after my wife died.
It’s been a slow journey out of that mess, and the legacy of that life is deep and lingering. I was on antidepressants for 6 years and still have bouts of depression and anxiety. I have ADHD that became far worse after the breakdown. I can’t absorb complex technical information any more (which sucks because I used to be a Technical Writer and Instructional Designer). My brain runs full tilt all the time, dancing from one thing to another without a word of warning. I get confused easily. I’m impulsive. I lose track of what I’m doing. It’s not just old age, lol, although I’m sure that doesn’t help!
I struggle every day. It took me 2 years to write It’s Life Jim… not only because of the time it took to untangle so much of the mess, but also because my mind doesn’t operate in linear coherent ways any more (not that it was ever that good at it anyway). Some days I get up with the best of intentions and clarity only to find it turns to vapour the moment I start to be “productive”. I practice mindfulness and go for long walks. I take time as best I can, to slow down. I like my wine and beer, and the odd bit of wacky weed to help slow down the endless barrage of chatter in my head.
I struggle with how most of my life was a complete waste, never finding peace or integrity, self worth and living a complete lie, damaging those closest to me, as well as myself. Sure, there’s all the platitudes about my life’s journey and nothing is a waste etc… I get that, really I do. But that doesn’t help the deep scars left by the endless years of crap.
Daily, “normal” life is not something I do well. I’m one of the walking wounded, with a pronounced limp that I’m slowly realising may never go away. And yet, the paradox is I’m happier than I’ve ever been. A deep happiness and peace – so much better than my previous life.
One thing I can give, without hesitation, is my integrity and honesty about who I am, what I’ve done and where I’m at. I can “share my journey” with as much honesty as I’m capable of mustering, because that is the only thing any of us can do in the end. Sure I “preach” about the things that have set me free, and I’m passionate about everyone growing into real life and love without fear or dogma. But I’m just me, still discovering my own biases and how I affect others.
My favourite tag line is “Live loved”. I’m still learning how powerful and profound those simple words are. Some days are better than others, but it’s always a step forward.
The legacy of christianity, for me, is deep. I’ve seen the utter failing of it’s core doctrines. I’m not as bitter as I used to be, and have always recognised that many beautiful, loving people have found a belief system that works for them. They are the ones who have shaped their beliefs around their own inherent beauty, rather than the doctrines of the belief system itself, but that’s a whole other story, lol.
So I guess I’m saying that if I (or anyone) give the impression that I’m suddenly free and perfect after a lifetime of abuse, then sorry, it doesn’t work like that.
Now, where’s that beer?…
Posted by silentgays in Blog, Mental Health, 0 comments