But "free to be you and me" is not the lesson anti-gay religious conservatives are going to draw from Josh Weed's case. They will hold Weed up as proof that there's no need for marriage equality or domestic partnerships or civil unions—no need to recognize same-sex couples under the law at all—because all gay people everywhere should follow Josh Weed's example. Society should encourage each of us to find an opposite-sex partner who is willing to marry us and who we can either fuck successfully while thinking about gay sex or whom we feel so strongly about that we 1. actually enjoy fucking or 2. will claim we enjoy fucking in blog posts that our opposite-sex partners help us write. Unicorn Marriages—Weed describes himself as a unicorn—will be pushed as Plan B for gays and lesbians who flunk out of ex-gay ministries.
On that note, a reader points out:
Josh Weed is a family and marriage counselor. According to his employer's website:
As a therapist, Josh works with many people struggling with difficult life issues, but focuses his efforts mainly on adolescent and adult sexual addiction issues, with an emphasis on youth treatment. His work is dedicated to helping people combat patterns and beliefs that cause feelings of shame, hopelessness and despair. Josh also works helping those with sexual identity issues and unwanted sexual attractions and/or behaviors. Before transitioning to private practice, his clinical work revolved around his role at Kent Youth and Family Services, where he still performs Drug and Alcohol assessments. Josh particularly enjoys working with youth; helping them feel hope as they face many life challenges.
How many of his clients go on to fully accept "the gay lifestyle"? What does he think about that choice? Surely, you have someone on staff who can dig a little deeper before announcing your support for this man and his choices.
Another reader shares Dan's concern:
I do feel for Josh Weed. His story of a gay teenager desperate (his word, not mine) to meet the expectations of his church, desperate to be loved by someone ("If YOU won’t consider marrying me, then who will?") and totally incapable of exploring something deeper with another man is heartbreaking. As an adult, his inability to see the difference between "lust" and "passion", and his seeming incapability of seeing the value of nonbiological families and adopted children (on his lesbian psychologist’s daughter: "a girl, whom she considered her daughter") is similarly tragic. I fear the reality behind his mask is not as proper as his blog post makes it appear. I feel for him.
But I don’t quite agree with your assessment of Josh. While he certainly makes, by FAR, the most clear-headed, honest and endearing appeal I’ve ever heard from an ex-gay (I know he doesn’t use that term, but that’s essentially what he is), I don’t think his story is benign. In a perfect world – one with no homophobia or religious intolerance towards gay people – gay men who want to marry women should be free to do so without criticism.
But we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a world where rampant homophobia means that millions of gay couples are desperately fighting for the right to marry and protect their children, where young gay kids are killing themselves at astonishing rates and where far too many young gay men and women are torturing themselves in therapies that promise conversions to straightness. Taking stories like Josh’s at face value hurts all of us.
Josh seems like a nice guy who may not intend to use his story to influence other men in similar situations, but rest assured, his story WILL be used as fodder by the anti-gay industry. Every homophobic Mormon (or Catholic or Protestant or Jew or Muslim) who reads this will now have at least one more story where a gay man was able to overcome his desires ("see, just because you’re born that way doesn’t mean you have to act on it!"), only helping to cement their intolerance.
Alan Jacobs, on the other hand, finds Weed's story applicable to all types of relationships:
The really interesting thing about the story has nothing to do with homosexuality, but with the possibility that our society has the logic of attraction all backwards: we start with sexual desire and hope to generate other forms of intimacy from that, but this model suggests that it could make more sense to start with the kind of intimacy that is more like friendship than anything else, and to trust that sexual satisfaction will arise from that.
On what planet does Jacobs live? Planet lesbian?