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Brokeback Syndrome More Than One Way Off the Mountain
CERC ^ | February 2006 | Warren Throckmorton, PhD

Posted on 02/25/2006 3:31:10 PM PST by Coleus

By now, the plot line of Brokeback Mountain is well known.


For those just returning from another planet, here it is: in the early 1960s, two young, male sheep herders, Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar become sexually involved for a summer on Brokeback Mountain in Wyoming. Then, with no strings attached, they move on to marry heterosexually. After a few years they reunite and go on periodic fishing trips together where their fishing lines never get wet. Eventually Ennis' marriage falls apart and Jack dies via suspicious circumstances.   Brokeback Mountain has been billed by some as a universal love story. For instance, the Los Angeles Times said the movie depicts a love story that "deals with the uncharted, mysterious ways of the human heart just as so many mainstream films have before it. The two lovers here just happen to be men."

Others disagree. Daniel Mendelsohn, in a New York Times column, declared, "Both narratively and visually, Brokeback Mountain is a tragedy about the specifically gay phenomenon of the "closet" — about the disastrous emotional and moral consequences of erotic self-repression and of the social intolerance that first causes and then exacerbates it." In other words, Brokeback Mountain is not a universal love story, but rather a tragic gay story portraying the social oppression and "erotic self-repression" of homosexuals who hide or suppress their feelings.  On the heels of Mr. Mendelsohn's essay is another New York Times op-ed by Dan Savage generalizing the fictional Brokeback plotline to all men who experience attractions to other men but desire a heterosexual marriage. Call it the Brokeback Syndrome.

Throwing down a challenge, Mr. Savage writes: "…if anyone reading this believes that gay men can actually become ex-gay men, I have just one question for you: Would you want your daughter to marry one?"   Is Mr. Savage correct? Is it impossible for some men who experience attractions to other men to buck the Brokeback Syndrome? If even possible, should they? Should societal norms encourage men in such situations to leave their marriages and come out as gay if they experience persistent attractions to the same sex? According to writers for the official newspaper of the Brokeback Buzz, "erotic self-repression" is so destabilizing that being an ex-gay cowboy is not only impossible but the attempt invariably produces "disastrous emotional and moral consequences."

Don't tell that to Rob and Lois Winslow of Lafayette, CO. For approximately 25 years, Rob was one of those closeted people pitied so by the Times' writers. Prior to marrying, Rob had disclosed his same-sex attractions to his fiance' Lois, but they went ahead with marriage. About 10 years ago, Rob confessed to Lois that his struggle had not ceased. Their world was turned upset down. Although Lois was supportive and loving, the road they traveled together to save their marriage was painful.  Rob is not a cowboy nor does he play one on TV. Rather, he is a businessman who had come to the decision that he was indeed a gay man who was about to declare it. Concerning the Brokeback Syndrome, Rob said, "I really felt that way. I wanted to leave my family and find Mr. Right."


Rob set off on a business trip he hoped would turn into a weekend of sex with a male co-worker. What he found instead was an encounter with a man who described what he called "sexual healing."


In December 1995, after 2 children and 15 years of marriage, Rob set off on a business trip he hoped would turn into a weekend of sex with a male co-worker. What he found instead was an encounter with a man who described what he called "sexual healing." Not the Marvin Gaye kind, but rather the co-worker described how he had experienced healing from compulsive sexuality and a renewed commitment to his marriage. Rob was intrigued. "When I learned that there was another way, I wanted to know more. I always felt a need for men in my life and had settled for a sexual closeness. My friend offered me a different option."

His pursuit of that option came through various counselors, religious commitment and eventually involved an Exodus International ministry. He told me recently in an interview that he has not had a homosexual experience in 10 years and says, "I am no longer attracted to men at all."

Concerning men experiencing the Brokeback Syndrome, Rob says he can empathize with their situation. "I think I can relate to them. These (same-sex) feelings seemed like they had always been a part of my life." Now however, Rob sees this issue from a different perspective. "Although I think I understand what men who relate to Jack and Ennis are feeling, I think it is an unnecessary choice to give up on their marriage commitment. What I have now is so much better."   Even though Rob doesn't experience attractions to men now, the point of his story is not to generalize claims about sexual orientation change to others. Rather, the Winslows see Rob's experience as demonstrating that love is more than eroticism. Their choice to preserve family for each other and their children was a loving thing to do, even when faced with a season of "erotic self-repression."   As far as married men struggling with the Brokeback Syndrome, Rob does not recommend it. He just wants people to know there is more than one way off the mountain.

Warren Throckmorton. "Brokeback Syndrome — More Than One Way Off the Mountain." http://www.drthrockmorton.com/  (February, 2006).

Warren Throckmorton, PhD is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Fellow for Psychology and Public Policy in the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City (PA) College. Dr. Throckmorton is past-president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association and is the producer of the documentary, I Do Exist about sexual orientation change. His columns have been published by over 70 newspapers nationwide and can be contacted through his website at www.warrenthrockmorton.com.


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: awayout; brokebackmountain; exgays; exodusinternational; formergaysexist; homosexualagenda; humpbackmountain

1 posted on 02/25/2006 3:31:13 PM PST by Coleus
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To: Coleus

It's a film about adultery where they cheat as homosexuals.

Hollywood loves gays and adulterers.


2 posted on 02/25/2006 3:32:55 PM PST by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: Coleus

Hey, I'm still trying to get my head around the idea that shepherds would sleep with each other when the job comes with a harem.


3 posted on 02/25/2006 3:32:56 PM PST by RichInOC ("Lovin' ewe is easy 'cause ewe're beautiful...makin' love with ewe is all I want to do...")
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To: RichInOC

LOL!


4 posted on 02/25/2006 3:34:38 PM PST by BenLurkin (O beautiful for patriot dream - that sees beyond the years)
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To: Coleus
the co-worker described how he had experienced healing from compulsive sexuality

The homosexuality illness in a nutshell indeed.

5 posted on 02/25/2006 3:34:51 PM PST by King Moonracer
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To: RichInOC

That's so baaaaaad


6 posted on 02/25/2006 3:36:03 PM PST by digger48
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To: Coleus

This is a perfect example of Hollyweird trying to force feed an agenda. It is falling flat on its face and is a finacial disaster.


7 posted on 02/25/2006 3:39:05 PM PST by golfisnr1 (Democrats are like roaches, hard to get rid of.>)
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To: Dataman
Have you ever noticed how similar the homosexual groups' reaction to ex-homosexuals is to the evolutionary establishment's reaction to scientists who don't believe in macro-evolution? "No such thing!" "They never really were!" "Religious fanatics!"

Dan
Biblical Christianity BLOG
Pyromaniacs

8 posted on 02/25/2006 3:39:52 PM PST by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: Coleus
Mr. Savage writes: "…if anyone reading this believes that gay men can actually become ex-gay men, I have just one question for you: Would you want your daughter to marry one?" Is Mr. Savage correct?

Yes, he is, for once.

9 posted on 02/25/2006 3:48:15 PM PST by Darkwolf377 (No respect for conservatives? That's free speech. No respect for liberals? That's hate speech.)
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To: RichInOC
Hey, I'm still trying to get my head around the idea that shepherds would sleep with each other when the job comes with a harem.

Ya know, sometimes you're just saddled with a whole heard of ugly sheep.

10 posted on 02/25/2006 3:52:51 PM PST by Melas (What!? Read or learn something? Why would anyone do that, when they can just go on being stupid)
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To: Coleus
This piece had one really interesting question that I'd be curious to hear a lot of FReepers answer:

How would you feel if your daughter married a man who claimed to be a reformed homosexual?

11 posted on 02/25/2006 3:53:56 PM PST by Melas (What!? Read or learn something? Why would anyone do that, when they can just go on being stupid)
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To: Melas
This piece had one really interesting question that I'd be curious to hear a lot of FReepers answer: How would you feel if your daughter married a man who claimed to be a reformed homosexual?

Can't imagine my daughter ever being attracted to someone like that, but if she did want to marry an ex-gay, I'd be horrified. On the other hand I'd be equally horrified if she wanted to marry a man who had been a serial heterosexual adulterer. Such people have shown that they don't have much ability to resist temptation, and there is always temptation.

12 posted on 02/25/2006 4:00:52 PM PST by Capriole (The Anti-Feminist)
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To: BibChr

..reprobate minds...


13 posted on 02/25/2006 4:05:42 PM PST by WalterSkinner ( ..when there is any conflict between God and Caesar -- guess who loses?)
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To: Capriole
Can't imagine my daughter ever being attracted to someone like that, but if she did want to marry an ex-gay, I'd be horrified.

Me too, which points to something of a problem. On the one hand we encourage gays to join groups like Exodus and leave the gay lifestyle, but on the other hand, we're never going to truly let them put it behind them.

14 posted on 02/25/2006 4:05:56 PM PST by Melas (What!? Read or learn something? Why would anyone do that, when they can just go on being stupid)
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To: Melas

I'd check him out REALLY carefully, hear his story, get to know him really well. I know men who have been healed through Exodus Intl. It is a good solid program.


15 posted on 02/25/2006 4:10:34 PM PST by bboop (Stealth Tutor)
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To: Melas

Depends on what you mean by "reformed homosexual". I don't want my daughters marrying ANY man who has been sexually active. (And the same goes for any woman my son wishes to marry.)




16 posted on 02/25/2006 4:11:40 PM PST by Politicalmom (Must I use a sarcasm tag?)
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To: Melas

There are some women who are willing to take them on. The ex-gays can put their homosexual history behind them with those women. My daughter and I aren't among them. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but if I married an ex-gay, every time I got into bed with him I'd be thinking about what he'd done with men and I'd be sickened. It has nothing to do with forgiveness per se--after all, the ex-gay man has done nothing to me for which I need to forgive him. It's just the gross-out factor.

Anyway, I tend to go for real guys who love women and absolutely love having sex with us, not metros and not people who have to work on being attracted to women.


17 posted on 02/25/2006 4:12:08 PM PST by Capriole (The Anti-Feminist)
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To: Capriole

I wouldn't want one of my daughter's hooked up with an ex-gay either. Which just goes to prove my point. Ex-gays are never going to be really welcomed in heterosexual circles.


18 posted on 02/25/2006 4:17:50 PM PST by Melas (What!? Read or learn something? Why would anyone do that, when they can just go on being stupid)
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To: Darkwolf377
...is another New York Times op-ed by Dan Savage...

Not Michael...

19 posted on 02/25/2006 4:28:58 PM PST by raybbr (ANWR is a barren, frozen wasteland - like the mind of a democrat!)
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To: raybbr

No, Dan Savage is a gay hysteric, while Mikey is the straight-ish hysteric.


20 posted on 02/25/2006 4:29:54 PM PST by Darkwolf377 (No respect for conservatives? That's free speech. No respect for liberals? That's hate speech.)
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To: Melas
...put it behind them.

You knew what you were doing, didn't you?

21 posted on 02/25/2006 4:30:12 PM PST by raybbr (ANWR is a barren, frozen wasteland - like the mind of a democrat!)
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To: Melas

I'd be uneasy if she married a reformed homosexual, manslut, alcoholic, druggie, con-man, theif, armed robber, politician or any number of other atypical lifestyles involving repetitive anti-social behavior.


22 posted on 02/25/2006 4:37:21 PM PST by Valpal1 (Crush jihadists, drive collaborators before you, hear the lamentations of their media. Allahu FUBAR!)
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To: Melas

Excellent point. Unfortunately, this is true as well of many groups that don't fit into the conventional image of what it looks like to be part of a church.

And I think I'd be concerned if my daughter was attracted to an ex-gay man, but for now I have to try to accept and see them as "healed" - that's what Christ calls me to.

Through the blogging medium I have observed a rather impressive following with Exodus. Although I can't ever claim to understand what goes on in the heart and mind of a homosexual, from the enlightening blog discussions, those trying to overcome homosexuality experience an overwhelming struggle. The guys from Exodus (and similar movements) are very committed to helping one another overcome.

When I read the hope and success the men find through Exodus, I am very thankful.


23 posted on 02/25/2006 4:57:41 PM PST by freeagle
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To: Coleus

My Dad's friend just went to see the movie thinking it was a western. Once to their shocking discovery it was a gay sheephearder movie, they walked out.


24 posted on 02/25/2006 5:00:36 PM PST by Always Right
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To: Coleus

The best comment I've heard on Brokeback Mountain came from a co-worker who shoots CAS, "Now we know why John Wayne hated sheepherders."


25 posted on 02/25/2006 5:19:49 PM PST by jim_trent
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To: Melas

>> "we're never going to truly let them put it behind them" <<

Well "putting it behind them" is what the whole problem is about, isn't it.

I know what you are saying, but the wording just asks for a comment.


26 posted on 02/25/2006 5:27:42 PM PST by sd-joe
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To: jim_trent

John Wayne hated sheep herders like I hate 'bloggers'. Everytime a new protocol comes along it becomes cool for fifteen days.


27 posted on 02/25/2006 5:31:21 PM PST by dhuffman@awod.com (The conspiracy of ignorance masquerades as common sense.)
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To: Coleus
Since the release of Brokeback Mountain... Strange happenings have occurred in the high meadows where the film was made...

Film at 11...

28 posted on 02/25/2006 5:43:44 PM PST by Bender2 (Redid my FR Homepage just for ya'll... Now, Vote Republican and vote often)
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To: DirtyHarryY2K; DBeers; scripter

Great article by Dr. Throckmorton.


29 posted on 02/25/2006 5:49:53 PM PST by little jeremiah (Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil. CS.Lewis)
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To: Capriole
On the other hand I'd be equally horrified if she wanted to marry a man who had been a serial heterosexual adulterer. Such people have shown that they don't have much ability to resist temptation, and there is always temptation

I'm a heterosexual male who's never experienced such a temptation, despite an abundance of exposure to it. What about that?

30 posted on 02/25/2006 6:17:54 PM PST by NonZeroSum
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To: WalterSkinner

Yep and only one thing can change em!


31 posted on 02/25/2006 7:24:03 PM PST by crghill
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To: NonZeroSum
I'm a heterosexual male who's never experienced such a temptation, despite an abundance of exposure to it. What about that?

I was referring to serial adulterers as those who find it hard to resist temptation; I was not referring to you, sir.

32 posted on 02/25/2006 7:34:33 PM PST by Capriole (The Anti-Feminist)
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To: Melas

If he had been recently tested for a variety of STD's and HIV and been clean and abstained from homosexual contact for 5 years, I'd be ok with it.


33 posted on 02/25/2006 8:35:32 PM PST by chae (R.I.P. Eddie Guerrero He lied, he cheated, he stole my heart)
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To: Coleus
When somebody claims to be gay and we believe them, what we're really doing is taking them at their word. We believe their claim, we believe their testimony and their declaration that they are gay.

When somebody claims to be ex-gay the world is suddenly skeptical. The world doesn't believe their claim, the world doesn't believe their testimony and their declaration that they are ex-gay.

When somebody uses the same standard to believe the declaration of gays but ignores the declaration of ex-gays, they should ask themselves why they believe one group and not the other.

34 posted on 02/25/2006 11:54:25 PM PST by scripter ("You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." - C.S. Lewis)
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To: Coleus
You don't ever tell gays to go straight, Dr. You're an intolerant, bible-thumping homophobe bigot. At least that's what you'll hear from the Gay Lobby. Gays after all are a politically correct minority. Mess with them at your peril.

(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")

35 posted on 02/25/2006 11:59:40 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Coleus
Ex-gays promote the straight life

36 posted on 02/26/2006 1:42:58 PM PST by Coleus (What were Ted Kennedy & his nephew doing on Good Friday, 1991? Getting drunk and raping women)
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