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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
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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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