Josh Weed: I'm Gay And Straight-Married, But Not An Ex-Gay Therapist
Last week an openly gay Mormon man named Josh Weed published a personal blog post entitled "Club Unicorn: In which I come out of the closet on our ten year anniversary." In the post, Weed discussed how he and his wife of three children were able to have a happy and "robust" sex life despite his being gay.
Here's a snippet in which he discusses his approach:
"Some might assume that because I’m married to a woman, I must be bisexual. This would be true if sexual orientation was defined by sexual experience... Sexual orientation is defined by attraction, not by experience...
The truth is, what people are really asking with the above question is 'how can you be gay if your primary sex partner is a girl?'... Here is the basic reality that I actually think many people could use a lesson in: sex is about more than just visual attraction and lust and it is about more than just passion and infatuation. I won’t get into the boring details of the research here, but basically when sex is done right, at its deepest level it is about intimacy."
Today, the blogs Joe.My.God. and Think Progress called Weed an "ex-gay reparative therapist" (that is, a therapist who claims that psychotherapy can turn gay people straight, a practice that has been denounced as harmful by the American Psychological Association).
As proof, the blogs mentioned a quote from Weed's original post in which he said that he helps clients "who struggle to reconcile their sexual orientation with their religious beliefs."
They also referred to this paragraph from his practice's bio page:
"[Josh's] 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 behaviors."
Gay.net called Weed to ask him if his work included ex-gay therapy or if it only involved, as his practice's website says, stopping behaviors such as viewing pornography, masturbation, infidelity (emotional and sexual), inappropriate relationships (chatting, posting profiles, texting, etc.) and any form of sexual acting out (strip clubs, prostitution, massage parlors, escorts, etc...).
Over the phone Weed said, "I don't believe that a gay person can or even should change their sexual attraction." Then Weed responded via e-mail with this:
I do not practice, nor do I believe in, reparative therapy or change therapy. Quite the opposite, my therapeutic stance is one that favors (but does not depend on) the idea that sexual orientation is immutable.
My therapeutic approach is to meet clients where they are--wherever that might be--and then help them to analyze the goals and aspirations that they have for their own life.
Given my background, I feel especially adept at helping clients who feel that their attractions are "unwanted" because of cultural or religious contexts. I work with them to help them accept their sexual orientation for what it is, so that they can move forward into the decision making part of their life.
I help them get to the point where the question becomes something like, "This part of me is real, and I am totally okay. Now what?" I then help them as they navigate the difficult waters of decision.
My clients make extremely varied choices for their lives and futures. My role is to help them do so in a way that is authentic and true to what they want for themselves, and not to appease outside sources of pressure (like family, church or culture at large).
We have requested a follow-up interview with Mr. Weed. But we're curious, what would you like to know about him?