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Friday 5 July Saturday 6 July Sunday 7 July Monday 8 July Tuesday 9 July Wednesday 10 July Friday 12 July Sunday 14 July Monday 15 July Tuesday 16 July Wednesday 17 July Thursday 18 July Friday 19 July Saturday 20 July Sunday 21 July Monday 22 July Tuesday 23 July Wednesday 24 July Thursday 25 July Friday 26 July Saturday 27 July Sunday 28 July Monday 29 July Tuesday 30 July Wednesday 31 July Thursday 1 August Friday 2 August Saturday 3 August Sunday 4 August Monday 5 August Tuesday 6 August Wednesday 7 August Thursday 8 August Friday 9 August Saturday 10 August Sunday 11 August Monday 12 August Tuesday 13 August Wednesday 14 August Thursday 15 August Friday 16 August Saturday 17 August Sunday 18 August Monday 19 August Tuesday 20 August Wednesday 21 August Thursday 22 August Friday 23 August Saturday 24 August Sunday 25 August Monday 26 August Tuesday 27 August Wednesday 28 August Thursday 29 August Friday 30 August Saturday 31 August Sunday 1 September Monday 2 September Tuesday 3 September Wednesday 4 September Thursday 5 September Friday 6 September Saturday 7 September Sunday 8 September He says he felt sick and that was the beginning of his conversion.

Another famous case is that of Steve Simmons, who spent the early years of his marriage having illicit encounters with other men to satisfy his cravings, but found salvation through the ex-gay movement. He says he is now happy to live as a heterosexual.

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Listening to Marks talk of a life in which he felt anguished about his longing for sexual intimacy with other men and the belief that he could never be accepted by God, it is perhaps possible to understand the appeal of the full-on evangelical fervour of the US movement. Marks had a Christian upbringing - he was an Anglican choirboy - and realised well before puberty that he "had erotic attraction to the same sex.

It was very disturbing and not what I wanted. As his yearnings grew, so did his sense of self-loathing. He became more deeply involved with the church, and the words of Leviticus - "Do not lie with a male as one lies with a female; that is detestable" - preyed on his mind.

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Even so, Marks found himself going to gay clubs where, in his mid 20s, he met a man with whom he had a short-lived relationship. As he remembers, his gently creased face softens. At the time, he says, he thought: "This really is me, what's the point of fighting it? Much of the theory touted by the ex-gay movement and the Courage Trust stems from a book by Elizabeth Moberley, Homosexuality and the Christian Ethic, in which she argues that gay men are trying to compensate for an inadequate bond with their father, so that they are constantly seeking men as replacement father figures.

The challenge for these men, she argues, is to form close, loving but celibate relationships with other men so that they can develop beyond expressing their feelings in a sexual way.

Sex and Salvation

Marks claims that in the vast majority of cases where a father has been weak, unsatisfactory or largely absent and a mother "domineering or controlling", men find themselves drawn to other men. However, according to US psychologists who have monitored the ex-gay movement, men who see their homosexuality as an aberration frequently come from deeply authoritarian backgrounds where it is considered immoral or sinful, while others have married but cannot reconcile their family commitments with their feelings.

So how does the ex-gay movement try to make men straight?


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In the US, there are residential programmes such as the one held by Love in Action, which Marks attended for a year. During that time he lived in an all-male, avowedly celibate house. The non-residential programmes he runs in Watford, held three evenings a month throughout the year, with a residential weekend at the beginning and end, follow the US form with Bible readings, confessional sessions where men can admit to lapses, fantasies and feelings they find difficult to overcome.

Sex for Salvation by Adam Weishaupt (eBook) - Lulu

The idea is that the men can offer each other loving, intimate but celibate friendship and that this will compensate for the loss of bonding with the father figure during childhood, enabling them to move on beyond their homosexuality. Just as many Westerners believe that young people break with the past as they enter adulthood, Malagasy citizens fear that these women have severed the connection to their history and culture.

It obscures the ways young people draw on long-standing ideas of gender and sexuality, it ignores how urbanites relate to their rural counterparts, and it neglects the relationship between these husband-seeking women and their elders who join Pentecostal churches. Instead, she reveals how fantasies of rupture and conceptions of the changing life course shape the everyday ways that people create the future.

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