4 Comments on “James Parker on the Iris Robinson Controversy

  1. Peter,
    clicking ‘play’ doesn’t work for me – i get a pop up saying file not found…
    in friendship, Blair

  2. Peter,
    thanks for mentioning it came from the BBC. Found the Nolan Show podcast where it comes from – it was Wednesday 11th’s edition – and have just listened.
    I’m not sure what to make of James and his story to be honest. I read his chapter in God, Gays and the Church and he echoed that once or twice during his interview with Stephen Nolan. For instance, his comment that a majority of same-sex attracted men have been sexually abused. Stephen Nolan challenged him on this and he quoted a statistic (75% of gay-identified men have had sexual contact with another man when under 18, I think) which doesn’t back up his contention. He says this his chapter in the book too (“The majority of same-sex strugglers, I have since come to learn, have been sexually abused”, p31) but again does not back it up.
    …OK. I don’t want to try a demolition job. I think I went on quite long enough on the ‘Church and State’ thread. I want to try and find a ‘voice’ to respond, without simply going into self-righteous rant mode. As I say, I’m not sure how to respond to James’s story. One of the other things I find difficult about this, is that the stories of gays and ex-gays (if you’ll allow those terms a moment) are in many ways so similar. I’ve never been abused but have and have had my own struggles with masculinity – but no orientation change as I’ve said before. There’s probably more points James made that could be challenged, but I’ll leave off there.
    in friendship, Blair

  3. I appreciate James saying that his story is unique but a listen to it reminds me of the typical reparative narrative. The other thing that always strikes me in hearing these narratives is how adult language is imposed on childhood recollections. For instance, Mr. Parker says he did not have a deep heart to heart connection with peers in the early developmental stages of his life. However, not having these connections seems entirely normal and expected. Young children have superficial relationships, at least as compared to adult relationships. How can it be otherwise? Young children cannot go visit their friends when they want to, they cannot spend long hours sharing masculinity. His descriptions seem to be theory talking and not how people talk who have not been influenced by a narrative imposed from outside. It also seems to assume that straight guys have some kind of optimal experience as children.

    The sexual abuse statistic is probably not sexual abuse at all. As Nolan points out, using 18 as a cutoff renders the label “sexual abuse” suspicious. Surely, straight kids who engage in consensual sex prior to 18 would not be considered abused. Gay kids are abused more often but the events are often after they become aware of SSA. The best representative studies in the US do not find much effect from sexual abuse on the whole. For people who suffer it, it no doubt creates trauma that should be addressed. No one disputes that. However, it is misleading to quote a 75% figure in the same breath as “sexual abuse.”

    Peter, I listened to this by going to the Nolan website. For some reason, it is not playing from your site.

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