Good, Bad or Somewhere In Between?

Counseling Combats Cruising?

The United States seems obsessed with cruising these days. Senator Larry Craig and Representative Bob Allen’s respective arrests this year have catapulted public sex into the public eye. What a perfect time, then, for Deseret News to feature Pride Counseling’s Healthy Self-Expressions program.

Sponsored in part by the Salt Lake County Criminal Justice Services, this five-week course educates men on the dangers and implications of cruising. As we’ve already seen, many cruisers identify as straight, yet continually find themselves drawn to anonymous homosexual encounters: a confusing internal conflict, to say the least. Pride Counseling’s Jerrie Buie explains:

There are so many layers to this issues. It really goes beyond a bunch of men looking for sex. People in this kind of culture really struggle with a sense of orientation.

Please tell us he’s making a bad pun…

While such counseling sounds good in theory – and also helps the men shed potential criminal charges – we can’t help but equate Buie’s program and controversial reparative therapy. Consider Buie’s proud proclamation:

We’ve been transitioning people out of this behavior. It is a permanent change in their behavior, and that’s the systematic win. Just because you have an attraction to men doesn’t mean you have to be a slave to those attractions. As a therapist I try to encourage people to be honest with themselves.

Buie further explains himself in this 2003 interview:

I try to put in perspective that, for whatever reason, homosexuality gets defined as purely a sexual thing. Socially, that’s where the emphasis is. What I try to do is, if you will, desexualize what it means to be gay. What I ask people . . . is ‘What are your values? What is your sense of who you are?'”

We’re a bit torn on this one, readers and would love to hear your thoughts. It’s worth noting, we think, that many of the program’s participants are Mormon.