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PTSD-DADT-MST and the exgay movement

July 4, 2013

Through counseling at the Albuquerque Vet Center and the Albuquerque VA hospital I have come to understand why I remained in the exgay movement for so long. I can’t write about what happened yet but I was discharged from the military under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and during my discharge experienced Military Sexual Trauma and (I just tried to write about what happened but can’t).

The VA has shown me that I have remained in the exgay movement as a way to isolate myself from others and live in a very controlled and safe environment.  It’s been a tough few months and I am on a Safety Plan from the VA.  They have made it very clear that if I don’t comply with this plan I will end up in the dreaded Ward 7 (psych unit).

It has been a rough road, I no longer identify as Christian or exgay. I went to the VA thinking I would get a couple of counseling sessions for my MST and that would be it.  But my experience at the VA was a lot like my experience in the military-living through all of that again.  Fortunately I found some good folks at the VA who really challenged me on my beliefs. 

My Vet Center counselor is a straight Purple-Heart combat vet that really showed me that what I went through was Hell.  He had to convince me that it wasn’t my fault.  The MST coordinator at the VA Hospital has been tough making me confront the false beliefs I have been living under.

It is amazing to realize that for years I have been living a life based on fear and hate. I have been diagnosed with PTSD and that is tough as well.  My initial experience at the VA was not very good, but that was partially because of my own self-sabotage, and because the VA has so many misunderstandings about MST, especially when it comes to men dealing with MST.

Trusting people is not easy for me, but some people at the VA have earned my trust and respect.  I don’t know what is next, I don’t know where my faith will be, I don’t know what my sexual identity will be.  It’s a scary time.

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