If You Could Read My Mind: A PTSD Memoir

David_Elijah_NahmodDavid-Elijah Nahmod is a film critic and reporter in San Francisco. His articles appear regularly in The Bay Area Reporter and SF Weekly. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.

David developed Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder (PTSD) after surviving gay conversion therapy as a child and has found that many in the LGBT community suffer from severe, often untreated emotional disorders due to the extreme anti-gay traumas they endured. This column chronicles his journey.

The Buck Stops Here

Harry Truman served as the 33rd US President, sitting in the Oval Office from 1945-1953. The Buck Stops Here was Truman’s motto–he meant that responsibility for what went on the the country at that time went no further than his desk–as the man at the very top of the United States food chain, President Truman accepted full responsibility for everything that happened to the American people.

For many years after, The Buck Stops Here became a popular catch-phrase, and a standard which people hoped they could live up to.

“You are responsible for everything you do,” Gilbert Baker, the designer of the iconic rainbow flag, told me in an interview several years ago. To that end, Baker ended his practice of marching in Pride Parades as a scantily clad Jesus with pink skin when he realized that anti-gay religious groups had been photographing him. Groups like The Moral Majority and The 700 Club used those pictures in order to campaign against gay rights. Baker decided that the community’s need for equality laws to be passed was more important than his right to be the center of attention. He accepted responsibility for his actions.

The Buck Stops Here concept barely exists in today’s world. We’ve been watching the GOP implode on itself. GOP presidential candidates continue to defend the NRA, make racist remarks about immigrants, and attack Planned Parenthood. Conservative , far right religious leaders have yet to stop insisting that floods, earthquakes and killer bees are God’s punishment for gay marriage. Polls show that expressing these views has all but destroyed the GOP’s chances of taking back the White House, yet Republican candidates continue to spout these inflammatory, offensive and laughable views.

The GOP has become a party in turmoil, where no one accepts responsibility for their words or deeds. But if we’re to be honest with ourselves, then we must admit that the LGBT activist community isn’t much better.

In a recent edition of this column, I interviewed Rev. Megan Rohrer, a transgender church pastor in San Francisco who needed police assistance after receiving threats of violence from within the LGBT sphere. I understood how the Pastor felt all too well: in 2010 I needed police intervention after a series of gay bloggers inflamed anti-gay and anti-Semitic hate against me for a cheap laugh–I was told that being gay justifies such conduct and that I was an “anti-gay bigot” for not supporting this kind of behavior. I was subjected to so much hate from within the LGBT community that I nearly committed suicide. Gay activists laughed.

What happened to Rev. Rohrer and I are not isolated incidents–just Chicago area resident Carl Szulczynski. Now married to his husband with whom he raised two children, Szulcynski had to contend with nationally known gay activists ridiculing his past as a homeless, bisexual identified teen. He introduced me to Kyle, a young gay man with a speech impediment. Gay activists had made fun of Kyle’s voice on a radio chat show.

“How we treat others is often a reflection of what we think of ourselves,” Szulczynski told me. “Saying ‘it gets better’ doesn’t make it better. We all have to do our parts to make it better.”

Yet every day gay activist bloggers go out of their way to make things worse for other LGBT people.

Jeff White knows this all too well. Openly gay, he was so viciously attacked by gay bloggers that he lost his job. White’s “crime”? He rejected the term cisgender in relation to himself and instead chose the label “agender”.

“In a community where we are taught that being yourself and being authentically, apologetically you, it’s very disheartening to see so many members of our community treat people with utter disrespect simply because they are being themselves instead of who they LGBT community demands they be,” White told me. He also expressed concern for the safety of his 14 year old lesbian daughter.

“One of my biggest fears is that the gay blogosphere will find reason to attack my daughter as it has so many others,” White said. “More times than not when this occurs, organizations such as The Trevor Project ignore as it is happening as if their concern only begins after the child has been pushed to suicide. In my opinion, the work of preventing suicide caused by bullying should begin before the suicide takes place instead of after.”

In fact The Trevor Project is one of several LGBT advocacy groups which ignored bullying and threatening emails which were sent by middle-aged gay activist

Kevin Patrick O’Neil to Rinna Hoffman, a lesbian suicide attempt survivor young enough to be his daughter. Over 400–yes, FOUR HUNDRED–gay activists saw those emails. Not one expressed concern for Rinna’s well being. though several told me they would have treated Rinna exactly the same way. For the full details of O’Neil’s disturbing conduct, please see my 2013 column “Bullying Is Not a Gay Right”.

Blog and social media companies are part of the problem. In perusing a variety of gay blogs, I found many provably false accusations of stalking, bigotry, hate group affiliation, and other inflammatory accusations, all posted by gay bloggers against other LGBT people. I’ve seen instances in which gay bloggers went after people’s relationships and jobs. I’ve also verified two cases in which LGBT people, one a teenager, were hospitalized in a suicidal state as a direct result of malicious attacks from gay bloggers.

Blog and social media sites such as Facebook and WordPress have assured me that they will do nothing about this. They will not delete libelous posts or ban abusive users. NOT EVEN WHEN SUICIDAL TEENS OR PEOPLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES ARE TARGETED.

Alan R. Henry, a gay man in South Florida, said that the behavior of gay bloggers and the apathy of gay organizations “disgusts” him.

“Many gays thrive on the ability to cut and slash others,” Henry said. “Most of the time its directed at people who can’t or won’t fight back. The happy clappy It Gets Better campaign seems to have done nothing to stop LGBT youth from taking drastic measures.”

Henry also expressed his displeasure with “Self appointed community saviors who promise the world and give nothing.”

Is it any wonder that our community has such a disproportionately high number of suicides, not to mention so much drug/alcohol abuse?

As a survivor of gay conversion therapy who’s PTSD was severely inflamed by the shameful conduct of gay activist bloggers, I’d like to know when will this madness end? How many of us have to kill ourselves before somebody cares?

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