Ex-gay ministries train people who are attracted to members of the same sex in gender and religious conventions that such ministries hope will effect changes in erotic desire. However, they reject efforts at denial and repression in favor of frank acknowledgment of homosexual desire, and advocate for the full inclusion of those who struggle with that desire in the church community. In carving out this space between rejection and acceptance of homosexuality, they utilize discursive and cultural strategies that resemble the gender indeterminacy and gender play celebrated by queer theorists——who have very different socio-political aims. Using the work of queer theorist Judith Butler, this paper looks at the practice of ex-gay ministries, arguing that by grounding gender essentialism in creation rather than nature, these ministries are able to engage in and profit from strategies I call "queerish"——ones that are similar to queer strategies in certain conceptual moves, yet quite distinct in normative ends.
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