Chad Thompson has been criticized, somewhat justly I think, for bringing the whole ex-gay issue into his initial review of Brokeback Mountain, trying to portray the characters’ frustrations and difficulties as being about orientation change and belief or disbelief in it. He writes:
After all, isn’t that what this really is all about? The existence of God? The character of God? The power of God? One of the most famous lines in the film is “If you can’t change [your sexuality] you just have to stand it.” From a human perspective, changing something as deeply ingrained as one’s sexual orientation certainly is impossible, which is exactly why the world looks at people like me and assumes I’m a fake. But if God really is who he says he is; if God really can heal the sick, turn water into wine, and even bring the dead to life, then overcoming homosexuality wouldn’t seem that hard anymore would it?
There’s a lot I could say about this, but for the moment I’ll just point out that it’s clear that the thought of orientation change just doesn’t cross either of the main characters’ minds in the movie. Chad’s interpretation of the “If you can’t fix it, you got to stand it” quote is totally off-base. This might be Chad’s issue, and what he wants his audience to think about, but it’s a huge stretch to find it in the movie. It’s eisegesis, rather than exegesis.
But it’s not just ex-gays who are trying to find the ex-gay issue in a movie that has nothing to do with it. Here’s a quote from Wayne Besen’s review:
[Brokeback Mountain] will also help undermine the right wing’s promotion of ex-gay ministries. The dramatization of shattered families in Brokeback Mountain exposes these groups for the divorce mills they truly are.
Huh??? Blaming the ex-gay ministries for the family problems in Brokeback is a bit like blaming Richard Simmons for the obesity of someone who never once tried “Sweating to the Oldies.” You have to actually go to the ex-gay ministries for help in order to count as one of their failures.