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South Park nails it with Ex-Gay Camp episode

Some of the best social satire is found on the South Park cartoon show on Comedy Central (Click their link this week and you can watch part of it.  God forbid we post it on YouTube and deprive Viacom of a buck.)  This week’s episode, entitled “Cartman Sucks”, featured the meek, abused boy Butters Stotch, blindfolded and on his knees, about to give a Lewinsky to the asshole bully boy, Eric Cartman.  Suddenly, Butters’ father walks in and catches them.  Cartman runs off.

Yeah, it’s an acquired taste, South Park.  Not for everyone, and I totally get that.  But hear me out.

Butters’ horrified father tells Butters he’s “bi-curious” and that he’s going off to a camp to Pray The Gay Away!  (“A remote camp in the woods filled with nothing but men and bi-curious young boys?  That’s a perfect idea!” says Mr. Stotch.)  Butters thinks it’s “bicurious”, like some sort of infection or disorder, and has no idea this has anything to do with homosexuality (he was blindfolded and had no idea Cartman was pulling that prank).The camp is headed by a Ted Haggard-esque preacher.  Butters’ sees kid after kid committing suicide.  The camp counselor is fuh-lamingly gay, even as he tells the kids Jesus cured him.  Butters’ roomie is a sweet gay kid named Bradley who mutters anti-gay Bible verses to purge indecent thoughts.  All the while, Haggard and counselor keep telling Butters he’s “confused”, which Butters agrees with since he doesn’t know what “bicurious” is!

Toward the end, Butters and Bradley are forced to write Bible verses when Bradley has an “indecent thought” and admits to liking Butters.  Butters says he likes Bradley, too (Butters is a sweet kid who likes everyone, even Cartman.)  This makes roomie freak out and threaten suicide by jumping off a bridge.  The climax pits the preacher, the counselor, the police, and others all trying to convince Bradley to come down.  But he’s convinced; he’s an abomination to the Lord, his wages is death, he’s a sinner, he cannot be fixed… he’s TEH GAY!!!

Alright, that’s the setup.  I brought you this far to give you the closing lines from the show.  Major hat-tip to Stuart Coleman at the blog Daily Irreverence for transcript (I have no TiVo!)

Bradley [hanging off of a bridge]: Stand back! I’m an abomination of God!

Counselor: Don’t do it, we’re fixing you!

Bradley: It’s too late!

Butters: Bradley, don’t!

Counselor: Get back, you’re only making things worse.

Bradley: I’m not normal, I’ll never be normal.

Butters: You’re perfectly normal, Bradley.

Counselor: Get back, you’re just as confused as he is.

Butters: That’s it, I am sick and tired of everyone telling me I’m confused. I wasn’t confused until other people started telling me I was. You know what I think? I think maybe you’re the ones who are confused. I’m not going to be confused anymore just because you say I should be. My name is Butters, I’m eight years old, I’m blood type O, and I’m bicurious. And that’s OK, because if I’m somehow made from God, then I figure that God must be at least a little bicurious himself.

Bradley: I think, I think I’d like to come down.

Counselor: We did it! By the power of Christ we saved him!

It was freakin’ beautiful.  I imagine this hitting so many more eyeballs and ears that would never read a press release from the HRC or GLAAD or ever think about gay rights and the plight of young gay people facing a world that at best wants them invisible and at worst wants them dead.

I’ll let Stuart close.

People wonder why people like me, who aren’t gay, don’t really have any gay friends or family, (hell, I don’t even know anyone who’s gay) fight for their rights. There’s absolutely nothing in it for me personally. Except for the fact that thousands of kids kill themselves because they’re told that their sexual orientation, which is almost always innate and unchangable, is an abomination, is evil, is wrong. They kill themselves.

They Kill Themselves

I don’t think I can possibly emphasize this enough. Because of the stigma, people kill themselves. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine feeling so badly about being attracted to members of the same sex that you kill yourself?

That’s why I will never stop supporting gay rights. Because every single person has the right to be unashamed or themselves, to be unafraid because of who they are, and to pursue their own happiness.

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