This story appeared on Australian’s ABC radio program The World Today. Like most mainstream news they have some of the details wrong. The ex-gay movement is not just about trying to turn people straight. It is about reinforcing an anti-gay message that we find in the church and in much of society. In a large part it teaches that only the heterosexuals can be holy since, as they announce over and over again the very opposite of homosexuality is holiness.
Those of us who have been in it know well enough how the message works. According to the report, ex-gay ministries may be coming into Australia like a foreign invasive species.
The United States’ controversial “ex-gay” movement has its eye on Australia.
Ex-gays are homosexuals who say they’ve been “cured” or turned straight. They’ve been in conversion courses across the United States which work to reorient sexuality, mostly from a Christian perspective.
The ex-gays now want to get their message into schools and into other countries,
as North America Correspondent, Mark Simkin reports from Memphis, Tennessee.
The reporter, Mark Simikin, goes on to interview Brandon Tidwell, an ex-gay survivor who recently shared his story in front of Love in Action.
Brandon Tidwell spent three months and $10,000 at Love In Action, trying to get straightened out. It didn’t work.
BRANDON TIDWELL: I didn’t get to talk to my parents or my family members for six weeks after entering the program – couldn’t make a call, no email none of that.
MARK SIMKIN: Clients have to report any fantasies to their counsellors, personal belongings are routinely searched. The rulebook is extraordinary.
BRANDON TIDWELL: Men must remove all facial hair seven days a week and sideburns must not fall below the top of the ear.
Women must shave legs and underarms at least twice weekly.
The clients may not wear Abercrombie and Fitch or Calvin Kline brand clothing, underwear or accessories.
No television viewing, going to movies…
You can read the transcript or listen to the audio here.
Ex-gay ministries in Australia is nothing new. This radio report comes on the heels of the apology of three former ex-gay leaders from Australia and then an announcement that two others have shifted their perspective. Perhaps this is a way to replenish the flagging leadership. Time to restock in Europe as the major ex-gay program, Courage UK folded some years ago.