The Advocate magazine published long article about ex-gays and ex-gay survivors and the changing landscape of the ex-gay movement. They quote quite a lot of people including Christine Bakke and me. (They often overlook the lesbians, so I am so glad they gave her plenty of space to share).
For more than a year, the website BeyondExGay.com has been a virtual gathering point for ex-gay survivors, many of whom now picket ex-gay ministries events and conferences and attempt to share their stories with attendees. Beyond Ex-Gay also holds conferences of its own. “Our primary goal is being a support group for ex-gay survivors,” says Toscano. Like Christine Bakke, who runs the group with him, he attended ex-gay ministries for years before finally accepting his gayness. “Our secondary goal,” Toscano adds, “is to talk about the harm of reparative therapy” — therapy meant to de-gay you –“in ex-gay ministries.”
The reporter, Tim Murphy, spent time getting to know the subjects of the piece and took a humanist approach to each one. In his conclusion he admitted an affinity for John Smid, who recently resigned as director of Love in Action.
I laid down my reporter’s notebook (metaphorically — we were on the phone). Smid was funny and thoughtful and affable. I told him that I’d like to be his friend, that as a comfortable, happy gay man raised Catholic but now more inclined toward a broadly spiritual liberal humanism, I’d like to meet for coffee and discuss these issues more. And I said I truly had no interest in changing him. Could he say the same thing?
Some people find it hard to believe, but many ex-gay leaders can be charming, interesting and fun people. But hey, most are gay after all.
It is a long piece that helps to flesh out some of the events over the past year.
The Believers— Making Peace With Those Who Tried to “Cure” Them
If you want to see the LOGO Be Real program on-line with wonderful footage from the Memphis bXg event and more of Christine, my own dad, and John Holm, another ex-gay survivor, click here.
On a personal note, I finished a few days with the delightful John Henson in Wales and have moved in with Auntie Doris for a few days in London before heading off to Oxford. Purrrrrfect weather–so sunny and clear.