“Ex-gay” Recruiters Target Youth

PlanetOut asked me to write an op-ed piece about what is happening with Zach and LIA.

I write about the young Memphis protesters and the bold move on the part of the religious right to hunt down and subdue queer youth.

They asked me to write a humorous piece, but at first I found NOTHING funny about this story. The second time around I came up with some nice self-deprecating humor.

You can also read it at gay.com.

This post has 11 Comments

  1. Anonymous on July 2, 2005 at 3:23 am

    You have spent the better part of your adult life trying to fight the inevitable, according to what I read. (Here lately that has been ALOT!)

    I guess I don’t understand why so many people are flocking to hear your story in the wake of this Memphis teenager’s fight.

    My question to you. Are you capitalizing on this child’s struggle? Seems like perfect timing to me. Are we to believe that you are a well meaning, ex gay movement ‘survivor’, who just cares so much about this kid? I mean come on. Haven’t you suffered enough? Get off the cross!

    I hope one day this gay teen is able to write HIS own story and is able to enjoy HIS limelight and not ride on the coattails of the latest gay to suffer condemnation and discrimination.

    Give it a rest!

  2. shalom on July 2, 2005 at 6:29 am

    I agree with you. Excellent article. The Right always tries to push its views onto any minority, whether its converting them from one religion to their own, or attempting to force them to change sexuality to their perception of how it should be.

    In response to Anon.:
    This is not at all what I gather from any of the posts I have read here. The reasons I think many, including myself, have flocked to Peterson’s blog and elsewhere is in search of someone who is able to tell their story!

    Zach, at the moment, can’t. Although I would love to hear his story, in the meantime, it helps to hear what others who have the experience of being in such a place have to say. They have the wisdom of experience, that most of us lack.

  3. Willie Hewes on July 2, 2005 at 10:48 am

    Thank you Shalom, that’s what I was going to say.

    And thank you Peterson, excellent article. It’s not a very funny story, is it? I think it’s interesting that in this “debate” (I hesitate to use the word) both sides profess to be on the defensive.

    “Our message that homosexuality is preventable and curable is silenced by the media!”

    “The religious right is putting a lot of money into the ex-gay campaign. We’ve got to try and keep up!”

    Both sides on the defensive; that isn’t a good sign. It’s the sign of a propaganda war. Truth is the first victim.

    So thank you for sharing your story, so we can hear it from someone who has been there, rather than all the armchair expert witnesses who can ultimately only guess at what’s really going on. Thank you for being real.


  4. stevie.be. on July 2, 2005 at 2:08 pm

    congrats on the article, lookin forward to reading it!

  5. Bruce Garrett on July 2, 2005 at 9:01 pm

    I guess I don’t understand why so many people are flocking to hear your story in the wake of this Memphis teenager’s fight.

    He was telling his story before this whole thing blew up. So have others who have been though the ex-gay grinder. And it’s wonderful that they have the self confidence now to do that, because without their stories, all we would know about these groups and how they operate is what their ringleaders, and their model clients say. People are listening to him and to the others, because they were there. It happened to them. Understand?

    And you’re telling him to give it a rest is trivializing what he went though. Tell you what pal…you go through it first yourself…k? Then tell the rest of us just how quickly You were able to give it a rest.

    There is nothing…nothing at all remarkable about someone coming to terms with their past, by turning it into stories and art. Take away works motivated by that need to examine and understand one’s own past from libraries, art galleries and theater, and you’d fairly empty them out. The human race is richer for their stories.

    Bruce Garrett
    Baltimore, Maryland.

  6. Johnny Boy on July 2, 2005 at 11:20 pm

    Wuts up butt pirates?!Man,I seen some of you acting all girly.Ones who hate the girly type.Thug type.Ones who dress like women.Jesus crist I swear to god you guys must be a psycologists nightmare!

    You guys are funny though,I heard a story by a butt horder and I almost died of laughter.

    The dude said he would love to run with a partner on a sunny day through a field of daffodils.LMFAO

    Later butt pirates Arrrrrrrrg!

  7. Anonymous on July 3, 2005 at 1:46 am

    Johnny Boy, get a life.

  8. abbyladybug on July 4, 2005 at 6:56 am

    Someone anonymous has invited you to a flame war. Just decline this invitation to go crazy and move on.

    Never accept an invitation to go crazy, especially if that invitation comes from “Anonymous.”

  9. Jimbo on July 5, 2005 at 2:56 pm

    I recently read a powerful article about another ex-ex-gay (Wade) who had been through Love in Action.

    Thanks to people like Peterson and Wade the truth gets to be heard. Then, hopefully, folk will not be misled into that self-hateful place where they feel the need to attend ministries to try to change their sexuality.

    It is such a relief to hear Godly people say to gay folk “You’re okay”.

  10. Peterson Toscano on July 7, 2005 at 1:14 am

    Jimbo, yeah, Wade is great guy. We actually attended LIA for a few months together. I was about to exit when he came in. This January through a BBC documentary, we met up again in Alabama to talk about the program.

    I find it interesting the different things we remember from the program. Wade reminded me of how we had to stand whenever we received “feedback”. Arms to our sides with direct eye contact, we had to stand stock still without moving. I have since created Vlad, a new character in Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House who is expert at assuming the pose.

    Wade works with an organization called Stand Out Youth and appears in the new documentary Fish Can’t Fly.

  11. Liz Opp on July 10, 2005 at 7:12 pm

    Kudos on the BBC documentary. It looks good and is important work.

    It was great to have a few minutes of one-on-one time with you at the FGC Gathering. Let’s keep in touch about a return visit to the Blacksburg/Roanoke area.

    Well, I have a lot of blog reading to do, now that I’m back home. More later–

    Liz, The Good Raised Up

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