Last month at the NY screening of Chasing the Devil in the Ex-Gay Movement, Wayne Besen handed me a copy of his new booklet, Ex-Gay & the Law. On the train ride home I leafed through it and found helpful information, especially for those just learning about ex-gay issues and for those recently out of ex-gay programs.
For years ex-gay survivors, journalists, gay activists and concerned straight citizens have asked, Can’t these programs be taken to court for the harm that they have caused?
“Ex-Gay & the Law helps survivors of ex-gay programs explore their legal rights if they believe they have been harmed,” said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. “This groundbreaking publication offers practical legal advice so important questions can be answered.”
“We are pleased to help support this publication and to be a part of this effort,” said Hayley Gorenberg, Deputy Legal Director of Lambda Legal. “Groups that proclaim to ‘cure’ gay people of their sexual orientation lack any legitimate medical backing, cause harm, and sometimes operate unlawfully and unethically. If you have experienced any of the scenarios outlined in the last pages of ‘Ex-Gay & the Law‘, we welcome you to contact or Legal Help Desk.”
In the section entitled, What’s Wrong? (b), after quoting ex-gay leaders speaking about change and how it does not really include a change in orientation, Wayne writes,
What so-called “ex-gay’ ministries advertise, “Freedom From Homosexuality Through Jesus Christ” is not what clients often report receiving. Many clients say that after “ex-gay” therapy they feel more depressed, anxious or that they were sold false hope.
Wayne suggests that if someone should choose to go into an ex-gay program, “it would be wise to ask your ministry leader or therapist up front what they actually mean when they promise ‘change,’ ‘liberation,’ ‘freedom’ or that you can be ‘ex-gay'”
Download Ex-Gay & The Law pdf
In the past month I have heard from two different men who are considering going into ex-gay programs. They contacted me to learn a little bit in advance of going into their programs about what they might expect. Thank goodness for the Internet that people can have some informed consent about ex-gay programs, especially that they can turned to people who have been there and understand the many reasons why someone would go ex-gay. Back in 1996 when I was prepping to go into the Love in Action program, there was no way to connect with former clients.
We have many more resources, deeper discussions and more information available to us today. It’s great that we have this new resource to add to the growing list.
For those considering going into an ex-gay program, over at Beyond Ex-Gay we asked five people with personal experience regarding these programs, What would you tell someone is they were thinking of attending an ex-gay program? You can read their answers here.