Category: focus on the family

Vice Presidental Contender & the Ex-Gay Treatment

It’s been on the blogs all weekend, and now the Associated Press also reports that Sarah Palin, the Republican vice president nominee, attends a church that promotes ex-gay ministries, namely Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out day-long conference that tries to convince parents and pastors that God can “transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality.” What they don’t mention is the kind of transformation that will take place.

Those of us who are former consumers of Focus on the Family/Exodus/NARTH ex-gay theories and practices can attest to the transformations that we experienced as a result of our time in ex-gay programs. The vast majority of people who attempted to sublimate their sexuality did not find a cure, instead we experienced a curse that affected us psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, developmentally, physically and relationally. In the article Ex-Gay Harm Let Me Count the Ways I highlight some of these and also offer testimony of those who have experienced these things.

Sadly many of the ex-gay theories and treatments also negatively affected our relationships with our parents. I don’t doubt that many parents and even pastors go to a Love Won Out event looking for answers as they fear for the welfare of the young people under their care. These adults still live with misconceptions of what it means to be lesbian, gay or bisexual. Instead of getting honest answers though, the speakers at Love Won Out dish out more misinformation. You can hear a first-hand account of what happens at Love Won Out from Jim Burroway who sat through the conference and thoughtfully shares his experience. In the article, Can My Gay Child Change? I raise some of the questions and fears that parents may have as I outline the negative effects that often occur when forcing a child to attend an ex-gay program.

In February ex-gay survivors, those of us who endured these theories and treatments and have worked past the damage to reclaim our lives, traveled to Memphis and stood outside of Love Won Out as a witness to the potential harm that can come from these misguided teachings. We even gave Focus on the Family staff member Melissa Fryrear framed collages of our experiences so that she could hear the other side of the story and consider the majority of people who end up on the other side of they happy clappy ex-gay experience they project on the big screens at Love Won Out.

Perhaps Sarah Palin is woefully ignorant of the potential damage that comes from ex-gay theories and treatments. Maybe it is just because of partisan politics that she comes out against LGBT rights (no matter how the McCain spin wagon tries to paint her as sympathetic), but people are more important than politics. Religious leaders need to reject the propaganda of James Dobson and instead provide intelligent and informed pastoral care. In regards to ex-gay theories and treatments, we see a growing body of evidence that they cause much more harm than good. For those people who clamor for national security, consider the security and welfare of the LGBT youth of this country and oppose ex-gay theories and treatment.

Ex-Gay Survivor Jacob Wilson Speaks Out

In the summer of 2005 the ex-gay program Love in Action made national headlines after accepting Zach, a 16 year old gay boy into their Refuge program. Before he went into the program, Zach called out for help on his blog. Concerned citizens and friends of the young man took a stand and each day shared their message of love and acceptance through signs, blog posts, interviews and social networking on MySpace.

Jacob Wilson was a 19 year old client in Love in Action’s adult program that summer. Back then Exodus programs did not have a prohibition to mix minors and adults together in their program, so Jacob sat in session with all the participants in both Love in Action’s programs. He didn’t have any real idea what was happening outside the building until he saw the trailer of Morgan Fox’s film that we screened at the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference this past summer.

Wendi Thomas of the Memphis Commercial Appeal interviewed Jacob for an article that appeared in yesterday’s edition.

Zach’s supporters protested outside of LIA, but Wilson says the men and women inside were told not to make eye contact with the protesters and not to read their signs.

After Wilson left LIA, he found out what the protesters had wanted him to know.

“These people weren’t doing it to be activists, they were doing it to show that we weren’t alone, that we were loved … It crushes me that that message was cut from us.”

That message of love — an affirming, inclusive love — will get another airing next weekend, at the same time that conservative Christian heavyweight Focus on the Family will hold its de-gaying “Love Won Out” conference at Central Church.

Jacob will come to Memphis this weekend to tell more of his story. He will also lead a round table discussion for folks 25 and under during the Beyond Ex-Gay Mid-South Regional Gathering. Find out what happened to Jacob that summer and learn how you can help your friends when they feel coerced or compelled to attend an ex-gay program.

Read more of Wendi Thomas’ article here. For more information about the weekend’s activities, visit Beyond Ex-Gay. See Daniel Gonzales’ video promo for the weekend here.

New Video about Gays and Ex-gays

Jim Burroway and Daniel Gonzales over at Box Turtle Bulletin posted two new videos about the Focus on the Family Love Won Out Conference and specifically messages by ex-gays Mike Haley and Alan Chambers.

Mike Haley–The Hope for Marriage

Alan Chambers–I Live a Life of Denial

If you are in the mood for some fabulous logic (with a sprinkling of sparkling humor) around gay sex, “the gay lifestyle” and so many of the arguments that anti-gay people throw up about queer folks, check out John Corvino‘s newly released extended trailer of the DVD What’s Morally Wrong with Homosexuality.

And the following video is a fun and subversive view of the terrifying heterosexual disease that infects good wholesome American queer families. Remember anyone, anyone can be a heterosexual. It’s but so sad too.
Shame No More directed by John Krokidas.