LIA’s Refuge Program Officially Closed

This just in from the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference’s Film Forum. Morgan Fox of the Queer Action Coalition screened an extended trailer of his up coming documentary film that chronicles the 2005 protests of Love in Action’s Refuge program. Refuge was designed for quuer youth under 18, many of whom have been forced to attend by their parents. The protest got sparked when 16 year old Zach Stark blooged about how his parents forced him to attend Refuge’s summer program. That entry created a storm of grass roots youth activism and international media attention.

Tonight Morgan made a very important announcement that he included at the end of his trailer. He met with John SmidM director of LIA and confirmed that the Refuge program had been “disolved” which is a fancy way of saying that it shut down, closed, ended and is no more!

As we watched Morgan’s clips many of us wept. One person in attendance actually attended LIA that summer during the protests but was never able to read what the signs said. The love he saw moved him to tears.

This is HUGE news. Congratulations to the QAC for all their fine and careful activism. As we commemorate the two year anniversary of the 2005 protests, we truly have something to celebrate.

Wiilie Hewes! Bruce Garrett! I know you understand how wonderful this news is.

Thank you Morgan. Even though you could not attend the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference, your film clips and your announcement gave us such hope and joy.

This post has 9 Comments

  1. Liadan on July 1, 2007 at 7:43 am

    I wonder how much was its extreme bad publicity– certainly it had more than its share– and how much was simple lack of participation. Are there any public numbers on how many applicants they received?

  2. Willie Hewes on July 1, 2007 at 8:19 am

    Yes. Yes. Yes.

  3. Ally on July 1, 2007 at 9:49 am

    I’ll be smiling this crazy smile all day…

  4. Anna HP on July 1, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    Gah is your life ever boring? I’ve been out of touch for a while and coming back to your blog, reading about all of theese amazing experiences brings me to tears and occational goosebumps. No wonder you are the person you are ..

  5. Anonymous on July 1, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    I suspect it was the bad publicity, I don’t note that Mr. Smid or other ex-gay leaders are actually decrying ‘boot camp cures’.

  6. Anonymous on July 1, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    Good work!

  7. Bruce Garrett on July 1, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    It =is= great news…provided John isn’t pulling some sort of slight-of-hand here and just folding what is essentially Refuge into some other program of his. But if this is true it’s a great thing for all the gay teens who would otherwise have have to endure it.

    You probably know him better then anyone else posting here…or Morgan too for that matter. So I reckon you’re in a better position then any of us to evaluate this news. I’d really like to know exactly what John said, when he said that refuge was no longer in operation. And…did he give a reason? Hearing his rational for it would be good.

  8. Jacob on July 2, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    Amazing news! Thank God for committed people who showed their compassion and concern! Good Work!

  9. Peterson Toscano on July 2, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    It was much more than simply bad publicity. That had a big role because of the thoughtful and careful demonstrations organized by the QAC. They used the media and the Internet with such skill and grace.

    But there is a lot more that went into it. Lots of behind the scenes discussions, internal decisions and I imagine conflicts. Real change can happen and it often takes many players each taking on a role.

    When folks have come forward and shared their stories about some of what happened at Refuge–the mixing of youth with adult participants, the repressive rules, even the violence some experienced from their parents who insisted they must attend the program.

    Perhaps more of these details will come to light. Some of them we have already discussed previously on this blog. The good news is that Change is Possible. It is in the best interest of young people that they do not go to a program like this, especially when forced to attend. I imagine some folks at LIA and in Exodus, folks who really care about the needs of these young people, have had something to do with this decision too.

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