Many of you know that the Queer Action Coalition (QAC) organized two protests in front of the Love in Action / Refuge compound outside of Memphis, TN. Lance Caroll, a participant who attended the teen program last year, spoke publically about his experience.
The first things I saw at the Love in Action campus were the protesters. I spent the entire summer between my junior and senior year of highschool in Memphis, against my will, at Refuge, where I underwent many forms of “therapy” that were supposed to turn me away from being gay. These so-called “therapies” included group activities where one person was singled out and made to be ashamed of very personal occurrences in their lives. I had to participate in this activity many times. Other “therapies” included isolation, where you wouldn’t be allowed to communicate—we were not even allowed to make eye contact, with any of the other participants; making the women wear skirts and makeup to help them become more feminine; and making the men play sports in an attempt to help them become more masculine.
My good friend, Bob Painter, a former fellow participant who later became a staff member, courageously stepped up and joined the protest. His account of yesterday’s protests beautifully articulates the challenges for someone with both an Evangelical Christian background and same-sex attractions, who can feel a disconnect among queer folks who don’t identify as Christian similar to the isolation felt within the anti-gay conservative Christian church.
Most of the Memphis area news outlets covered the protests. Bob mentions in a comment on the QAC’s site that a woman, Diana, who spoke as a satisfied parent of a child who attended the program has actually worked for the program in the past (and perhaps still does). We welcome Diana as yet another “EX Worker” (kinda like a sex worker) for the Kingdom.
Lance will appear in DC today alongside of Wayne Besen for the official launch of Truth Wins Out.
So many stepping up. Ex-gay survivors, concerned queer folks and of course our straight allies telling their stories changes the world little by little. Thanks for all you do!!!