Premiere of New Film about Ex-Gay Movement

Someone has to make the mockumentary, Not Another Ex-Gay Movie! The film festival circuit is about to be glutted with a rush of ex-gay docs and films. Although I have yet to see it, I hear wonderful things about Jessica Yu’s film Protagonist, which features four very different men who each follow a similar journey. One of the subjects is Mark Pierpoint, a former ex-gay and ex-gay minister.

The newest ex-gay doc to hit the screens is Bill Hussung and Mishara Canino’s Chasing the Devil: Inside the Ex-Gay Movement which premieres March 29th at the Birmingham SHOUT Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.

CHASING THE DEVIL: INSIDE THE EX-GAY MOVEMENT is a feature documentary film presenting an unflinching look at the personal journeys of four people who claim to have changed their sexual orientation from gay to straight. Their stories mark the first time documentary filmmakers have been allowed inside the “ex-gay” movement and provide an empathetic and, at times, devastating portrait of those who claim homosexuality is an illness that can be healed

You will see lots of familiar (overexposed?) faces in the film–Richard Cohen, Joanne Highley, Me. You will also see some new folks who speak about their experiences for the very first time including my father, Pete Toscano. He agreed to sit down with Bill and Mishara to tell his story as the father of someone who was once ex-gay. I was in the other room when they did the interview so as to give him privacy, but he told me afterwards that he shared about the painful and surreal experience of attending Love in Action’s Family and Friends Weekend.

I interviewed my dad once about the experience. He said,

We went to the meeting and had no idea of what we were going into. We met a lot of parents in the same category. Lots of kids had no parents there.

Everything seemed to be on the up and up at first. Yeah, but we found out these things aren’t so. I said to them, “You can’t change a zebra’s stripes.” They didn’t go along with me, and they were very aggravated with me for saying so. Some people go through two colleges and they don’t have common sense. I hate when people keep things locked up.

They made me feel that I failed you. That’s how I felt after they got through with me. That’s how they made all the parents feel.

More and more diverse voices have begun to emerge from the many people who have been negatively affected by ex-gay programs like Love in Action. Former and current spouses of ex-gays or ex-gay survivors, former ex-gay leaders and now parents are speaking out. When each person comes forward and tells their story, we get a fuller picture of the many ways that ex-gay experiences cause more harm than good.

You can read an interview with the film’s producer Bill Hussung here and watch the trailer below.

This post has 10 Comments

  1. Auntie Doris on March 27, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    It has always seemed to me that those people on the periphary of ex-gay stories get lost in the whole trauma of the experiences. I am so pleased to hear more and more stories from these people. You are right in that they add something distinctly unique and different to the jigsaw puzzle, until one day, hopefully, we see the whole picture.

    I think it is tough for parents and spouses, as well as siblings to deal with their own emotions around these processes. I just hope that this culture of increasing honesty will enable them to step out and share their perspectives.

  2. Anonymous on March 27, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    There are two kinds of people:
    Those who trusted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
    Those who will perish.

    The Bible says that “by their fruits you shall know them”.

    Active homosexual behavior is an abomination to God. Those who refuse to repent of it will perish according to the Bible.

    A child of God.

  3. Noa Resare on March 27, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Dear anonymous, from your first paragraph I infer that you subscribe to the doctrine of salvation by faith, as opposed to by deeds. In other words, the determining factor is the trust in Jesus Christ as you state, and not anything else.

    I too, believe this, and I think it sound biblical doctrine. However, in your last paragraph, it seems like you depart from the doctrine you outlined in the first paragraph, and suddenly the determining factor when it comes to salvation is deeds and not faith. Specifically, you seem to view repentance of some specific but undefined behavior as the determining factor.

    The apostle Paul warns about exactly that kind of shift from faith to deeds in for example his epistle to the Galatians.


  4. grace on March 27, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Just be thankful it’s short and to the point. 😉

    One thing I don’t understand is this necessity to be “anonymous” when you have something so bold to proclaim to those with whom you so obvioualy disagree.

  5. grace on March 27, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    Rats! forgot to check for email follow-ups.

    the blogger formerly known as Grace, currently known as Pam, and soon to be known as Peterson’s DVD distribution slave.

  6. Norm! on March 27, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    LOL! I love the title in the YouTube clip: “Gay No More: Cruising the Ex-gay Movement”.

  7. Anonymous on March 27, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    To: Moa

    The difference between salvation by grace and salvations by works should be obvious. There is no good deed or deeds that we can do to earn our way to Heaven. As evidence of our faith we should do good deeds by our new nature.

    People who recognize that they are sinners need to repent and accept Crist by faith. People who refuse to repent are either lost or Christians who need to confess their sins and repent. The unwillingness to call sin sin is the evidence of being lost.

    I accept that Christians can get into sins that become addictions.
    They will feel guilty of their sin because the Holy Spirit will not let them escape the guilt of rebelling against God.

    In 1 Corinthians paul makes it clear that certain sins that continue can keep someone from going to Heaven. He specificly said “of which were some of you”.

    “A child of God’

  8. Auntie Doris on March 27, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    Moa? Whozat then?

    Similar to Crist I should think.

    Auntie Doris
    “child of God”
    “loved by the most-high”

    You pick the title… I’ll answer to most 😉

  9. Noa Resare on March 28, 2008 at 11:11 am


    I’m not sure I follow your argument. It seems like according to your definition of salvation one needs to have a fully correct opinion what is sin and what is not, to be saved. This would lead to a strangely exclusive view on who is saved and who is not, one that is not very biblical. For example, there are a lot of people through our history that would not consider owning other human beings as slaves a sin. Would you dismiss all those people as not saved, because they were “unwilling to call sin sin”?

    The fact of the matter is that I am certain that as long as we live on this earth, all christians will believe things to be sinful that is not, and conversely will not believe things to be sinful which is. If this were to exclude us from salvation, then we are all in trouble.

  10. grace on March 28, 2008 at 12:23 pm


    Ok. We get it. You believe with all that’s within you that gays/homosexuals are going to hell and you obviously feel it’s part of your obligation as a Christian to drop by their blogs and let them know.

    That’s fine. You can do that.

    It’s still a very different approach than Jesus, dying on a cross for an unrepentant world and then calling out in one of his last breaths for his father to forgive his killers because they don’t comprehend what they are doing.

    Starkly different, in fact. In fact, we don’t have any record of Jesus haphazardly blowing into people’s living rooms (or the wells where they collect water), condemning them, and blasting away. He formed relationship, he loved, he cared. He was honest, yet he did it in such a way that they would go away HAPPY to have talked with him.

    He did blow into places where there were “church” folk and he’d make lots of fuss and blow out….he was most harsh with those who proclaimed to know the truth and yet lived it out in a way completely contrary to the tenants of God’s kingdom.

    He preached about sin and he condemned sin when he preached. But when he walked up to the woman at the well, he got to know her, he offered her sustenance….and you know…he never DID condemn her.

    I’m not sure what book you’re reading to gain your “strategies” for reaching those you believe to be lost….but it doesn’t sound like it’s the Bible.

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