Last night a crowd gathered at the Lesbian & Gay Community Center of Charlotte (North Carolina) to hear Wayne Besen, founder of Truth Wins Out, speak about the misinformation too often passed as truth and fact by those who promote and provide various forms of ex-gay treatment and practices designed to eradicate gayness in a person’s life.
Wayne was brought to Charlotte by local groups to help in their efforts to counter the potentially harmful message of Focus on the Family and its Love One Out traveling show which rolls into Charlotte tomorrow. Many concerned parents come to these events looking for light and answers and sadly walk away misinformed and frightened. You can read Jim Burroway’s thoughtful eyewitness account of Love Won Out to find out some of what happens and what is said.
You can learn more about this weekend’s events in Charlotte at Charlotte Rainbow Action Network for Equality.
If you have not done so yet, please read Christine Bakke’s beautifully written post Dreams of a Daughter, a response to an article her mother posted at PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays). In it Christine models how to speak clearly and compassionately to the misinformation and religious confusion that influence some parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender sons and daugthers.
Over in Italy, protests have been going on over Luca Was Gay, a song that promotes gay conversion and will be performed by Italian singer/songwriter Pova tomorrow at the Sanremo music festival. In a society that staunchly adheres to heterosexist norms (marriage, children, masculinity for men, etc,) the song reeks of misinformation and ex-gay propaganda. Here are some of the lyrics.
“Luca once was gay but he’s with her today. When Luca talks, he holds his heart in his hand. Luca says: Today I am a different man.
“Today I’m a different man, but back then I needed answers. I was so ashamed, so I did my looking in secret. There were people who told me, “It’s natural,” but I studied Freud and I knew he didn’t see it that way.
“I got through high school, still not knowing what happiness was. An older man made my heart race and that’s when I realised I was homosexual.
“With him, I didn’t hold back. He gave me lots of attention, and I thought it was love. Sure, I could be myself, but then the sex became a competition.
“I felt like I was the guilty one. I figured they’d catch him sooner or later, but I could make the truth disappear so he wouldn’t get in trouble.
“I was looking for my father in all those men. I went with them so as not to betray my mother.”
Campaigners in Italy have stepped up to not only denounce the song, but to speak to how healthy and normal it is to be gay. The Pink News reports,
Activist Aurelio Mancuso, president of Arcigay, believes that Luca Was Gay refers to Luca Tolve, who says he was “cured” of his homosexuality at the hands of controversial Catholic American psychologist Joseph Nicolosi.
“We want to affirm the dignity of gay, lesbian and bisexual people in Italy, with the intention of involving citizens, singing and dancing together and above all speaking about our feelings,”
Rita De Santis, President of the Association of Parents of Homosexuals, said:
“For me it is a great treasure to have a gay person in the family. Parents of all ages have joined because they believe that there should be a bulwark between them and their sons and daughters.”
The coalition of gay groups have invited all the singers of the Festival to participate with them in the demonstration on Saturday.
“It will be nice to see all gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, straight, women and men from all over Italy, to reiterate that true love knows no boundaries and are not intimidated by darkness of religious and political fanaticism.”
As a result of all the attention this song and the protests have raised, the ex-gay movement and ex-gay theories and treatments are in much of the Italian media this week. Today I sat for an interview that will run on Sunday morning 11:00 am (Italian time) on the Radio Poplare station. If you want to bone up on your Italian, have a listen (Joe G?).
Roberto Festa asked many questions about my time as an ex-gay, why I pursued such a course, the outcomes and how I emerged from 17 years of trying to pursue some sort of change. We also talked about my parents and the often devastating affects ex-gay theories that often put the blame on parents, can have on the family and parents in particular.
You can learn more about the Ex-Gay Survivor Movement and stories of those negatively affected by ex-gay treatment over at Beyond Ex-Gay. To see video about my own experiences at Love in Action with topics about parents, movies, holidays and sex in ex-gay programs, check out my YouTube channel.