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Posts Tagged ‘exodus’

My friend Tania in the UK posted a link on my Facebook page about PFOX, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays, and their insistence that ex-gay materials should be placed in public libraries.

According to the local NBC affiliate,

A Chicago-based group called Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays is urging libraries to carry literature about reformed homosexuals.

The national non-profit organization is arguing that the alleged successes of their “gay reversal” movement are not being heard because libraries refuse to carry their books, such as You Don’t Have to Be Gay and A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality.

One has to wonder just what genre those books would fall under, exactly.

I am sure folks can think of a bunch of snarky responses. Acutally It doesn’t fit under any genre and the answer to the “debate” is a no-brainer. These books do not belong in public libraries. We are not talking about a political issue, although PFOX my be politically motivated in part. The ex-gay movement in the form of Exodus and groups like PFOX has inserted itself into various political causes including opposing employment non-discrimination measures in the US and UK as well has fighting against hate crime legislation that would include protections of individuals based on orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Such protections actually would benefit ex-gays who are gender non-conforming or who get harassed for being something other than purely heterosexual.

No, this is not about politics. It is about public health and safety. Those of us who consumed these books for years and bought into the ex-gay theories have suffered much harm. Our families have suffered harm. The damaging results include psychological, emotional and spiritual harm. We have suffered in our personal development, relationships and even in our career paths as we have diverted our lives to please family and friends who love us unconditionally, well except for one condition–we can’t be queer. For many of us we needed years to recover from the “cure.” No child or adult need to be exposed to these dodgy and dangerous teachings.

The APA just issued a LONG report about reparative therapy stating that it doesn’t work and most likely causes harm.

You can read more about the harm of ex-gay theories and treatments and read first-hand accounts of ex-gay survivors over at Beyond Ex-Gay. PFOX, which has very few actual ex-gay gays in its organization, should really rename itself Disgruntled Parents of Happy, Well-Adjusted Gays & Lesbians.

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When someone attempts to “de-gay” themselves, they can try all sorts of methods. Since it is an unregulated business, most ex-gay programs use a variety of techniques in hopes of straitening out homosexuals. Some of these “treatments” have to do with sex, but typically they touch on other issues as program leaders attempt to sort out clients’ gender and relationships with their parents and in some cases they even try to cast out gay demons.

Megan Stewart
recently commented about gender and in particular masculinity in response to my blog post A Dungeon of Biblical Proportions or an Ex-Gay Program?

In recent years, I’ve noticed an almost worshipful attitude toward masculinity in the church, that marginalizes women in some of the same ways as gay men. Who would believe that in a first world nation a woman of Sarah Palin’s stature would have witches cast out of her by her minister?

But nobody’s questioned whether making an idol out of masculine heterosexuality might be problematic, because most of the people behind the pulpit are straight men, or want people to think they are.

Steven Fales, a fellow performance artist, and I appeared on the Trya Banks Show to share some of our experiences in the Ex-Gay Movement. I remember how horrified I felt when we were on stage with Tyra and they rolled the clip they created based on interviews they conducted the day before. Seeing the crazy things we did to try to become straight hit me hard (as you might notice when they first pan the camera on me and Steven right after they show the clip.) As Steven says, this is crazy making stuff.

I truly believed I would be more valuable to God and the world if I were not gay. The crazy part is that there was always another minister, counselor, therapist, deliverance team more than willing to work their magic on me. Bottom line: Gay Reparative Therapy does not work–no one actually changes from gay to straight. They only change how they identify themselves and they behave (no longer having gay sex and some attempting heterosexual sex and coupling with varying degrees of success and failure). Gay Reparative Therapy is unnecessary and in most cases causes actual harm. Check out Beyond Ex-Gay to read narratives and articles about the harm.

And check out Tyra in action as she dabbles in the ex-gay waters.

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Lots of people want to know about my time in the Love in Action Homo No Mo Halfway House. Just today I spoke to a journalist who had lots of questions about the program, the “treatments”, rules, etc. Recently for a Pink News article I shared in detail about some of what happens behind the doors of one of these ex-gay camps.

One question I do not often get, but perhaps is as important or more important is What does it feel like to be in an ex-gay residential program? Ah, well, so many feelings, a true roller coaster of feeling. In the following video I juxtapose the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat (performed by fellow Love in Action alum Bob Painter) with how it feels to be in the Homo No Mo Halfway House.

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Joe Moderate reports that Mark Yarhouse, the c0-creator of a controversial and widely debunked study on ex-gays, has begun work in his new creation.

Regent University professor Mark Yarhouse, co-author of the recent Intervarsity book Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation, is apparently conducting a study of mixed-orientation marriages.

Considering how the subjects in Yarhouse’s last study were handpicked (although he was not able to find nearly as many ex-gays as he had originally hoped) Joe sends out a call for involvement with the hope to balance out the study from a cross section of society,

My hope is that, if the response to this study’s call for participants is sufficiently broad and sufficiently diverse, the study may return more representative (and hence more useful) results.

If you presently are or have ever been married to a person with an orientation different from your own, I encourage you to participate in this study. Participation is anonymous and involves completing an online survey (see the study website for more information).

In other research news, I received an e-mail from a grad student doing some interesting research into the ex-gay world. This grad student is specifically interested in meeting any of the protesters who are in IL this week in response to the Exodus International annual conference.

Seeking interviews with those who want to protest Exodus International!

Greetings!!  I’m a grad student doing my thesis on the tensions between the religious community and the LGBT community.  My ultimate goal is to try to comprehend the issues contributing to the tension in an effort to promote understanding.  It is my belief that organizations such as Exodus contribute to some of the misperceptions that fuel the misunderstanding between these two communities.

I will be in town for part of the Exodus conference in Wheaton, IL and I understand that there will be protests tonight at the opening session. I’m flying in too late to be at the protest, however, I’m extremely interested in interviewing anyone the area that will be or wants to be protesting Exodus. As an ex-ex-gay myself, I realize the dire importance of adding these voices of protest into my research! As ex-ex-gays we have walked in a world that seems completely unreal to those who have not.

So, if you are in the Wheaton area (LGBT, ex-ex-gay, or LGBT ally)—especially if you are protesting Exodus, I’d love to be in touch with you and schedule an interview while I’m in town!  You can email me for more information at rightwingdropout@gmail.com . My name is concealed here for the purpose of gaining anonymous admission to the conference!!

I look forward to meeting you!!

peace,

Right Wing Dropout

Finally,  I’ve felt really inspired by the story of a 17 year old guy who just completed a solo sailing trip around the world. I first heard about the story in an ESPN article and marveled at Zac Sunderland’s courage, particularly in the face of genuine dangers and disappointments.

Throughout the yearlong journey—on a 36-foot sailboat he bought with his own money—the 17-year old braved pirates off the coast of Indonesia, severe storms, loneliness, and exhaustion.

Read about it at The Daily Beast (my favorite one stop shop for news)

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According to Monty Python we should beware the Ides of March (aka March 15). For some this will be a momentous day, one they may live to regret.   Today I consider ex-gays, particularly four individuals who begin the Love in Action (LIA) ex-gay treatment program called The Source. Some will be in for 28 days while others have signed up for the whole three months. I learned of the plight of these four from someone with inside information.

On their website Love in Action makes it sound like The Source will provide a place where people come to release shame and grow spiritually. From my own experience at LIA, and that of most of the dozens of other men and women I personally know who also attended this program, we experienced the exact opposite–an increase in shame and a spiritual crisis, in some cases leading to the loss of faith.

Although some people turn to programs like Love in Action for assistance dealing with compulsive sexual behavior, many of us actually learned more about where to find sex in unexpected public places after hearing other participants spill some of their own stories. In suppressing and demonizing our desires, many of us reinforced the  deep shame we felt, which caused some of us to do harm to ourselves.

The heart of LIA’s message is that it is wrong, abnormal, sinful to be gay. This is the message we heard loud and clear in so many ways from the many many stringent and invasive rules to the disturbing Family and Friends Weekend. (For over a yearenior leadership at Exodus, which oversees LIA, have been aware of the bizarre and unethical nature of the Family and Friends weekend yet have done nothing to address the situation.)

After spending a tremendous amount of time and money and energy while also leaving key relationships and careers and homes, most people who have attended the LIA program came to the conclusion that it is fine to be gay, a healthy expression of one’s self. Joy, self-control, love and peace came with understanding ourselves and accepting how we are wired. Being gay or lesbian or bisexual is simply a part of the wonderful design of what makes us who we are. Once we apprehended this truth, then were able to better assess how to live our lives from there with integrity and openness.

Mark

Mark

As I think of these four who enter the LIA program, I want to highlight the experience of  one man who spent time trying to straighten himself out, but instead found a better way. Mark just posted his narrative over at the Beyond Ex-Gay website. He writes,

I was involved with an Exodus-affiliated ministry for about three years in the late 80s. Compared to many ex-ex-gays, my tenure was brief. But the effects, some positive, some negative, have been lasting.

Mark honestly relates how at first going to Exodus conferences and programs actually seemed to make his life better, but over time, he experienced more and more negative affects of the treatment.

I had become so adept at jamming down my sexual feelings that I was becoming numb. And this lack of interest in any kind of sex scared me more than the monotony of my monastic existence. I knew that it wasn’t normal for a 22 year-old guy to have no sexual desires. This alone was enough to scare me away from Exodus.

Mark reveals both the good and the bad with his time in Exodus,

My three years in Exodus were ultimately a failure in the sense that I didn’t become a heterosexual or develop even a trace of attraction for the opposite sex.

But Exodus did produce some positive results in my life. I embraced its clean-living lifestyle at a time when I had developed a lot of bad habits. I met a lot of interesting people and got to travel to places I hadn’t been before. I learned how to organize my life, to be proactive and to not simply react all the time.

But there was also damage done. I don’t think Exodus or its practices can make a gay person straight. But the practices can make a gay person feel nothing, which is what I experienced. Exodus managed to take all of the joy out of my sexuality and it’s taken years to get the joy back. But happily, I’ve been in a fairly healthy 12-year relationship with a special guy. Sexuality is a gift to be treasured.

You can read his complete narrative here. Click here to see other Beyond Ex-Gay narratives.

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Cross posted and updated from Pam’s House Blend.

Autumn Sandeen writes here at Pam’s House Blend about the TransAction Day in US schools and the uninformed responses by folks like Randy Thomas at Exodus International, an ex-gay organization.

Randy writes,

We have to be completely vigilant about what our children are being taught in schools. Parents need to pay attention and raise concerns with their school districts as well as teach their children healthy, biblical role-modeling of their gender.

Gender is not a social construct. It’s a biological fact. We have men and women and that’s been the case since the beginning of Creation.

Apparently Randy doesn’t know his Bible very well, that or he needs to adjust the lenses he uses. In both the Hebrew and the Christian scriptures we see examples of many gender variant individuals who proved to be the most important people in the most important stories. Some of these were even surgically-altered, gender-variant people.

The whole book of Esther would fall apart without the role of the eunuchs. These are male-bodied people who were castrated before puberty. The result?  They would have often presented out of the gender binary all together–they looked and sounded differently from most of the men and the women around them. As a result, they filled roles not inhabited by other male bodied people.

One of the first converts to Christianity was a black male-bodied gender variant treasurer from Africa–the Ethiopian Eunuch found in the Book of Acts.

Even beyond the many eunuchs in the Bible and even Jesus’ positive reference to eunuchs in Matthew 19, we can discover many other Bible characters who transgress and transcend gender.

Transgressing Gender in the Bible

Transgressing Gender in the Bible

I found so many gender variant Bible characters in fact, that I wrote a whole play about them.  Transfigurations–Transgressing Gender in the Bible, has helped adjust the lenses of some folks stuck with the inaccurate gender-normative settings.

I attended a workshop with Peterson in which he announced that he was doing a show on the transgender people in the Bible. “You all know who those are, don’t you?” I thought to myself, “Hey, I’m a biblical scholar, and I don’t know any transgender folks in the Bible!” Now I know! I applaud Peterson for bringing to the fore in this play a new way of looking at the Bible! I had to look at my own sexual stereotypes and how I bring them to biblical interpretation!

-Michael Willett Newheart, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Howard University School of Divinity

Like Dr. Newheart and Randy Thomas and others I too overlooked and discounted the possibility of gender variant people in the Bible.  We get programmed to look at the world in a certain way that gets reinforced daily, institutionalized, spiritualized and made into doctrine.

A big part of my ex-gay treatment had to do with gender and driving out the feminine aspects of my presentation, interests and roles that I took. These were based on the stereotypes in the white Evangelical church of what a man was supposed to act and dress and sit and play and interact. It was part of the straight jacket they gave me to wrap around myself.

But in looking for gender role models, I love the thought of Hegai the eunuch in the Esther story. Not male, not female, someone in the middle or all together different. He had a high voice, a softer less muscular body than the other male bodied people in the court. He didn’t have the facial hair or body hair that most men would have had. He got to hang out in the women’s quarters. He even served as a health and beauty consultant and even suggested what Esther should take into the King’s private chamber for her big audition to be queen. Read it for yourself, it is all there in the Book of Esther.

Biblically and biologically speaking we see much evidence for gender variance and a gender spectrum in humans. No two men are alike. No two women are alike. Gender expression is complex, varied and beautiful much like all of the natural world around us.

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UPDATE: read a sensational blog entry of a woman who had a long and amazing journey to become herself. Blessings, Contrasts and Christianity by Zoe Brain.

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As I have traveled and told of my sordid ex-gay past (years trying to “de-gay” myself) and how it turned out to be ineffectual, unnecessary and even damaging, the polite question many have asked is, Why did you do it? I recently answered that question in the video, Reasons I Went Ex-Gay.

Inevitably someone finally asks the burning question, “So, like, in these programs did you guys hook up?” Ah, a question I can really sink my teeth into. Is there sex in ex-gay programs?

I cannot speak for all ex-gays or former ex-gays. There are many different types of programs and access that participants in these programs have to each other varies. Several people who have attended the Exodus International annual conference confessed to me that for some, in addition to the praise and worship, seminars on masturbation, and the convoluted chats about change, there was an awful lot of rolling around in the hay.

Some people come to ex-gay programs sexually naive. They never had sex in their lives and have little idea where they would even procure gay sex. That is until they walk into an ex-gay program where day after day they hear people talk about gay sex–what’s it like, where to get it, how good it felt during the act, how icky one might feel afterward (particularly if that one gets in trouble for it.)

I know of at least two guys from my Love in Action days who came into the program virgins and successfully graduated many months later armed with so much information about cruising spots and anonymous sex protocol that once they left off being ex-gay, they plunged into a gay sex fest that lasted months if not years.

They learned their lessons well. Sadly those lessons insisted that gay men were driven by dysfunctional, sinful, compulsive desires and lesbians had a penchant for unhealthy emotionally enmeshed relationships. It takes years to detox from that misinformation.

In this video I answer the question many have have asked as I talk about SEX as an ex-gay.

Want to experience more bizarre rules, church hookups and the dangers of bananas in an ex-gay program? Get the Homo No Mo DVD!

Also take a look at Carol Boltz’ recent post Ex-Gay Therapy–They Make you Straight Enough to Sleep with a Woman, Long Enough to Break Her Heart.

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Politically Motivated Ex-Gays

Over at Ex-Gay Watch, Emily K wrote a post entitled Exodus Should Come Out of the Political Closet. In it Emily K raises the essential question,

If Exodus is so adamant about freedom of choice – freedom to live the way one wants to live – then why are they so determined to make life more difficult for sexually honest gays?

Reading her post, I began to reflect on my own anti-gay feelings and actions when I identified as ex-gay.

At age 17 I elected to leave the Roman Catholic Church and began attending a Fundamentalist Bible Church. The spiritual conversion I had experienced in the privacy of my home quickly turned into a full-blown cultural conversion that affected the music I enjoyed, my daily activities AND my politics. In the early 1980’s I learned that to be a good Christian I needed to support Ronald Reagan, oppose abortion and adhere to the teachings of the politically active Moral Majority.

One principle seemed to override much of the covert political actions we did through our jobs, at school, and wherever our feet touched ground, a principle that gave us license as Christians to operate with duplicity. We took the words of Jesus, “Be wise as serpents and gentle as doves” to mean that in advancing the Kingdom of God, we could employ any means necessary. We didn’t have to be honest with “people in the world” (ie non-Christians or the wrong kind of Christians) as we had a higher calling allowing the end results to justify the means we took to realize our goals.

We also operated under fear. If we didn’t overturn abortion laws, if LGBT people received more rights and opportunities, if we did not wholeheartedly support the Israeli government’s expansion into Palestinian territories and other parts of the region, God would judge our nation, and we would suffer. We functioned as warriors for Jesus and the church, reclaiming lost ground, taking advantage of every opportunity we had to advance the agenda laid out for us by Jerry Falwell, James Dobson and others.

From my personal experience, I did not operate out of love or truth or justice, rather fear motivated my actions. Fear is toxic to the brain, causing neural pathways to shut down, keeping us from thinking rationally.

I also felt motivated by hate–mostly self-hatred. I hated homosexuality IN me. Therefore, I felt a strong revulsion and opposition to it anywhere I saw it or sensed it. As an ex-gay, I went to war against myself and my sexuality. With a war raging inside of me, I projected that war outwardly as a personal jihad against anything gay. Laws protecting LGBT people and granting them rights threatened my own personal battle to eradicate gayness in me. If I could not be gay, if it was bad for me, I assumed and asserted it was bad for everyone else.

As I opposed gayness (in me and all around me) I received affirmation and even respect from the straight men that I desperately wanted to please. The more I hated myself for being gay and strove to destroy my gay orientation, the more praise and attention I received from straight church leaders. When as a “former homosexual” I spoke out against gay rights, I gave these straight folks permission to maintain their heterosexual superiority over non-straights.

I had no peace within in regards to my sexuality. As a result, I stirred up trouble for others who frustrated and threatened me with the peace and comfort that they exuded.

I do not pretend to know what motivates the political anti-gay actions of Alan Chambers, Randy Thomas and other men with gay attractions who seek to change and suppress these in themselves. I know that for me I could not assent to “Peace on Earth and Good will toward ALL” until I found peace within and extended good will towards myself.

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This week the Times of London’s Lucy Bannerman (along with Ruth Gledhill) contributed to a two-page spread that looks segments of the Ex-Gay Movement in the US and the UK. Bannerman traveled to North Carolina earlier this year for the Exodus (ex-gay) Conference, and in a piece, entitled The camp that ‘cures’ homosexuals, writes at length about what she experienced both at the daily sessions and through a relationship with her roommate.

She also interviewed Jeremy Marks, a former Exodus leader in the UK, who has since apologized for promoting and providing ex-gay treatment.

This month, Save Me, a small-budget fictional film about an ex-gay ministry, opens at cinemas in America. “I tried not to portray its leaders as two-dimensional monsters,” explains the director, Robert Cary. “Many genuinely believe that they are helping people to live good lives. But they believe that you’re born with your religion and choose your sexuality, when that is the opposite of the truth.”

One ex-gay leader who has come to the same conclusion is Jeremy Marks. A mild-mannered 56-year-old from Surrey, he pioneered one of the first ex-gay networks in the UK. But after ten years, the attempted suicide of a former resident led him to question the value of SSA therapy. He found that, rather than helping people, it led to depression and dysfunctional behaviour. “They stopped going to church, stopped going to work,” he recalls. “The only ones who appeared to be doing well were those who accepted that they were gay and got on with their lives.” Marks is now openly gay and runs Courage, a support group for gay Christians.

Jeremy helps put things into prospective and helps explain why the Ex-Gay Movement has gotten so much traction in a decidedly anti-gay conservative church,

“Really, what the ex-gay movement is all about is salving the conscience of the Christian leaders who don’t like to be accused of homophobia,” he says. “That way they can say ‘we don’t hate gays – look how we are welcoming them’.”

Bannerman contacted me earlier this summer since some of the ex-gay treatment I received happened in the UK. I described how in the UK ex-gay theories and treatment often get spread off the radar through Evangelical/Charismatic churches and Christian therapists.

“It is a far more subtle seduction over here,” he says. Toscano claims that therapists in Britain – who he says tried to exorcise his gay demons in Kidderminster, in the West Midlands – nearly drove him to suicide. “There is no question about that. I became severely depressed and contemplated suicide on several occasions,” he says.

Toscano, who now runs the Beyond Ex-Gay support group, believes that, far from being living proof of being a changed man, Alan Chambers is simply promoting celibacy by stealth.

“You walk out on this cloud of ex-gay glory,” says Toscano, “but you end up intimate with no one, becoming more and more isolated until it’s just you alone on this little ex-gay island … so many people are hurting and living this half-life.”

Ah, yes, how long I lived a half-life. I know there are a handful of men currently in the ex-gay movement who proclaim how content they feel in the no-longer-gay life they strive to maintain. The loudest spokesmen appear at Exodus and Focus on the Family events and show up at some church events. Perhaps they have genuinely found a healthy way to live that for them brings them happiness; the burden of proof remains to be seen in the long haul. For 17 years I also desperately tried to walk a straight and narrow path.  I believed I would see the fruits of the Spirit.

Sadly, like most of the other folks I have met during my ex-gay and now post ex-gay journey, we recognize that those ex-gay years produced a bitter harvest for us yielding doubt, shame and depression along with ruined relationships, and calamitous strains on our finances, career advancement, personal development and spirituality. We have since worked hard to undo the damage and have begun to live thriving lives as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Not only have I found that it is okay to be gay, I have moved far beyond “okay” to discover deep joy and peace in living as a gay man. For me it’s GREAT to be gay.  I live in the light without secrets, without striving to fit into man’s plan for my life (gussied up to look like God’s plan.) I experience the fruit of the Spirit in a way I always desired. (And Jesus did declare that you will know them by their fruits.)

This week I received an e-mail from a fellow ex-gay survivor, an Englishman I really respect. We initially met through the Gay Christian Network, and then hung out together at the wonderful Greenbelt Festival in England in 2006 and 2007. In conversations we discovered how our paths crossed on the ex-gay highway. He recently watched the DVD of my play, Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House–How I Survived the Ex-Gay Movement! and wanted to share some of his thoughts about how he sees things have improved for LGB folks in the UK.

I’d seen you do big chunks of the play before, but it was good to see it all again in one sitting, and it still packed a punch. Well done, and thanks again for putting it out there.

I feel that society here in the UK has moved on so much the last few years in acceptance of gay people, and I think that is only partly coloured by my own growth in confidence – coming out over the past four years or so. But then I’m no longer in a conservative church. A number of churches seem to be more accepting of gay folk, and Greenbelt this year was accepting in an even more matter of fact way than when you first visited – the new LGBT group (OuterSpace) had around 150 at their communion service, and bigger rooms this time

He continues by sharing some of what led him to change and suppress his gay orientation.

I guess seeing Homonomo made me wonder again just why you/I/we put ourselves through it all. For me a big part of it was living inside a church community with such a narrow worldview, but one that I wanted to feel accepted and approved by. That coupled with my limited choice of ‘correct’ reading matter that took such a negative view of homosexuality, and that bore false witness to the scriptures and distorted and filtered science to make it fit its own viewpoint. The shame it induced was crippling to my emotional development, and I think you portrayed that well in your Homonomo piece.

After his sincere effort to sort out the gay thing in his life, he realized how coming out gay opened the door to a richer, fuller life. He no longer adheres to a Christian faith, a fact that some gay Christians might term a tragic consequence of his odyssey, but I can envision this as a healthy outcome after years of church-sanctioned oppression. He acknowledges some of the challenges he still faces,

I feel so much the better since I came out – comfortable in my own skin for a change – I’m not sure how much, if any of that, is linked to my loss of faith. Unfortunately I still have a fair bit of anger reserved for the church, though I felt that the positive atmosphere at Greenbelt went some way to diffusing it, and I know I need to let it go to move on.

You can read the Times article here. Feel free to leave comments and especially to share your own experience at the newspaper’s site. Lots of people have already weighed. People get caught up in their opinions and arguments, but our stories carry their own weight and authority.

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Back in 2003 when I first premiered Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House, we had precious little resources about the Ex-Gay Movement. There was a Yahoo group, Ex-Gay Watch and Wayne Besen’s compilation of ex-gay survivor stories for the HRC website (launched in 2000) and of course Wayne’s book Anything But Straight—Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Movement. I’m sure there were other resources, but those are the only ones I found at that time.

There used to be a time when I would monitor every ex-gay related story and feel I needed to prepare some sort of response. In the past half decade we have witnessed and explosion of resources, websites, YouTube videos, MySpace and Facebook groups, films, books and conferences all addressing the potential dangers that comes from Ex-Gay theories and treatments. So many people are doing the work to tell their stories and counter the misinformation spread by groups like Exodus, Focus on the Family, NARTH, Living Waters and so many others that promote and provide ex-gay treatment.

You can do a Google blog search and daily find entries by ex-gay survivors and those concerned about the harm of ex-gay theories and treatments. Here are some recent contributions.

Vince Cervantes (Behind the Duct Tape), quoting Chad from Homo No Mo, he then goes on to write about his own experiences with a “straight mentor,” a regularly treatment

used by many ex-gay programs.

My male mentor’s job was to pretty much be the good Christian example that my father wasn’t. We went out to play catch at the lake, we went to go see action flicks at the cinema, and like every good Christian “dad” he took me to a Promise Keepers convention where I was supposed to learn how to become a “man of integrity.” From my mentor I was supposed to receive constant reaffirmation for the good things I did that were representative of an authentic “man of God.”

However, through my attempts to “reconnect with my masculinity” I ironically began to feel like less of a man through the activities that I was doing. I felt like masculinity was being defined for me.

Rob (Political Spectrum) writes about Truth vs Faith,

Anyways I had mention that I was looking for truth, not doctrine. Well one guy said “well it’s not about truth, it’s about faith, and what you believe”.

This statement really bothered me. Given people have a right to believe a lie or something that is not true, but from where I stand, I want truth. I joined the whole Ex-Gay thing searching for truth. I been to several different Churches looking for truth. I have read several different books on Religion and Religious topics looking for truth. However in my personal quest for truth, I have found allot of lies and false doctrine. The deception of being a Ex-Gay destroyed friendships and wasted a year of my life on lies.

lesbiansaidwhat (The Lesbian Said What??) in a post entitled Reparative Therapy gives a brief history of some the most public failures of the Ex-Gay Movement and provides wry commentary,

Reparative therapy or the ex-gay movement as it’s called gets a lot of attention. I guess it should, it’s every fundamental Christians dry dream.

I’ve heard of some organizations out there that specialize in reparative therapy. All of them Christian based. Why Christian based? Because the APA (American Psychological Association) doesn’t have a problem with homosexuality. Therefore it must fall to the Christians to have the problem with homosexuality and ‘fix’ it.

Some of the organizations are: Focus on the Family (who knew?), Love in action (the first ex-gay group), and Exodus.

The Exodus site has some statements on it, one is Life is bigger than your sexual orientation. Well no shit, except that is what people on that site want to change about me. If life is bigger than my sexual orientation why make such a huge deal out of it? Another one is: God loves you and accepts you the way you are today. What they are leaving out is except for the homosexual thing that you aren’t really bigger than.

Daniel Gonzales (Box Turtle Bulletin), drawing on his own ex-gay past, recently posted a YouTube video responding to Republican Vice Presidential canidate Sarah Palin’s comments that assumed being gay is a choice.

And the list goes on and on and on. In addition to the blogs and videos you can also now attend events that both give witness to the destructive consequences many of us experienced because of ex-gay theories and treatments as well as find ways of recovering.

  • October 22-25, 2008 Our Family Matters, Nashville, TN. Christine Bakke, co-founder of Beyond Ex-Gay and I will join other ex-gay survivors to share our experiences together.
  • November 7-9, 2008, Denver, CO. Local organizers and national groups will offer a public response to the NARTH ex-gay conference. Christine Bakke, Daniel Gonzales and I will all be there to meet with survivors, LGBT-affirming therapists and others. See the bXg events page for details and interest form.

Click here to hear my recent radio interview on The Agenda.

If you are a Chad fan, check out Joe G’s latest episode of Bored Beyond Belief where you will get a sample of Homo No Mo (with Vlad’s assistance) and a full interview with Chad about the ex-gay process, boyfriends, Marvin and more.

Feel free to post other links in the comment section and when you find a good link, please send it my way.

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