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From our friends at:
THE LIST
Wired Strategies
"Gay Politics: Online & With an Edge"

EX-GAYS A GO GO
Is there a schism in the gay-bating ranks?

Our cousins the "ex-gays" in Exodus International (no relation to Dana International) are holding an annual conference in the Chicago suburbs this week. Exodus became well known in gay circles after its two founders, Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper, fell in love and quit the organization, becoming perhaps the world's first ex-ex-gays. Bussee subsequently told a reporter that "after dealing with hundreds of people...[he and his lover hadn't] met one who went from gay to straight. Even if you manage to alter someone's sexual behavior, you cannot change their true sexual orientation." Oops. With that in mind, I found an interesting admission in the July 27, 1999 Associated Press story on the "ex-gay" conference: "The group acknowledges that for some homosexuals, changing their orientation will prove impossible." Hello? Fringe-right activists like the Family Research Council, the Reverend Fred Phelps, and the American Family Association have been telling us for years that being gay is an evil "choice," and that all we need to do is find Jesus and we'll be saved (let's ignore for a moment that many of us "found" Jesus way before these folks were even born - and that others believe in faiths that don't worship Jesus, and in America, that's ok). Yet the "ex-gays" have admitted for years that some, if not most, gays can't change. And if most gays can't change, it not only means the "ex-gay" movement has no clothes, but also that being gay isn't a choice - both points completely undercutting the intolerant political agenda of the religious right political groups. In view of the ex-gay admission in the AP story, I thought it'd be interesting to go through my files and review the other damaging things ex-gays have admitted about the failure rate of their movement, and the choice issue. And boy, did I find some doozies. I might recommend sharing these tidbits with local reporters and politicians next time the ex-gay/choice issue comes up:

  • ONLY A 'MINORITY' ARE SUCCESSFUL
    USA Today, August 4, 1998: Bob Davies of Exodus International:" 'There are no statistics,' Davies says, but 'I would say that a minority of individuals coming through these ministries have made it in the long run .. . remained free of homosexual behavior for five years or more.' And he says even fewer develop full-fledged attractions for the opposite sex or go on to marry'".
  • TWO-THIRDS FAIL
    Village Voice, August 11, 1998: "NARTH and Exodus, the largest Christian ex-gay ministry, both claim 'cure' rates of about one third."
  • 'MANY' CAN'T BE CURED
    San Francisco Chronicle, August 19, 1998 - refering to Frank Worthen, the "grandaddy" of the ex-gay movement: "the Worthens admit that many of their former proteges decide their homosexuality cannot be cured."
  • 'MOST' CAN'T CHANGE
    Village Voice, August 11, 1998 - Michael Johnston, President of Kerusso Ex-Gay Ministries, and big "ex-gay" poster child: " 'I don't believe men and women can go into therapy and come out the other end heterosexual,' says Johnston. He says that God has changed his own sexual desires from gay to straight but, he insists, 'I don't think most of us have experienced that in the long run.' To promise a cure is 'setting someone up for a great deal of frustration. Christian law is not about eliminating sinful desires, it's about overcoming them.'"
  • IT'S NOT A CHOICE
    Newsweek, August 17, 1998 - Anthony Falzarano, president of Transformation Ministries, is quoted: "[Anthony] Falzarano [the head of Transformation Ministries]....raises his voice a notch. 'Homosexuality is not a lifestyle we chose.'"
  • BEING 'EX-GAY' NOT AKIN TO BEING STRAIGHT
    Wall Street Journal, April 21, 1993 - John Paulk, prominent "ex-gay" poster child and employee of Focus on the Family: "I don't know if I'll ever have the intensity for sex with women that the average man on the street has."

So, will someone tell me why these guys get so much press when they only have 1,000 people attend their conference (there are millions of us) and when they admit they have virtually no success?

 


 

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Drop a note to Deborah at gaylesissues@rslevinson.com

copyright 1986-2010 Deborah Levinson