It’s Zack’s last day in Pennsylvania, and for once, Peterson has come to him! This week, we delve back into the world of ex-gay therapy because Lisa Ling forces us to respond to the Our America exposé of Exodus International on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Almost the entire program was an open platform for ex-gay therapy, with very little challenge or critique or basic reporting about the ineffectiveness and real harm that comes from ex-gay therapy. We address the problems with the special, and invite our special guest Anthony to shed some light on the world of ex-straights, which were not featured at all in the special. ALSO: Zack premieres an original erotic poem! You can read it below.
The Queer and Queerer Podcast!
Listen to this week's episode:
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Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:
» Read Peterson’s response to the Our America ex-gay special.
» Watch Wayne Besen’s response to the Our America ex-gay special (Truth Wins Out).
» Relisten to our interview with Christine Robinson about how ex-gay therapy = genocide.
» Read Zack’s erotic poem:
No words or pleasantries expressed,
An expected tolerance for each other’s
Yet moments after take off,
His knee firmly against mine.
Suddenly, I am consumed with all that he is,
But there is nothing more I need know.
The buzz in my thigh is as crisp as his
And though this 47-minute puddlejumper
Leaves little expectation for tolerating more,
I no longer worry about making my connection.
It’s already been made.
[Click here to sign the Change.org petition demanding the World Bank stop supporting groups like PFOX.]
This week, Chris Geidner at Metro Weekly reported that the World Bank will be including PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays) in their Community Outreach Program; they’ll be listed right below PFLAG. Wayne Besen at Truth Wins Out added that this was fraud on the part of PFOX, because they don’t have any local presence in DC—their headquarters being located in Reedville, VA, 127 miles away. TWO has since called upon the World Bank to remove PFOX from its outreach list, pointing out the group’s connections to Richard Cohen, his protégé Caleb Lee Brundidge who was part of the conference in Uganda that led to the death penalty bill being considered there, and Arthur Abba Goldberg, who scammed poor communities with complicated bond schemes.
I’ll leave you to the articles for details about how the World Bank’s charity outreach works, but let’s be clear, PFOX is no charity. And contrary to its name, it is no friend to gays.
PFOX is remarkable for its application of the Victim meme. See, the ex-gays that PFOX represents? They’re real victims. But they’re victims of the harmful, ineffective brainwashing of ex-gay therapy. But what PFOX says is that they’re victims of harassment from those of us in the LGBT community who ostracize and discriminate against them for being ex-gay. This, of course, is absurd, as we only have the utmost compassion for ex-gays; it is only the promoters of ex-gay therapy who deserve to be challenged and disavowed for spreading their lies.
Groups like PFOX continue to create visibility for the idea that sexual orientation can be changed, and that it’s just a different perspective; the issue is still up for debate. This is both factually untrue and incredibly harmful. Let’s take a look at some of their language to see what they’re real motives are.
Don’t be misled by the first sentence in the next paragraph:
Who are PFOX families?
PFOX families love their homosexual child unconditionally. Unlike other organizations which insist that parental love is conditional on affirming homosexual behavior, there are no conditions on our love for our children. We do not have to approve of everything our children do. Blanket approval is not responsible parenting or love. True love is loving in spite of our differences and treating each other with kindness and respect.
It’s not hard to read between the lines here. What PFOX wants from families is for them to show their love by shaming their children for their homosexuality.
And of course they do! And look! They have the APA (both of them) there to back them up!
Aren’t some people born gay?
We have all heard of individuals who entered homosexuality later in life after marrying and having children with an opposite sex spouse. No scientific evidence has established a genetic cause for homosexuality or found a “gay gene.” There is no DNA or medical test to determine if a person is homosexual. Sexual orientation is a matter of self-affirmation and public declaration. “Gay” is a self-chosen identity. According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are no replicated scientific studies to support that people can be born “gay” or that homosexuality is innate.
According to the American Psychological Association, “[a]lthough much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors.” 
Pssst… the period is supposed to go outside the citation, at least according to APA’s own style manual.
So, is that really what the APA has to say? No, I think we should look to 2009 for a more accurate statement on the matter:
The American Psychological Association declared Wednesday that mental health professionals should not tell gay clients they can become straight through therapy or other treatments.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Psychological Association concludes that there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Psychological Association encourages mental health professionals to avoid misrepresenting the efficacy of sexual orientation change efforts by promoting or promising change in sexual orientation when providing assistance to individuals distressed by their own or others’ sexual orientation;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Psychological Association concludes that the benefits reported by participants in sexual orientation change efforts can be gained through approaches that do not attempt to change sexual orientation;
Aww… looks like PFOX was misleading just a little bit there, huh?
Don’t be surprised. Their motives are unabashedly hurtful.
Lastly, let’s take a look at some of the “discriminatory actions against ex-gays” that show the importance of support from groups like PFOX. Note that most of these are efforts against ex-gay groups or individuals who support the ex-gay movement, NOT ex-gays themselves.
Unlike gay groups, ex-gay groups like PFOX are routinely denied equal access to participate in public school events, donate books to public school libraries, and present speakers on diversity day.
Well, let’s see. If PFOX’s materials promote harmful therapies that have been disavowed by all major medical authorities, should they really be welcomed? Are those good resources for students or communities to have access to? No.
Transgenders and cross-dressers are affirmed for changing their gender but former homosexuals are ridiculed for making the decision to change their sexual orientation.
This is misleading (and offensive). People who are trans do not change their gender. They simply have genders that are different from their sexes. This is a false comparison that completely misunderstands (unsurprisingly) the nature of trans identities.
Ex-gay conferences and seminars across the country are frequently picketed by anti-ex-gay protestors like PFLAG, a parents organization run by a gay activist, and Soulforce, a gay religious organization.
Been there, done that. Of course we picket those groups! It is no great secret that they actively work to hurt members of our community. But we aren’t protesting against ex-gay people; we are protesting against the recruitment of gays into a zombified movement of ex-gays based on harmful untruths.
Presidential candidate Barack Obama was criticized by gay activists for allowing ex-gay gospel singer Donnie McClurkin to sing at a fundraiser. They insisted that Obama drop the African-American singer from the program. Gay singers did not receive this treatment.
Haha, this is great. First of all, none of these people support Barack Obama. Second of all, this is a clear attempt to paint gay activists as racists. Third of all, Candidate Obama had committed to being a fierce advocate for LGBT issues, so discouraging him from essentially endorsing the ex-gay movement was a pretty important thing to do.
Harvard University conducted two separate investigations against employee Larry Houston because he discussed his former homosexuality on campus.
Houston was a cook in a Harvard dining hall, and the investigations only took place after many students complained he was inappropriately proselytizing. It’s clear from this Crimson article that Houston was coached with talking points by PFOX to make himself look like a victim.
Equality Virginia demanded that Washington DC Metro remove PFOX’s subway billboards advocating tolerance for ex-gays.
Why would a pro-gay group complain about the visibility of an anti-gay message? Huh.
An ex-gay volunteer staffing PFOX’s exhibit booth at the Arlington County, Virginia Fair was physically assaulted because he refused to recant his ex-gay testimony. Wayne Besen, a former spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, falsely reported that the assault had never occurred.
Another misleading claim, intended as an attack on Wayne Besen. But Wayne wasn’t the one who claimed there was no incident! In fact, the Arlington County Board researched the claim, found no evidence, and reported the incident as a “pre-fabrication or a mistake.”
After speaking at an ex-gay conference, Michelle McKinney-Hammond lost her programming on a broadcast station because gay activist Wayne Besen had complained to the station.
Another direct attack on Wayne; another lie. In fact, aside from sites who have copied language from PFOX directly, I cannot find any evidence to this. Even if it were true, there would probably be a rightful claim, given that Hammond’s has a reputation as a relationship expert meant that a television gig gave her a very wide platform to share the harmful beliefs she was reinforcing at the ex-gay conference.
After writing a letter her local newspaper as a concerned citizen, Crystal Dixon was terminated from her job as an Associate Vice President of Human Resources for Toledo University. An African-American, Dixon challenged the civil rights comparison of race with homosexual behavior. Dixon’s letter also revealed that some gay people have overcome unwanted homosexual feelings, as evidenced by the growing popularity of PFOX and other ex-gay organizations.
It’s actually the University of Toledo. And there’s that racism implication again. Guess what? If you work in human resources, it’s your job to handle complaints of discrimination, including those related to sexual orientation. Not unlike the recent case of Andrew Shirvell (the assistant DA in Michigan), if you make public comments against homosexuality when it’s your job to protect gay and lesbian people, it kind of compromises your ability to do your job effectively.
And that’s the whole list. PFOX is just out to sugarcoat the harmful reality of ex-gay therapy and then benefit from claiming victim status.
They are not a charity. They do not help people. They do not deserve any support from the World Bank.
Canada’s 22 Minutes gives us a humorous portrayal that actually reminds us of the true harm done by ex-gay therapy:
No, we’re not talking about a curriculum about how to be gay. Quite the opposite. We’re talking about a curriculum of hate.
I haven’t written about AFTAH much on this blog, because they are so ridiculously out there that I don’t think they need to be written about to be mocked. Americans for Truth about Homosexuality is a hate group intent on preserving only the most archaic standards of sexuality. Next month, they are offering an entire “academy” to young potential haters about just how to hate on teh gays. Kids as young as 14 are welcome.
Hemant Mehta has offered to cover the costs for any young folks who want to go (and of course report on it). AFTAH requires “references” to make sure attendees aren’t undercover progays, but I’m sure some infiltrators will manage to get in.
Last week, the “academy” unveiled it’s “curriculum,” and whooee! is it a good time. Let’s take a look at the courses propaganda-fests and the wise professors known bigots who will impart their knowledge about homosexuality. (Jeremy Hooper was remarking this weekend about how just the use of the word “homosexuals” can be a big red flag for a person’s perspective on LGBT issues—not that we’re at all surprised by these clowns.)
After an opening prayer, Peter LaBarbera kicks things off with “From gay pride to gay tyranny.” This will be about the way that, after our parades are over, we go strangle teabaggers with our rainbow flags and then fist their children.
“Professor” Rena Lindevaldsen (I use quotes because she “teaches” at the Liberty University School of Law) then moves things along with “History of modern ‘gay’ activism and the courts.” She’ll spend the first 55 minutes bemoaning the way “gay” no longer means “happy,” and the last five minutes sharing everything she knows about courts.
Matt Barber will chime in with “Masculine Christianity: a non-defensive approach to the Culture War over homosexuality.” Part of his talk will explain how the best way to overcome homosexuality is through knowledge of sports and car mechanics, and then he’ll explain how folks like him started the Culture War by attacking homosexuals at every opportunity.
You’ll only get a light lunch so that you have room to stomach “The ‘born gay’ hoax,” presented by Ryan Sorba of Young Conservatives of California. This presentation should be particularly revealing, as Sorba will be sharing never-before-seen schematics of the microchips inserted in the genitalia of all future-homosexuals.
Everybody’s favorite, Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute, is up next. In “Using reason and logic in answering pro-homosexuality arguments,” she will magically not once refer to reason nor logic. She will outline all of the pro-homosexual arguments, then shrug and say, “But they’re wrong.”
Just in case you thought this was a Christian-only situation, here comes Arthur Goldberg from JONAH (Jews Offering Healthy Alternatives to Homosexuality). If you aren’t familiar with JONAH, they discourage people from having gay sex by teaching them new exercise routines and diet restrictions. No, gay men are not allowed to have any fruit. His talk will be called, “Can gays change? Is gay parenting good for kids? Presenting the research on homosexuality.” Here’s a preview: “Yes, No, You don’t really need to read any of it.”
The day is far from over. Next, all of the presenters of the day will form a panel to discuss “Can the effort to ‘mainstream’ homosexuality in American culture be stopped?” While the panel answers questions, participants will be distributed proton packs and the sheet music to Auld Lang Syne for a future field trip to the subway system.
Grab a bite to eat for dinner then return Thursday night for a special presentation by Greg Quinlan of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX). In “An Ex-Gay Christian Discusses Love, Truth and Homosexuality,” Quinlan will describe how hated he was and how much he was lied to while he was homosexual. Now that he’s ex-still-gay, his life is completely delusional, but happy.
Day 2! Cliff Kincaid is ready to tell you about “The battle over blood: ‘gay’ health risks and public policy.” I’m not sure why he needs a whole hour to say, “Don’t let them even touch you; they all have AIDS,” but I’m sure he’ll find a way to repeat it in some interesting ways.
The “professor” is back! “The zero-sum game: homosexuality-based ‘rights’ vs. religious and First Amendment freedoms” is another brief lecture about how Christians are right and nothing else matters.
“Corrupting children, politicizing schools: the homosexual youth agenda“: More fisting.
“The gender confusion agenda: ‘transgender rights’”: “We don’t get it, so there’s nothing to get.”
Ugh, this is exhausting. Here are the rest of the lectures. You comment with your favorite ways to make fun of them:
“From abomination to ‘gay’: answering ‘queer theology’ — Old Testament”
“The legal strategy to stop homosexual ‘marriage’: triumphs and pitfalls”
“Returning the debate to behavior – getting off the ‘GLBT’ playing field”
“From destroying DOMA to homosexualizing the military: Obama’s radical homosexual/transsexual agenda for America”
“But Jesus never said anything about homosexuality’”: Answering ‘Queer Theology’ — New Testament”
“Destructive legacy: Alfred Kinsey and the (Homo)Sexual Revolution”
“The big, pink plan for a lavender culture”/”How to lobby effectively”
“Combating pro-homosexual media bias, confronting pro-gay ‘conservatives’” – I love that they give “conservatives” the mocking quotes!
“Agreeing with God: a truly biblical approach toward ‘out and proud’ homosexuality”
“Confronting the zeitgeist: new strategies to turn around younger Americans on ‘gay rights’”
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Bleed: stopping Obama’s campaign to homosexualize the U.S. military”
Have at them my readers! Mock away!