The"ex-gay" movement: Let's not forget what it's really all about
I see that James Dobson's Focus on the Family is bringing its "ex-gay" sideshow, "Love Won Out" to California. (http://www.thedesertsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060923/UPDATE/60923004)
Naturally, there will be many of us and our supporters who will stand against this group and their plateau of lies.
But something has bothered me. In fact, it always bothers me when I read about how we stand against those who want to perpetrate the "ex-gay" lie.
We are not telling the full story behind their lies.
What I mean is that every time I read about these groups, their spokespeople like to present a "we just want to present our point of view" front for the media.
They seem to be turning the "tolerance" message upside down and I don't think we challenge them on it as successfully as we should. We should invite media and the public to see who exactly is pulling the strings behind the "ex-gay movement."
But another excerpt from my upcoming book spells it out in a better fashion. This is from one of the chapters I had to exclude for the sake of space:
The ex-gay movement is nothing but a front, a dodge, a diversionary tactic by religious conservative organizations. These ex-gay groups speak out of both sides of their mouths and lie every time. They claim that they only exist to introduce change to anyone who has a problem with their homosexuality, but their actions and especially the company they keep, prove otherwise.
Ex-gay groups exist only to make life miserable for those homosexuals are in fact happy with their orientation. If one would take a critical look at the ex-gay movement, he would find the dirty fingerprints of the anti-gay industry all over it.
Or in the words of Surina Khan, associate analyst at Political Research Associates:
"The ex-gay movement provides political cover for a significant new phase in the Christian Right’s long-running anti-gay campaign. . . Instead of simply denouncing homosexuals as morally and socially corrupt, the Christian Right has now shifted to a strategy of emphasizing personal salvation for homosexuals through the ex-gay movement. Behind this mask of compassion, however, the goal remains the same: to roll back legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people . . ."
The closet, Wayne Besen, Talbert Swann, and D.L. Foster
In June 2004, an African-American minister, Talbert Swann edited a book entitled Closing the Closet: Testimonials of Deliverance from Homosexuality. According to Swann’s webpage:
"Fifteen former gay men and eight former lesbians providing inspiration, motivation, support, and biblically based guidance to homosexuals who desire to be free from their current lifestyle. They pour their hearts out and tell the story of how God transformed them from lives of misery and shame to a committed, joy-filled, blessed existence as man and women living in accordance with God’s word."
Wayne Besen blasted the book as propaganda, saying he doubted the book’s credibility because some of the "ex-gays" it used were affiliated with so-called "pro family" groups.
"Why did this book us a number of ex-gay lobbyists who get paid to say that they’ve changed," he said. " . . . I question whether ex-gays who are independent of fundamentalist political groups actually exist."
Besen’s criticism was answered back by Swann and another minister, D.L. Foster. Swann said:
"If Mr. Besen was interested in making an informed critique he sould have at least read the book. He would have known that of the twenty-three testimonies printed, many have "normal jobs and normal lives" and are not, as he so condescendingly puts it professional flacks for right-wing political groups."
But Besen was correct in his assertion and Swann was misleading in his. Of the 23 testimonials, a great majority of them were affiliated with so-called "pro family" groups or groups who collaborate with such organizations.
Stephen Bennett - Focus on the Family
Mike Haley - Focus on the Family
Alan Chambers - Exodus International
Bob Ragan - Exodus International
D.L. Foster even goes farther and accuses Besen of being "exgayphobic." Foster also accuses Besen of attacking ex-gays for money and even goes as far as calling him a lunatic. The entire summation of Foster’s letter is that Besen was attempting to shut the voices of "ex-gays" who only want to tell how they were able to transform from being gay.
"His totalitarian agenda won’t be successful in trying to silence us," Foster said. "Besen’s tactics would serve him much better in Saudi Arabia, but this is America."
Foster’s attempt to garner victimhood status for "ex-gays" such as himself is an outright deception. It also further underscores the fact that the ex-gay movement are an engineered front for the anti-gay industry.
The ex-gay movement is quick to grab what they think is a textbook tactic of the gay rights movement: victimhood status. Their leaders and spokespeople are always complaining that they are being discriminated against; that "gay activists" are being intolerant against them, that they are just trying help people who want to change and denying people the choice of "turning away from homosexuality" is discriminatory.
However, prominent ex-gay Stephen Bennett (a contributor to the book) was the Special Issues Editor on Homosexuality for the American Family Association and has spoken in behalf of Concerned Women for America.
Alan Chambers (another contributor) has spoken out against civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.
Even Foster has a blog where he spotlights negative news articles concerning gays and lesbians, attempting to paint the entire community with a bad brush, much like white racists webpages does to the black community. He claims that he is merely showing the true face of the gay rights movement.
Exodus International’s website utilized studies with data from the Kinsey Institute (Homosexuality: Is It Just Another Lifestyle by Alan Medinger) while at the same time utilizing other studies that criticizes Alfred Kinsey, the founder of the Institute (Kinsey and the Homosexual Revolution by Judith Reisman).
Clearly Exodus International is using data that it claims is not credible.
NARTH also repeats John Diggs’s poor study on the sexual activities of homosexuals, as well as Paul Cameron’s discredited data.
And all of these groups, as well as other "ex-gay" groups link themselves with Focus on the Family’s "Love Won Out" tour, which spotlights ex-gays
. . . Every prominent ex-gay is on the payroll of organizations like Focus on the Family or the Traditional Values Coalition - organizations who believe that gays are evil and out to destroy American culture and values. If the ex-gay movement wants credibility, the first step would be to work on their autonomy. They should distance themselves from Dobson, Sheldon, Wildmon, etc.