Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Love in Action


Evansville Pride Event
Originally uploaded by p2son.
I mention in a previous post that I recently bumped into John Smid, director of the "ex-gay" program I attended.

With current news reports about and protests of the Smid's Love in Action program for forcing teenagers to attend against their will, I thought I'd share the details of our conversation that took place at the same time, Zach, a 16-year-old boy, alerted friends that he was being put away for being gay.

June 2, 2005, Altanta Airport
I saw John Smid walking in my direction. He recognized me from my two years in the program.

After some chit chat I questioned him about first-hand reports I heard in January about minors in his residential program placed their against their wills. Also I heard they teens attended sessions with adults. Some of these adults have been involved in bestiality and other extreme sexual practices.

Smid confirmed that minors attend the program and that although they are sometimes placed in the it unwillingly, they usually grow to respect the staff, even while they continue to have problems with their parents for forcing them to attend.

He also confirmed that adults and minors meet in sessions together, but that the conversation is controlled to only focus on feelings and not issues.

(I refrained from saying that any 16-year-old I know is clever enough to figure out pretty quickly what everyone is in for. They will also dicipher the unspoken message that their same-sex attractions are on the same level as a man screwing a pony. That is sick and in my opinion child abuse).

Smid and I parted pleasantly enough after we discussed an upcoming BBC2 documentary (Sad to Be Gay). Smid allowed the BBC to bring cameras into the program in January to follow one of their reporters who was supposed to be there for two weeks. He lasted four days. The program airs in the UK in late August.


For more info on Zach's story, visit the story at Ex-Gay Watch.

The Memphis daily paper published this article
about the Zach's story and they protest and they interviewed me.

18 Comments:

At 8:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard the BBC reporter talk about his experience in a radio show back in February.

From my LJ at the time:
"I heard a gay journalist discuss his short experience in an ex-gay ministry on the radio yesterday.

It was being heard by 8 million or so listeners to Radio 2, and I know some needed to hear this.

He admitted that being gay wasn't such a wonderful thing in a culture that was generally unsupportive, especially for those who didn't want to live in central London's gay village with its club culture. He attended the ministry partly out of interest to see if it worked, and partly to make a television documentary. He didn't manage to last the full two weeks of the course at 'Love in Action' in Memphis, but when questioned said he thought that the experience actually left him "more at ease" about being gay.

The short and revealing interview gives an insight into procedures at this ex-gay ministry; the reasoning why some of the folk were attending (some being teenagers sent there by their parents); and some of the more ludicrous policies to make people less gay (teaching lesbians how to use lipstick)."

I shall be looking out for the program when it is aired here and I'll let you know what I make of it.

 
At 7:09 AM , Blogger Contemplative Activist said...

Peterson,

Don't forget to post when the program will be aired - I'm looking forward to it. I expect it will be very challenging to watch.

I agree with you - its definately child abuse to expose teenagers to that kind of extreme sexual activity, and even moreso to be suggesting that their sexuality is on a par with that. So sad :(.

What a tragic story - I hope Zach gets through it.

Don't social services get involved where minors are concerned? Or maybe that would only make things worse :( I think they should - but its certainly a thorny thorny issue. :S

 
At 2:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You bring up some wonderful points. I know several gay men who have gone through some kind of ex-gay ministry and either have come to terms with being gay and are living it, or who still struggle and experience no change but choose not to embrace it. i LOVE your blog!

 
At 10:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is know as fact that anyone who chooses a mate that does not create life is a mate selection disorder.And the question is.Is it right to defend sexual disorders? Also note that mate selection disorders are not only limited to people who associate sex with the same sex, it is also people who chose mates with objects, animals ETC.To defend mate selection disorders you can't defend one, you must defend them all. The term disorder in this case means people are choosing their own reality. Or to be put simple, people are lying to themselves. Labels like gay, lesbian and bisexual are terms that are false becauseas humans we can associate sex with anything, if we are a label, we are "free sexually". You must also note that people will close their mind and not even listen to logic or change and defend the disorder even if they know they may be wrong. This is denial.The denial is caused by greed in order to keep this alternate reality.Note that this statement is to show what many people know as scientific fact, and also to show people that what they are seeing is a reality that they are choosing, not actual reality.

 
At 11:19 PM , Blogger Jennifer said...

Interesting blog. Gay teenagers and adults would definitely have different perspectives on their own homosexulaity and homosexulity as a whole. There is also the age gap. Teenagers have friends and peers to deal with at school, work and extra-curricular activities that will make fun of them and harrass them, such as in the case of Matthew Shepard. Adult, being older, have more experience with life and how to deal with things.

 
At 4:32 PM , Blogger Peterson Toscano said...

(warning: the follow comments are passive agressive, petty and snippy--I never said I was perfect)

Anonymous,
Congratulations on perfecting the art of "copy and paste". Yes, I have heard your point now three or four times in the comments on this blog.

Do you have anything new you would like to add to the discussion?

When you do, please consider using paragraphs (makes it easier to read what you are trying to say)

and

identify yourself. If you truly believe what you are saying, let yourself be known.

In the words of my dear ol dad (as performed in "Doin' Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House.")

"Stand up for Jesus!
Now sit down for Christ sake."

 
At 10:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peterson,you are just ignoring the issue I brought up and you are not dealing with it head on.

Instead you want to be a wise ass and say "Congratulations on perfecting the art of "copy and paste". You don't need to be an asshole to get your point across.

Do you want to discuss the facts of mate selection disorder or not?

 
At 10:35 PM , Blogger Peterson Toscano said...

Anonymous,
I did some research and googled "mate selection disorder" (not a sophisticated tool, but effective) and the only hit I got was my blog where you mention this in the comments.

No where in the world is anyone talking about the facts or even the fiction of mate selection disorder (at least not according to google).

You have a theory that you may wish to explore, research and publish. Also, if you have any documented studies about this disorder, please provide links.

You have said your point and I apologize for hurting your feelings. Please consider setting up a blog, writing about this topic, then leaving a message with a screen name and link so that others can read what you have to say.

 
At 4:35 AM , Blogger EJ said...

It's funny how people with Anonymous' beliefs can anonymously misuse the comment system on a blog with the same ease that they can irresponsibly skate around regulations regarding state licensing in a facility that generates half a million dollars each year.

You can only do either one for so long before someone figures you out, and you're still going to be wrong.

 
At 6:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are you talking about? You never heard of mate selection disorder? It's what you are doing right now.If you select a mate that does not create life that's a mate selection disorder.Everyone knows that, it is fact.

If it were not a disorder the term disorder would be meaningless.And also you didn't hurt my feelings, I was pointing out that you were being a asshole.

And I told you that you didn't have to be an asshole to get your point across.And EJ I just don't want to sign up if I'm just making a few posts and moving on, makes sense right?

 
At 6:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scientists have know it as fact that everyone is free sexually. That a human and animal can associate sex with anything.Are you going to deny the possibility that this is scientific fact?

Or are you just going to be a closed minded person and try to form just an opinion of reality opposed to scientific fact.

 
At 3:58 AM , Blogger EJ said...

I'm open to suggestions that have a basis in some form of reality, not conjecture enhanced through clever usage of semantics.

If you're going to take the time to write repeated comments on this blog, you have time to sign up for an account. Then again, how can anyone depend on you to be honest about who you are when your only purpose is to press your viewpoint on people who you think have never heard it before?

If you're willing to stand up for what you believe in, you'd better be willing to back it with your signature. Otherwise, the only asshole is you.

 
At 6:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what your pretty much saying that everyone who is named anonymous is an asshole?

Then you need to check this site and many more because their are a lot more assholes for you to go bug instead of discussing issues with.

To me an asshole is someone who wants to hurt someones feelings for personal pleasure.What's your definition?I'm discussing what I feel is right.

 
At 7:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sex has a meaning, a fact, a truth to it's usage.That fact is life.It shows you are using your body correctly when you create life.

Life is the truth in sex.What would be a mate selection disorder? Or can you have sex with anything and it will not be a disorder? The word "disorder" in the dictionary is.

To disturb the regular or normal functions of.The truth of sex is and will always will be... life.

 
At 9:11 PM , Blogger EJ said...

No, what I'm saying (which you know, but you want me to spell it out for you) is that when you take a contrary point of view and refuse to acknowledge it by putting your own name on it, it shows cowardice. It's like sucker punching someone and running away; it makes what you're saying meaningless.

If you refuse to sign your own name to your own reparative phraseology, aka semantics designed to disguise something as what it isn't, you're just a coward with a viewpoint that holds no weight because there is nothing to back it up.

 
At 10:08 PM , Blogger Peterson Toscano said...

The main issue I have with Anonymous is that s/he wants a debate on mate selection disorder, without providing any sort of links or suport.

In my post, It's Just Not Natural!!!, I list examples of normal homosexual behavior in nature. With it I provided links to current news articles about the topic. I also point out that when one googles "mate selection disorder", at least as of yesterday, you come up dry, except of course for my blog.

Anonymous needs to provide links and evidence.

Also, the argument that sex is intended solely to create life creates many problems for heterosexual couples, especially when the couple is not fertile. Should infertile men and women not marry? Infertility comes to all heterosexual couples with advancing years. So is it then inappropriate for them to have sex?

One of the biggest problems the world faces right now is over population. So for the survival of the species, mate selection based on the inability to reproduce is most advatageous right now. Same-gender loving people actually make a positive impact through their unions.

Anonymous, you are always welcome here, (although it would be nice if you at least had a screen name) but please support your claims with evidence and not just word play. Or better yet, set up your own blog so that you can share your views there and we all can comment.

 
At 4:32 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was looking up psychology sites when I came accross scientific facts of human nature, and why things happen.

What it said was, the reason why people and animals have sex with the same sex to animals to objects and other species is because, they are both "free sexually".

Free to make a choice of what they want to have sex with.Animal or human can associate sex with anything.And I bielieve that 100%.How do you explain people or animals having sex with other species or objects? They are chosing to.

What you need to prove is how same sex, sex is not a disorder.And if it's not a disorder, can humans have sex with whatever they want without it being a disorder?

 
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