Thursday, September 29, 2005

Let Us Prey: Religious Right's "Ex-gay" Agenda

Focus on the Family (FOTF) along with Exodus prey on youth. For instance, they offer the upcoming Love Won Out "ex-gay" road show stopping in Boston on October 29, 2005.

At the conference parents, pastors, teachers and youth workers train on how to fix queer teens. According to FOTF's Melissa Fry,
The largest group of people who come are parents who have a son or daughter living homosexually. The next largest group are pastors and church leaders. And we also have educators and counselors attend, certainly lay people from churches, others from the community. (hat tip to BayWindows)
Then armed with info from the conference, these adults go back to their communities to impose their sexuality on queer and questioning young people.

As I wrote in PlanetOut some months ago,
For years the Religious Right has slandered our community, accusing us of orchestrating a gay agenda that targets America's youth. They have claimed that we recruit and convert young people.

They have been wrong about this for years. As if our community were that organized and in agreement about anything. Many of us queer folks find that it's hard enough to detox from a weekend of cheese fries and cosmos, let alone survive an elaborate process of de-homosexualization.

But now look at who, with evangelical zeal, is targeting young people, and then is attempting to recruit and convert them. With the fundamentalist world view of saving a lost and dying world, "ex-gay" groups have taken upon themselves the mission to transform queer and questioning youth into their own image. Talk about hypocrites. In spite of the mountain of evidence by the American Psychiatric Association and every major medical organization in the world, they engage in unethical practices to make gay kids straight.
Ex-Gay Watch looks at the Funny Word Games but Sinister Agenda of a recent Love Won Out press release.

According to BayWindows,, a group of young activists in Boston will protest the event, which is expected to lure at least 1000 people to learn about the "Ex-gay" Agenda.

The strange thing is that I know Mike Haley, the Exodus board member and FOTF official who runs this "Ex-gay" mind altering event. He's a really nice guy. Friendly, charming, funny and engaging, when I talk with him, he seeks to make what he does as a benign attempt to help a few struggling kids.

The problem is that FOTF, Exodus and even very nice and kind Mike Halely imposes their ideal expectations on young people and then uses both the Bible and Christian "psychology" to back their claims.

The religious and pseudo-psychological punches can be enough to temporarily stun some sincere Christian youth. Then after years of attempting to please parents, church, and God, he or she wakes up and has to build their life over again. It is not surprising that many (but not all) LGBTQ adults who grew up in the church want NOTHING to do with God once they come out.

Messing with kids at their critical age of development will only cause confusion and heartache.
As I concluded in my PlanetOut piece,
...if some misguided, well-meaning, insane queer adult wants to reform himself into a shadow of a heterosexual -- fine, so be it, but let's leave the kids out of this.


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