Monday, April 23, 2007

Tipping Point?

I just watched Christine Bakke on Good Morning America. Diane Sawyer interviewed her. Christine is really the first woman to be highlighted in the national media as an ex-gay survivor. She did an amazing job, so clear, confident, without rancor, just telling her story. Well done! You can see it for yourself here

The piece stands out because Sawyer makes it clear that there is a problem with most reparative therapy and ex-gay ministry. They do show a short clip of Alan Chambers saying,
It's not an easy process, but someone can choose not to be a homosexual
But they place that quote right before footage of Pastor Ted Haggard and back story about how he was pronounced 100% heterosexual after a mere three weeks of therapy. (Perhaps not something that Exodus would actually agree with or support, but in the media world, all ex-gay experiences fall under the same umbrella).

The ABC piece states,
Although these programs have been widely renounced by medical professionals, they are, in fact, growing nationwide.
They claim that the programs have grown up to 30% since 2002. Not sure what they base that figure on but Focus on the Family and Exodus have been doing a larger outreach to parents of queer and questioning kids since that time. (I heard about 1000 people showed up for the recent Love Won Out in Omaha--paying $60 per person!)

Christine gets to the heart of the matter, not so much discounting the change that other people claim they experienced, rather stating that such a change is not necessary.
Bakke said the therapy was based on the idea that gay people are "broken" and need to be fixed. She now says that gay men and women can be whole just the way they are.

"I would say there's nothing to cure," she told Diane Sawyer on "Good Morning America." "You are fine just the way you are."

Bakke did informal research about people after the program and found that many of them had changed their behavior, not their orientation. When she began therapy, she believed that she would be completely different once the process was over.
You can read a transcript here and also read the article on Christine in the May issue of Glamour here.

Christine felt bummed that she didn't get to mention BeyondExGay, the site she co-founded for ex-gay survivors, but they give so little time on these programs. But you can check out bXg here

I will keep you posted about other media events happening this week--radio interviews and more!

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At 1:35 PM , Blogger Allyson Dylan Robinson said...

I do hope we're reaching a tipping point with all this, Peterson. It's refreshing to see people like Christine getting some national attention!

At 5:48 PM , Blogger Liadan said...

I wonder where they got the 30% statistic, too. It's not one I've ever seen before, so I wonder what they're counting as "ex-gay programs"-- the traditional live-in or twelve-step-type therapy programs like Exodus members, or the more diffuse PFOX-type organizations that focus more on the political end of things.

I also have to wonder how long most of these things are lasting; IIRC, don't most of them either implode or run out of steam after a few years tops?

At 1:32 AM , Blogger Peterson Toscano said...

good points liadan. The GMA piece seemed to suggest the number of Exodus programs increased since 2002.

I imagine some programs come and go like many business and ministry ventures. Some leave Exodus because they get fed up with the mix of politics with the ministry.

ally, I hope you get to meet Christine some day. She is awesome.

At 3:56 AM , Blogger Willie Hewes said...

Good work Christine! And good work bXg, you guys are doing a great job on the site.


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