Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Women & the Ex-Gay Movement

This Thursday, in a conference call open to the public, Darlene Bogle and Christine Bakke will share their experiences as lesbians in the Ex-Gay Movement.

For a while I have been considering how the Ex-Gay Movement is an anti-fem movement. Most of the participants in it are male with curriculum and treatment plans geared towards "male issues." Many of the men involved have felt the need to "change" after years of taunting for being sissies. They learned both on the playground and from the pulpit that the world does not value feminized men.

The cornerstone teaching of nearly every ex-gay program takes a swipe at women while also reinforcing the belief that women must be subservient to men. What makes a boy gay? According to most of these ex-gay providers and proponents gay boys are a bi-product of an "overbearing mother." This false teaching infers that once a woman usurps a man's authority and no longer remains submissive, this transgressive act alters the natural order of the world thus misshaping a child. Ugh! Crap with a capital C.

Many ex-gay survivors have come forward and several sites offer thoughtful analysis of the ex-gay world, but we have heard precious little from the women who once partook of ex-gay treatment and have since come to accept their lesbian or bisexual side. Darlene Bogle and Christine Bakke are two women who have gone public with their stories. Last summer Darlene offered a public apology for her previous role as an Exodus ex-gay leader. Christine, the co-founder of Beyond Ex-Gay, has shared her ex-gay story through the Internet, in print and on TV.

You can listen live and partake in a conversation with Darlene & Christine this Thursday:
Many people have either heard of ex-gay therapy in passing or on a brochure laying around their church. Many haven't heard of it at all. Others have actually experienced it, some even leaving their school, family and workplace to become engrossed in its promises through residential programs spending thousands of dollars.

The cost is not only in money, but also in tears, intimacy challenges, loss of sense of self and even the relationship they once held dear with God. As we mention in our movie, "get to God" is a key factor for people to not only stay connected to the Divine, but also to themselves. Ex-gay therapy is one of the leading ways people get in the way of this connection, trying to fix something that isn't broke, attempted healing of someone who isn't sick.

You're invited to hear the very personal testimonies of two remarkable ex-gay survivors, Darlene Bogle and Christine Bakke. You owe it to yourself to learn from people who have "been there, done that." Join us on Thursday night.

Thursday, August 7th, 5pm Pacific/8pm Eastern
1. Dial-In Conference Number 1-218-486-1300
2. Access Code: 807282
You're invited to participate by asking your own questions.
Email us your question in advance:
and during the call, use yahoo! IM:

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At 9:50 AM , Blogger CrackerLilo said...

I have felt for a while that the ex-gay movement connects with the general devaluation of the feminine and womens' sexuality in certain branches of Christianity. (Of course, ex-lesbians still gotta put on that lipstick, don't they? That's not what I mean by "devaluation of the feminine," and I think you know that well.) Anyway, I am grateful to Christine and Darlene for talking about womens' experiences in ex-gay ministry.

At 11:05 AM , Blogger Peterson Toscano said...

carckerlilo, great to hear from you! Thanks for your thoughts. I am excited about listening in to hear what Christine and Darlene have to say. Guys like me have had plenty of opportunities to tell our stories, but the women's stories are only just emerging.

At 12:52 PM , Blogger paul said...

This is great news, I am so glad that Darlene and Christine are on the leading edge of this.

The fundamentalist approach is divisive and destructive to life. They have been blaming women from the beginning, with Eve. Fundamentalism is simply misogynistic. You know your in trouble when they migrate towards scripture like "... I forbid a woman not teach a man..." instead of scripture like "there is neither male nor female in Christ." Hmmm, so, in Christ, I can marry whomever?

There was only one lesbian who participated in one of the "Springs of Living Waters" programs I participated in. Maybe in a way lesbians have benefitted from the sexism of the ex-gay movement. Since women just aren't given the same status as men, there is less "ministry" to "help" delesbianize them?

At 3:38 PM , Blogger Peterson Toscano said...

Thanks for your comment Paul. I am so glad you "get it." It so often happens that when I post about lesbians or women in the ex-gay movement or Darlene or Christine specifically, I hear no response, no comment, no cross-posting on other blogs. I am glad that this is not the case with this post.

You wrote: "Maybe in a way lesbians have benefitted from the sexism of the ex-gay movement"
Ha! Yeah, may be the only such case.

At 1:19 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I am ex lesbian (for lack of a better word) and I don't get the feeling that women are being taught to be subservient to men. Maybe I just don't see that. However, women's issues do get overlooked and I'm glad you noticed. My feeling is that gay men and lesbians are two different subjects completely. Being homosexual does not make them the same subject - since women and sexuality are different than men and sexuality. What are your thoughts?

At 1:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmmmm. The fundamentalist approach that teaches Eve as the originator of Adam's fall has pretty much gone the way. Maybe they are still teaching that archaic notion in parts of the blueridge hills? But not in my neck of the woods. And I go to an AofG church.

At 3:03 AM , Blogger Auntie Doris said...

The idea of subservience is a lot more subtle than being told you have to spend all your time in the kitchen, only doing what you husband says.

In my experience churches regularly 'demote' women to being a man's sidekick instead of recognising that each person has their own valid and exciting ministry to fulfil. Some of those ministires may be complementary to a man's but they are equally valid.

My personal journey clearly showed that the man in alleged authority over me had a lesser view of women. In the end, it was one of the reasons I left the charismatic, evangelical church I was part of.

At 4:54 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Auntie Doris,

I can see that. Hmmm.. But as I read the bible women are as important to the creation as men. But yeah, there are still men out there who are more than pleased to "keep women in their place."

Some take an egalitarian approach and others a complimentary approach.

Either way - one is neither above nor below the other.

At 10:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will there be a replay of this call by any chance?

At 10:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi I am Linda, I am one of those ex- lesbians. I am 100% straight unlike many who still have feelings for the same sex attraction but I think being gay or lesbian has alot more then just an attraction but that is just what I believe. My sister is bisexual and is one of those who has to fight by the power of God, feelings she has. She has fallen but got back up. Even when I was a lesbian I could never understand how anyone could be attracted to both sex but to understand everything I would only think the impossible. I thought coming out was hard to family and friends and co-workers nothing compared to telling people that I was cured by God ( to think the impossible). I get most attacted by gay people then family and friends. No one can believe it (is possible) but I am living proof. I would have never believed it myself years ago, I would have laughted, I would have said that it was the impossible. I would even joked about christian who said it was possible ( hallujah, praise be to God I am cured) I have lost most of my gay friends because of my being striaght, who would have believed that gay people can't except people's choices or beliefs or the power of God? (even to do this!) I have met many people who are from exodus but I was not apart of this to be cured. I thought when I recieved this miracle there were others but I found only a few get cured by God the rest pray and fight feelings every day. I was even told by them that it was impossible to be cured and the only true way was through one of these programs that does cost a lot of money! God is free! Yes you are right if you were a lesbian, they believe you now should wear lip stick but it is not the lip stick but trying to be more fem. I don't believe in homosexual tenancy and that is what all that is about, trying to get rid of the tenancies. Homosexuals are still fighting for hate crimes??... well are you not hating people for the same reason you want people to accept you? Who would chose such a thing as being gay? Well I would have because I had no other choices. To me bi-sexuals have some what of a chose but who choices who you fall in love with? Yes, you can get picky and not let anyone in but there is no choice who you fall in love with but why not fit in and have a family and be accepted so much easier? uhm you would think. Ex-gay who would choice such a thing?? uhm you would think! Well, people who love God not because it is the right thing to do or because they can not accept. I will say (one eye open and head tilted) I think some but who am I to judge. I also believe not all gay people are gay I believe some do chose such a thing but to me that is not gay. I would be in the gay bar and a couple would walk in looking for some lesbian to go with them, well was his wife bisexual???? uhm you would think? I think I have said enough before I get real mad because gays need to practice what they preach accepted all people respect all people's choices! Most of all believe the impossible, who would choice such a thing??? uhm I would

At 9:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A friend who used to work for an ex-gay ministry (a comparatively good one, as these things go) once commented to me that the standard approach was "Blah blah blah .... and women, too."

I think that sums up a lot of it pretty accurately.

- e.


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