View Full Version : "Ex-gay" ministries, "reparative therapy," etc.
03-04-2007, 12:32 PM
In this thread I'll post links and commentary on interesting stuff I find about "ex-gay" ministries.
First, I just now read the following review of the book Straight to Jesus: Sexual and Christian Conversions in the Ex-Gay Movement by Tanya Erzen:
Gay, godly and guilty (http://www.salon.com/books/review/2006/07/11/erzen/) by Laura Miller
According to the review:
Erzen spent 18 months hanging out with and interviewing the members and administrators of New Hope Ministry, which runs a residential program for evangelical Christian men who are 'struggling with homosexuality' in the San Francisco Bay Area
The book is unusual, in that:
Erzen wasn't interested in collecting fodder for political battles, though, and that's what makes "Straight to Jesus" so enlightening. As an ethnographer, she made every effort to listen to and understand everyone at New Hope Ministry, whether or not she agreed with their beliefs (and it's fairly clear that most of the time she didn't). That's practically unheard of in most popular discussions of charged issues like homosexuality -- and rare in scholarly discussions, either. Nowadays, everyone's convinced that they already know everything the other side has to say and that actually having to listen to it would constitute an insupportable demand on their own patience. Everyone thinks their side of the argument never gets any exposure, yet rabid, ranting opinion of all varieties howls at us everywhere we turn.
What emerges from "Straight to Jesus" is a far more nuanced and moving picture of the "ex-gay" movement than most readers will expect.
Among other things, according to Erzen, many people in the ex-gay movement do NOT support the religious right wing's political agenda and feel that the ex-gay movement has been misused by the religious right wing. Furthermore, when the ex-gay movement first got going in the 1970's, it got a rather unfriendly reception from many conservative Christian churches. Eventually the religious right wing began to find the ex-gay movement useful for propaganda purposes, but then painted what even many "ex-gays" themselves regard as an unrealistically rosy picture of how homosexuality can be "cured." Contrary to religious right wing propaganda, at least some ex-gay ministries see themselves as being more like Alcoholics Anonymous, in which hardly anyone is ever completely "cured."
Most of all, they believed that the "change" offered by New Hope and other ex-gay ministries had been grievously misrepresented. Even men who had been part of the New Hope community for years didn't consider themselves to have become heterosexual, and most didn't think they ever would be.
Also interesting was the following:
What they all seem to have experienced was rejection from the churches and communities they grew up in, which explains their mistrust of the Christian right. "Most of them can't handle the truth," one man told Erzen. "If you're in the church and you're a drug addict, murderer, whatever, guys will come up to you and slap you on the ass. But if you state that you struggle with homosexuality, you get the whole pew to yourself." Some of the men at New Hope had asked their fellow congregants for help and prayers, only to be shunned or told they were possessed by demons. Some didn't dare to speak of it at all.
But if their churches ostracized them, these men couldn't seem to shake the conservative faith they grew up with. One of the tenets of that faith is that, to quote a New Hope statement, "the Bible is the inspired word of God ... infallible ... inerrant in the original," and that it explicitly condemns homosexuality. Because they could never reconcile these deeply rooted beliefs with their homosexual behavior and relationships, those behaviors and relationships could never be truly joyful or satisfying, and because they had never had joyful or satisfying homosexual experiences, they assume that gay life is inherently empty and destructive.
Some further discussion about the book and the review can be found on this page in what is apparently a Christian forum (http://www.fotfforums.org/fusetalk/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=113&threadid=1145&enterthread=y).
03-04-2007, 01:11 PM
P.S. to the above:
Tanya Erzen's book, reviewed above, was based primarily on a study of one particular "ex-gay" ministry. It's not clear how typical that particular ministry and its clients are.
The better-known Exodus International would appear to be very much in bed with the religious right wing, judging by its website.
03-04-2007, 02:23 PM
On this page (http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/2006/08/would-that-be-a/) on Ex-Gay Watch, I came across this statement about the varying attitudes toward gay rights among "ex-gays" (http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/2006/08/would-that-be-a/#comment-16390). Their views on gay rights seem to range across the spectrum. Of three "ex-gays" the author of this statement had spoken to, one favored gay rights, another opposed most gay rights issues but also opposed the more fanatical anti-gay rhetoric, while a third was fanatically anti-gay.
03-04-2007, 09:57 PM
An example of an "ex-gay" ministry which is strongly critical of the religious right wing is Robert (Bob) Stephenson's Ex-Gay Christian Page (http://www.aineotheos.org/). Of course he still makes highly questionable claims about both the feasibility and the desirability of changing one's sexual orientation, but that's another matter.
03-04-2007, 11:43 PM
In the thread Ask Justin (http://www.gaychristian.net/community/showtopic.php?tid/13796803/tp/0/all/1/) on gaychristian.net, in a message written on 04-21-06, GCN Justin (the guy in charge) posted a parody of the Major-General's song from The Pirates of Penzance, titled I am the very model of an ex-gay individual. Some here might find it amusing.
03-05-2007, 11:34 AM
OMG that is hiLARious!!!! :lol:
03-05-2007, 12:34 PM
I didn't know if ya'll had seen this or not, but it's good!
Although it didn't get addressed, I think the header asks a crucial question:
IS 'EX-GAY' the same as HETEROSEXUAL?
03-19-2007, 07:49 PM
March 19th, 2007
Don’t miss TWO Executive Director Wayne Besen on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” tonight (March 19) at 11pm / 10c.
I've got listings for replays @ 1AM, 10AM, 2PM, and 8PM -- so check your local listings if you missed it. I'm sure it'll pop up on YouTube too.
03-28-2007, 12:12 AM
These are very interesting links. I have a persuasive essay coming up for my English class and I think I'll write on the ex-gay topic. Does anyone happen to know (or know where I can find some info on) what goes on in ex-gay camps to "fix" the homosexuality? My "knowledge" comes from the movie But I'm a Cheerleader, but it's a parody and probably not very true to what actually goes on in the camps.
I have yet to see that movie - really need to!! Hubby says it's a hoot!
Check out "Anything But Straight" by Wayne Besen. It's an entertaining read - he collects a range of research into the history of various ex-gay programs, AND he attends ex-gay ministries and conferences, AND he has a very, erm, *biting* writing style which will most likely keep you very entertained.
Adding: Wayne has a website, and he sells the book from there, or you can probably find it on amazon or in your local bookstore if there's a decent gay/lesbian section. Waynebesen.com, I think, for the site.
03-28-2007, 04:23 AM
besen is also the guy who runs truthwinsout.org, and I'm certain there's links to purchase the book from there.
Also, the Daily Show segment is hosted right on that site: hilarious. :)
03-28-2007, 07:33 AM
You might try also the book by Tanya Erzen reviewed in the article quoted in the first post in this thread.
Also the blog Ex-Gay Watch (http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/) may point you to some good sources.
03-28-2007, 09:23 AM
My "knowledge" comes from the movie But I'm a Cheerleader, but it's a parody and probably not very true to what actually goes on in the camps.
I'd keep my mind open in regard to that one. :lol:
I'm not kidding. :shifty:
The Ex-Gay Watch blog is one of my daily haunts, they are an excellent resource. You could probably find all you needed from their archives alone. :award:
I read Wayne Besen's "Anything But Straight" before Tanya Erzin's "Straight to Jesus." I found Waynes book to be a much easier and entertaining read than Tanya's, though they both have excellent information. :reading:
Wayne's style, despite accuracy, can be a bit flip for some :shield:, and Tanya seemed to go much more in depth and detailed with the characters she interviewed and observed. :sleep:
So it depends what you're looking for. But to be clear, I would recommend them both as resources. If I had to go with one though, I'd say Waynemeister calls it as he sees it. :whistleblower:
03-28-2007, 01:19 PM
Thank you, everyone! I will get on those books. I poked around some websites yesterday. Today my teacher informed us that we're not allowed to write about "gay marriages" and other emotional topics because you can't present both sides (or something) but ex-gay camps wasn't on the list and I'll refrain from asking her if we can write about it so she won't say no.
04-02-2007, 06:49 PM
Why is that people are expected to conform to a certain lifestyle to begin with, as if it was holy and sanctified and ordained by God.. I would have to say same sex relationships are not all about sex.. but a perference.. Even if these people conform, fit the mold, are they happy with what they have tried so desperately to change into. And my question is why?
While I think many want sincerely please God, does becoming heterosexual necessarily fit into God's plan.. What about the many dedicated GLBT people who serve through their churches, or help the poor and are involved in other causes , are they less worthy of God's favor.. ?
I remember reading a website on a female minister, a lesbian, and what struck me was the type of person she was , she had a son, and what impressed me is her relationship to her son.. She to me said something about being a great parent,a kind ,compassionate,caring and generous person and a very spiritual person .What I guess I saw was her character... And that very much did leave a positive impression on me... No one is going to convince me that this is a bad person one iota because she is a lesbian... As if being heterosexual automatically qualifies God's grace, I think not...:) there is alot more to a person than just their sexual orientation...
04-02-2007, 06:52 PM
What is virtue anyway.....? I think it has alot to do with the inner character and the heart...and none can convince me one iota that there aren't many glbt people with good hearts.. that aren't gifted , that aren't spiritual... I see it differently, If you want to know the true essence of a person and what is of what is of value to God it is the heart and the character.
04-02-2007, 07:33 PM
Let's look at the religious fundamentalists views and their black and white view of the wolrd.Heterosexual= GOOD. Homosexual = BAD. Now doesn't that smack of self righteousness.. some would equate this with dualism ... Le't examine that equation.. Does being heterosexual automatically make you a good person...? Apparently not.. not that I'm saying that being gay makes you automatically good either .I've seen the good and bad in both... I've seen people whom I admire in both.. But I will tell you I've seen GLBT people whom I would consider more spiritual than heterosexuals I know....Perhaps because too many of the heterosexuals identify with the externals of religion and conformity rather than the inner character and man , which is why I've been the least impressed by their theology..
Not to say there aren't heterosexuals who are't kind, or sincere.. but I really am not impressed with dogma ..or outer appearances...... The same woman I mentioned above that I admired might be considered bad , wrong, or even demon possessed by some bible thumping fundamentalists. The old saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder is quite true based on our subjective ideas or preferences. But it can be said that evil is often in the eye of the beholder and can be often seen as subjective to the frame of reference of the observer .
May I give you an example? Jesus Christ. Those who had read the bible know that Jesus was considered to live a blameless life, but he was often reviled, even said to be demon possessed and even when doing miracles some said he was doing it through the devil....Jesus said that John the baptist came fasting and praying but the son of man was called gluttenous and a winebibber because he drank wine and did not partake of the usual jewish rituals in many cases.
He was criticised for breaking the laws of the sabbath on many occasions... Now do you see why evil can be subjective as a thought and pertain to a mindset rather than as a objective or undistorted reality? Even with the good Jesus did ,he was still reviled and maligned and misunderstood.. While I won't deny that there aren't people who can't do evil like committing atrocities against others..I would think it not wise to let others to define your goodness or value as a person, through their approval or lack there of..Jesus was often seen through other's distorted frame of reference but it did not make hime evil or a drunk or the devil or demon possessed...
04-02-2007, 07:51 PM
I also like Dr Margaret Paul's definition of bad, it is the conscious, malignant attempt or malicious attempt to harm others...The bible? Love does no harm to a neighbor( or I should say, deliberate harm to others)
04-03-2007, 11:47 AM
(Austin, TX) -- Survivors of ex-gay programs can take advantage of two new resources this week. BeyondExGay.com, an online community for those who are healing from ex-gay experiences, will go live today. Simultaneously, online registration will begin for The Survivor's Conference: Beyond Ex-gay, a face-to-face event scheduled for June 29-July 1, and sponsored by beyondexgay.com and Soulforce.
I haven't seen this posted yet so I thought I'd offer it.
Soulforce press release page:
And of course:
..For some reason I get chills at the thought of this. (good chills)
04-03-2007, 06:10 PM
Kewl , now at least people that have been in these exgay ministries that have been disheartened and feel like failures in the eyes of God, have a support system to help them. I feel that is long overdue... And what a novel idea.. if the exgay ministries can try to lure people into changing why not have a pro gay ministry that helps people to accept themselves and helps promote healing in a constructive way.
04-03-2007, 06:55 PM
I can say something about the people of the Soul Force community, many are gifted , talented, highly intelligent, among others... That there can be a diversity of views and tolerance and dialogue among others who may not share the same religion or views and it does not degenerate into ugliness and arguments about who is right and who is wrong says alot. That people basically show respect for other's views while not always agreeing with them says alot about this forum too.
This is a much better forum than what I've seen on many forums where they get into arguments, name calling and seem to hold to their own view as absolutely correct while others are wrong. I'm not talking about GLBT forums but forums in general. When I was on the copper forum I encountered a certain amount of hostility for expressing my views.
Many of these people were adamant that the GLBT community were immoral and one man said that gays should be marked like they were in Nazi Germany to identify them, however another man even though not agreeing with the GLBT life style, told the other man, that he thought that was wrong and that people should not be degraded or treated that way..while he didn't agree with GLBT lifestyle he didn't agree with violence or hatred directed at them.. So there is some hope... As far as my family....
My sister in law said she didn't approve of the lifestyle (But she has a sister who is gay) But she doesn't have hostility toward them, nor has she disowned her sister.
My brother who is conservative Christian, may not agree with the lifestyle, but he does not believe that GLBT people should be mistreated and have discrimination directed at them where they are deprived of their basic civil rights.( My mother and brother also a few times went to a GLBT church I used to go to.. my mother wasn't embarrased or acted like she didn't want to be there )
My aunt on my mothers side, doesn't express her views but we have a good relationship and basically she never really has much bad to say about other people in general. She is always hugging me and joking with me.
My cousin who I am close to could care less about it..
My other sister in law whom my second eldest brother married is like live and let live and ,"Hey it doesn't bother me." "Why should it."(She has lesbian friends)
My niece is much the same..and really isn't that concerned with it..
My youngest brother basically doesn't really let him bother him.
I guess each to his own.. But had I had experienced outright rejection from my family they would have come right out and said things to me.. They aren't that shy and reserved.. LOL
I will add when I was having personal conflicts and struggling with my own idenity and sexuality, that did not come from my family in general.. they did not beat me over the head with ''You are bad".....I apparently picked up things from religion ,what I heard, the bible (or how I interpreted it) and society at large .
04-14-2007, 01:17 PM
Ex- Ex-Gay Christine Bakke in This Month’s “Glamour”
April 10th, 2007
Box Turtle Bulletin (http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/category/ex-ex-gays/)
“They tried to cure me of being gay”
By Stephen Fried
(about Christine Bakke)
04-14-2007, 11:52 PM
I read that article on Christine, but it seems like her only family is slowly coming around. Even if they don't approve of the lifestyle.
04-15-2007, 12:11 AM
You might find this an interesting read:http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/category/activists-anti-gay/24/ this is recent ,April 5,2007 and:
http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/Articles/000,015.htm, The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality.(notice he writes "a parody with a purpose.")
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