An Investigation of the Ex-Gay Movement

Jim Burroway from Box Turtle Bulletin has written a series of articles on his brave move to attend the “Love Won Out” traveling roadshow put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus which are well worth reading to understand the current rhetoric and rationalizations of the Ex-Gay movement.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Some things I thought were very interesting:
The smallest group of attendees are gay or “ex-gay” people. A much larger number of the attendees are Christians attending to get the latest rhetoric and rationalizations about how to go on the offensive towards the LGBT community. And by far the largest group of people attending are family members of gay people who are seeking information about how to “convert” or “fix” their gay family members. So in essence, it’s a bunch of people talking theory about converting gay people, but not actual “converted” gay people.
The people putting on the conference are certainly putting out a great deal of debunked and statistically and scientifically disproved ideas about the “causes” of homosexuality – the same old tired rhetoric that’s been shot down publicly over and over. And it’s distressing to read that they’re continuing with two ancient and completely offensive canards — that homosexuality is caused by bad parenting and/or childhood sexual abuse.
That’s even more disturbing considering that most of the people attending are family members of gay people — people who now blame themselves for something that they had no control over and had nothing to do with. That’s really sad.
For the record – I’ve said it over and over – I was never sexual abused as a child, and while my parents weren’t perfect, they did love us and raise us well. I love and think the world of both of my parents, who worked hard to give us a good life. They certainly didn’t make me gay by the way they raised me, and I resent their being blamed; there’s nothing wrong with me, so there is nothing to blame them for. The idea is offensive, and it makes me angry on their behalf.
Burroway came a way from the conference with a belief that using the word “hate” do describe what the conference is about was the wrong way to see it. I’m not convince by Burroway’s belief that it’s not about “hate.” It may be the case that attendees, especially family members seeking to “fix” their relatives are motivated by love for their families, and a desire to have a real connection with them. Unfortunately, those people just can’t see that the problem is not with themselves or with their relatives, but with society’s blind discrimination towards people who are different.
But the people putting on the conference, the people telling those relatives they’re responsible for the homosexuality of their family members, are certainly motivated by hatred and bigotry, no matter how nicely the terms are in which it’s expressed. I’ve said it time and again – it’s not the open bigotry of people like Tim Hardaway that we really have to be on guard against – it’s the soft bigotry of the anti-gay, “the love the sinner, but hate the sin” terminology that, like the devil quoting scripture, will allow them to continue to make us less than human.
Because there’s just no getting around the fact that my sexual orientation is an intrinsic part of me, the way my eye balls are, the way my thoughts are. You can’t love me but not my “gayness,” any more than you can love me but hate my eyes, or my right-handedness. And a desire to make me over into something other than what I am, to take away my sense of self, autonomy, and personal will, is not motivated by love or the desire to do good, and never has been.

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