Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Pure. Simple. Abuse.

Salon.com is running a four part series examining the ex-gay movement and ex-gay "therapy." The series is written by Mark Benjamin, a straight married guy with kids.

Today, the second part of the series was published. In today's story, Mark describes an ex-gay therapy session (at a cost of $140/hour) that he participated in. The session took place in Rockville, MD, right outside of Washington, DC. And this is some of what Mark was told about his "homosexual feelings" by his "Doctor":

Take the young boy who is more sensitive, more delicate, who doesn't like rough-and-tumble, who is artistic. He can't hit the ball, fire the gun or shoot an arrow. There is a high correlation between poor eye-hand coordination and same-sex attraction.

Mark also investigated ex-gay camps and found this requirement at one:
Love in Action bars jewelry and clothing by Abercrombie and Fitch. The rules prohibit "campy gay/lesbian behavior and talk."

And explored some of the beliefs of PFOX President Richard Cohen:
We are going to march across the country and we are going to help parents organize in every county. We want parents to check out the curriculum in every place where sex ed is being taught, and if they are advocating homosexuality without any other diverse views being offered to the children, we will help them with a legal defense.

A few disturbing things are clear from the articles: The ex-gay movement is growing in energy and they are winning battles.

As a member of the isolated gay community in Washington, DC, it is hard to imagine that people still fall prey to the disturbing and warped ex-gay message. At a certain point, a healthy gay individual gets so comfortable in their skin they forget what it was like to be uncomfortable all those years before they came out. And it is the uncomfortable period that ex-gay ministries and therapies continue to take advantage of.

Perhaps better than anyone else, ex-gays know that the coming-out period, no matter when it occurs in one's life, is a developmental period of self-discovery. While someone is coming out, they are usually emotionally fragile and easily influenced by others. Ex-gays use this knowledge to their advantage and offer a "remedy" for gay people not yet comfortable in their skin. However, the medicine that ex-gays offer may taste sweet at first, but as most health professionals point out the side effects are pure abuse on the body.

A youth blogger named Zach was recently sent by his parents to an unlicensed and unregulated ex-gay camp. Zach reported on his blog that he felt emotionally disturbed and terrified by the camp.

The ex-gay community is not silent. It is touting science-fiction as fact and abusing individuals, including youth, across the country. Some people in e-gay therapy have event taken their own life, like Mary Lou Wallner's daughter.

It is time that the isolated gay community come out like the ex-gay movement has and really define the hatred that ex-gays mask in love. We may think this issue has been swept under the rug, but the ex-gay agenda is more than useless dogma now. Ex-gay advocates have made it more real and declared war on our souls.

We need to fight back.

1 comment:

Peterson Toscano said...

I agree. By targeting queer youth, they have done the very thing they accused us of doing all these years, recruiting and converting youth.

So what will queer folks do to respond? We need to draw on our creativity, intelligence and humanity to speak out and act out.