In comments at the Ex-Gay Watch blog, self-styled moderate ex-gay advocate Karen Keen defends a special “right” of ex-gays who oppose civil rights to appear at the conventions of organizations that support civil rights for all.
Since it was created by the Family Research Council in 1996, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays has hosted private parental discussion forums that promote discrimination in employment and family law, ostracism in places of worship, factual falsehoods about sexual orientation in schools, and sweeping defamations about the “lifestyle” of same-sex-attracted persons. Two PFOX webmasters — “Burning Black Triangle” and Gabriel Espinosa — have advocated antigay violence. More recently, PFOX vice president Estella Salvatierra has apparently unleashed Fred-Phelps-like tirades at Virginia fair-goers in order to provoke physical altercations with passersby who are unfamiliar with PFOX’s headline-craving tactics.
PFOX advocates in Maryland against equal access to public facilities for gay and gender-variant Marylanders, and PFOX recently lost a Maryland battle against comprehensive sex education.
Despite Keen’s interest in dampening any inquiry while claiming victimhood, PFOX’s exhibit at a 2006 convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is well worth investigation: Did NAACP mistakenly believe that PFOX supports civil and constitutional rights for all? Did PFOX falsely claim that ex-gayness is a sexual orientation that is somehow distinct from homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality? Did PFOX disclose to NAACP that it endorses programs that enjoy a zero percent success rate at changing orientation, or that those programs have resulted in hundreds, perhaps thousands, of injured survivors?
These facts are readily available at web sites such as XGW, Truth Wins Out, and WayneBesen.com. In her comments, however, Keen promotes a moral relativism that treats all so-called “voices” as not only valid, but worthy of airing on the soapboxes of rival organizations — no matter how unfactual, unsubstantiated, defamatory, and incendiary those views may be.
Keen compounds this moral relativism with some inertia against checking her facts and performing simple research about the political groups that she identifies and sympathizes with. To be fair, Keen did attend the Beyond Ex-Gay gathering of former ex-gays in 2007; she has shown initiative at times. And yet, in her absent-minded defense of PFOX, Keen seems to have forgotten the homophobic family abuse that witnesses and survivors recalled at that gathering — abuse that has been intentionally encouraged and perpetuated by PFOX.
Amnesia and disinterest in fact-checking seem to be a requirement for advocates of the ex-gay fraud: One must constantly forget the abuses and falsehoods that one has committed — or witnessed among one’s peers — in order to justify continuing such advocacy.
Why, exactly, do ex-gay advocates such as Keen feel “censored” when they are required to prove their claims and document their quackery — or when organizations such as NAACP are asked to reconsider giving ex-gays a soapbox for their opposition to civil and constitutional rights?
Perhaps it is because today’s ex-gay advocates feel unable to meet reasonable standards for moral and factual accountability. They only experience the true “freedom” that is promised by Exodus International when critics are prevented from voicing plain facts that naturally cause would-be allies to walk away from ex-gay activists in disgust. Ex-gay activists equate criticism with censorship because few people wish to waste time listening to ex-gay double-talk about civil rights and equality, once the facts are known.