The ex-gay “Love Won Out” roadshow has, since its inception, taught parents, clergy, and would-be “ex-gays” not to trust mainstream mental health professionals or mainstream science regarding sexual orientation.
Instead, LWO speakers use vague and mostly un-Biblical religious language, discredited claims, and misquotations of legitimate research to blame overmothering, absent fathering, and abuse — without exception — for homosexuality. LWO also denies the existence of sexual orientation as opposed to mere sexual temptation. The program stereotypes gay men as insufficiently masculine, lesbians as insufficiently feminine, and both as depressed sex addicts.
The solution, they say, is not mainstream psychiatric care; it’s a heavy dose of blame, political correctness, prayer, and acting-out of stereotypical masculine or feminine behavior.
In a promotion for its roadshow this weekend in Birmingham, Ala., Focus on the Family doesn’t deny Truth Wins Out’s allegation that “Love Won Out tells young people and their families that they aren’t whole and that they should and can change — which isn’t true.”
Instead, activist Joe Dallas — who claims to be a former homosexual and writes books damning gay people of faith and their values — portrays himself as though he were a leader of an organization that ex-gays frequently condemn: the gay-affirming parents group PFLAG. According to Dallas, LWO does not teach parents to hate or coerce.
“Just the opposite,” he said. “We teach parents how important it is to love and care for their sons or daughters, no matter what choices they make.”
That sounds nice, but like so many statements by Focus on the Family, it’s a half-truth. Dallas teaches parents and pastors to believe prejudices about LGBT persons and to reject the plain truths spoken by these persons (and expert researchers) as if they were satanic deceptions. Dallas is neither tolerant nor respectful toward people of his same religion who disagree with his antigay prejudices and his sloppy, egocentric theology. He divides families according to his own political and religious agendas. And he uses the word “choice” to describe sexual orientation — a cruel hoax that is rejected even by some conservative Christian researchers. In short, Dallas defines “love and care” the way most sensible people define “hate and coerce.”
Meanwhile, his LWO colleague Melissa Fryrear says, “Moms and dads shouldn’t have to relinquish their religious convictions.” But she makes it clear that, given a choice between political and religious correctness and the health, welfare, and love of their children, parents should choose the former.
It is hateful to deliberately and persistently lie about the nature of sexual orientation in one’s relatives, as Dallas, Fryrear, and LWO teach parents to do. It is hateful to deliberately lie about the attractions, character, values, choices, and “lifestyle” of one’s relatives. And it is coercive to manipulate relatives by requiring them to conform to LWO stereotypes, stigmatizing relatives and their partners, and denying relatives full equality in religion, housing, employment, and public services.
Focus on the Family equates prejudice with love, and ignorant manipulation with care.
Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, will be on hand in Birmingham on Saturday to support local LGBT people and their affirming families and allies in protest against FOTF’s grotesque assault against family integrity and human dignity.