Today’s New York Times tells the gruesome story of Ahmet Yildiz, a gay student in Istanbul, gunned down by his own father, who had gone mad after he discovered Ahmet was gay. According to Ahmet Kaya, Yildiz’ cousin, the notion that people could go from gay-to-straight through prayer and therapy entered into the deadly equation.
“Ahmet’ father had warned him to return to their village and to see a doctor and imam in order to cure him of his homosexuality and get married, but Ahmet refused,” Mr. Kaya said. “Ahmet loved his family more than anything else and he was tortured about disappointing them. But in the end, he decided to be who he was.”
Interestingly, Exodus Global Alliance is now working its scientific sorcery in the Middle East, with its website proclaiming, “Contact the Exodus Global Alliance office in Canada for information on the work of Exodus in Middle East.”
While there is no direct link between this so-called “honor” killing and Exodus, they are the primary worldwide source of misinformation, teaching distraught, religious parents that “Change is Possible.” I do not doubt that Exodus opposes such brutality. They did not cause this killing, nor would they approve. But, once this group pushes its destructive pseudoscience on the Internet, in the Middle East and in Africa, it clearly loses control of how these messages may be interpreted.
We may never know if Ahmet Yildiz might be alive today had his father not been sold the lie that his son could be “cured”. However, we do know that Exodus’ forays into cultures they do not understand, such as Uganda, have led to serious consequences.
A very real change did occur for Yildiz. He is dead. Pushing the notion that one can “pray away the gay” can have serious ramifications that it appears Exodus has yet to grapple.