With Exodus International President Alan Chambers admitting to several news organizations that there is no “cure” for homosexuality, I think it is fair to say we have defeated the “ex-gay” myth. (There will be no Mission Accomplished banner because the battle continues)
Of course, as long as there is anti-gay prejudice and discrimination – and money to be made by exploiting it – some form of “ex-gay” programs will exist. Even with the war subsiding, numerous battles will be fought with sundry charlatans and dead enders. But let’s be honest, from this point forward they will be operating under an enormous cloud of doubt that will overshadow most of their outrageous claims.
Sure, people will still be harmed and lives destroyed – but not as many as before. Yes, the Religious Right will still claim “ex-gay” programs work, but they will not invest millions of dollars into splashy advertising campaigns because they have discovered that betting on “ex-gays” is a risky strategy that usually backfires. No, the sensationalistic media will not stop interviewing these clowns, but they will increasingly treat them like the circus acts they truly are.
What’s next? In the near future, Truth Wins Out will focus on:
1) Banning reparative therapy for minors in all 50 states
2) Enhancing our research capabilities against the “ex-gay” myth
3) Working to keep the “ex-gay” industry from exploiting overseas markets
As I have stated before, the “ex-gay” industry is an assembly line of lies where failures replace frauds. After Chambers is run out of town, or the Religious Right withdraws funding leaving Exodus broke, or the predatory program shuts down on its own volition, or hangs around sinking into irrelevance, new vultures will step in to fill the void.
We already have a few “ex-gay” understudies vying to unseat Chambers for the lead role. Each one is more bizarre and extreme than the next, which should make our job at Truth Wins Out rather interesting.
If you want a glimpse of the future, take a look at the interview I did last week on the David Pakman Show, where former Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt offered to give me an exorcism to rid me of my homosexuality. Indeed, such “spiritual warfare” will likely play a greater role in the “ex-gay” industry, as various entrepreneurs compete for the coveted role of the “anti-Chambers.”
One candidate for the job is Andy Comiskey (pictured), founder of Desert Stream ministries, and a malcontent who led the recent schism at Exodus. In his book, “Pursuing Sexual Wholeness,” Comiskey calls homosexuality “spiritual disfigurement” and believes that “Satan delights in homosexual perversion because it not only exists outside of marriage, but it also defiles God’s very image reflected as male and female.” He also writes, “Another related source of demonization is the homosexual relationship itself…That attachment and communion are indeed inspired, but their source is demonic.”
We will also see more of Greg Quinlan, the president of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX). Perpetually angry and aggrieved, his specialty is claiming “ex-gays” are victims, even while hurling vicious insults at the LGBT community. Quinlan is extremely uncomfortable with his masculinity and likes to tell audiences how butch he is by proclaiming that he isn’t a “flaming faggot.” (8:00-8:13 of video)
Chad Thompson (pictured), author of “Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would,” is trying to fill the vacuum by offering himself up as a consultant for $60 an hour. The charlatan sent out a desperate e-mail this week that read: “Get personal help from an expert that has helped thousands of people worldwide deal with the issue of homosexuality in their own lives and the lives of their loved ones.” (I’ve never seen Thompson present one success story – other than himself on his book tour)
Thompson has no mental health credentials and doesn’t even have the wherewithal to find a useless psychology degree on the Internet like other reparative therapy quacks. To legally cover his behind, Thompson writes on his sloppy, typo-laden website: “Personal consultation sessions are not to be substituted for theraputic [sic] counseling. Though his role may similiar [sic] to a therapist, Chad is consultant, not a mental health counselor.”
On the plus side, at least Thomson isn’t masquerading as an English tutor.
The newest spokesperson for the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) is David Pickup who promises in his comical video, The Workout, “to help a man dealing with homosexual issues to go deep.” I suppose that he is an improvement over former NARTH board member, George Rekers, who went deep on a vacation with an escort he met on Rentboy.com.
And finally we have the reemergence of Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, MD the author of “Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth.” He is the genius who suggested in his book that Prozac might be a cure for homosexuality. He also reported on a case in his book where the homosexuality of a man getting treatment for stuttering “spontaneously remitted.” (I better skip my physical next week at the doctor. She might knock my knee with the little rubber reflex hammer and I’ll go straight.)
While this combination of ambitious retreads and shiny new faces will spout the same lies of old, they will run into the brick wall of history. When we first started fighting the lies of the “ex-gay” industry, we had relatively few tools at our disposal.
Now we have three generations of “ex-gay” activists who have either come out of the closet, acknowledged reparative therapy does not work, or had to step down from scandal.
The first wave includes Michael Bussee, a co-founder of Exodus International, who left the program to marry his partner Gary, who was also involved in Exodus. In the second wave, we have hypocrites like John Paulk, who graced the cover of Newsweek before getting photographed by me in a gay bar. And Michael Johnston, the founder of National Coming Out of Homosexuality Day, who was caught having hotel room orgies with men he met online.
The third wave now includes Love in Action’s John Smid and Exodus’ Alan Chambers, both of whom said that people might change their sexual behavior, but not their orientation.
In essence, the new crop of “ex-gay” con artists will not only be fighting Truth Wins Out, but the tide of history, increased societal acceptance of LGBT people, and fresh statements from “ex-gay” activists that immediately diminish the credibility and believability of such spokespeople.
So, when I say that we have won, I don’t mean to impart the idea that we are through fighting these frauds. Only that we will be battling downhill with greater weaponry, while our foes will be running uphill with slingshots.
Given this new reality, I like our odds.