While 2009 will be remembered for the worldwide economic recession, for the ex-gay industry, it will be known as The Great Moral Depression. It was a dreadful year for such programs, as they showed themselves to be a global menace run by reprobates, such as Exodus’ Randy Thomas and Alan Chambers, who combined a dangerous dose of arrogance and incompetence. Much like the Roman Catholic Church, these men ignored a credible allegation of abuse for more than six months and engaged in a dangerous game of denial.
Whatever shard of credibility this industry had was stripped away in 2009. It was a year where such programs were harshly rebuked by the mental health establishment. An important new study showed that their retrograde methods of shame and blame harmed LGBT people. The old, outdated research that they stubbornly latched onto for dear life seemed to betray them and then vanish into thin air.
Several “ex-gay” heroes turned out to be zeros and slithered away into the mist. The past 12 months, if anything, unmasked the facade of “love” this industry cynically showers on potential clients and an often gullible media. In 2009, the world saw ex-gay programs for what they are: A sugar coated excuse for homophobia.
Exodus was revealed as a front for international hate groups, who used the group’s credulous leaders as pawns in an international struggle for theocracy. PFOX stepped forward and showed, time and again, that it was just plain nuts.
NARTH put out an embarrassingly shoddy “study” that was so pathetic it was virtually ignored by the media. By the end of 2009, NARTH had solidified its place as a cabal of embittered and irrelevant quacks on the far outer fringes of psychology. Homosexuals Anonymous was, well, anonymous. The Catholic ex-gay group Courage also had a meager profile and had little impact on popular culture. And, JONAH, the Jewish ex-gay group, continued to humiliate itself through its affiliation with crackpot Born Again sexual reorientation coach Richard Cohen.
May 2010 bring the same abundance of truth and light regarding the ex-gay fraud we had in 2009. Here are the Top 10 ex-gay related stories of the year. Please feel free to comment on any major items I may have missed.
10) The Passing of The Old Guard
Focus on the Family co-founder James Dobson announced that he was stepping down. He was an arch-homophobe who once claimed allowing gay people to marry would end the earth. Under Dobson’s leadership, this mega-ministry started the ex-gay roadshow Love Won Out. Dobson’s retirement represents the winding down of the old guard. This includes the passing of other ex-gay proponents or anti-gay preachers such as Rev. Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy and Oral Roberts. A new generation of Evangelicals will hopefully join the reality-based community and break with the past. However, there is reason to be skeptical, considering the leader of the pack is Rick Warren, who isn’t too much better than his predecessors.
9) The Fizzling Out of Michael Glatze and Stephen Bennett
Michael Glatze (left) was formerly co-editor of XY Magazine and YGA Magazine, publications directed at LGBT youth. He and his partner of ten years, Benjie Nycum, also co-authored the book XY Survival Guide.
Glatze’s ventures went belly-up and he seemed to disappear from LGBT activism. He reemerged in July 2007 with a disgusting op-ed on the extremist website WorldNetDaily, where he announced he was “ex-gay” (although he had no experience with women)
Glatze alleged sexual conversion seems, in part, to have come from a sort-of nervous breakdown. He reported that he suffered from frequent panic attacks and that he obsessed about death.
In late September, Glatze contacted me, hoping that I would interview him and reinvigorate his flagging career as an “ex-gay”. I refused to oblige his publicity stunt, and so did LGBT advocates at other sites.
Glatze’s downfall came when he opened an incoherent vanity blog and wrote:
“Have I mentioned lately how utterly *disgusting* Obama is? And, yes, it’ because he’ black. God, help us all….It’ a shame Obama is black. He could end up setting back race relations decades.”
Condemned for his idiotic comment about President Obama, Glatze sent out a rambling e-mail announcing his career as an ex-gay spokesperson had fizzled and he was retiring. Chalk Glatze up to a pitiful flash in the pan.
Similarly, 2009 was the year that big haired ex-gay activist Stephen Bennett (left) completely vanished from the scene. And, Anthony Falzarano’s (founder of PFOX) attempted return to the spotlight also petered out.
8) The Lisa Miller Kidnapping and Abduction Case
Lisa Miller broke up with partner Janet Jenkins (Right) after becoming a born again “ex-gay”. In a fit of holier-than-thou zeal, Miller went on the lam and absconded from Vermont with their child, Isabella, that the couple was raising together after having a Civil Union.
As a result of Miller’ poor parenting and criminal behavior (she was cited for contempt of court), a Vermont court transferred custody to Jenkins (after a five year legal ordeal that will surely leave emotional scars on their child Isabella) and refused a motion to delay transfer, as requested by Miller’ law team.
People for the American Way’ Right Wing Watch reports that the location of Miller and 7-year-old Isabella Miller are presently “unknown”. This is highly problematic because the court order takes effect on New Year’ Day.
Janet Jenkins filed a missing person report in Virginia on Wednesday in hopes of finding her 7-year-old daughter, according to her lawyer. Unfortunately, Miller’s outlaw behavior has been cheered on by ex-gay activists who want to pretend they are martyrs, rather than criminal miscreants.
7) The Caitlin Ryan Study
The January 2009 issue of Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics reported on a new study by San Francisco State researcher Caitlin Ryan. Her research concluded that, “Teens who experienced negative feedback (when they came out as LGBT) were more than eight times as likely to have attempted suicide, nearly six times as vulnerable to severe depression and more than three times at risk of drug use.”
This definitive study was hugely important because it contradicted the claim by “ex-gay” activists that homosexuality was the root cause of such problems. Indeed, it was ex-gay programs – the epitome of negative feedback – that led to the destruction of LGBT people.
6) Exodus Bungles Corduroy Stone Scandal After TWO Exposes Abuse
Exodus International officially cut ties with its Lansing affiliate Corduroy Stone after charges were made by an ex-gay survivor that the sessions included harmful and bizarre therapy.
In August, Patrick McAlvey made the charges against Corduroy Stone’s Mike Jones in a Truth Wins Out video. At the age of 19, McAlvey, who came from a religious background, was terrified that he might be gay. Feeling vulnerable and desperate to change, he placed his trust in Mike Jones and Corduroy Stone.
“He asked how large my penis was,” McAlvey explained of Jones’ therapy. “He asked if I shave my pubic hair. He asked what type of underwear that I wore.
He wanted me to describe my sexual fantasies to him and the type of men I’m attracted to. On one occasion, he asked me to take my shirt off and show him how many push-ups I could do, which I did not do.”
Tragically, it took Exodus until December to take action and cut ties with this renegade ministry. Exodus’ dithering in the face of scandal cost precious time and may have placed additional youth in harm’ way. This was a key episode in 2009 because it underscored how Exodus has little control over its satellite ministries and each one is an independent fiefdom with its own rules and techniques. Exodus is no more than a Wild West and an unprofessional hodgepodge of fundamentalist pop-psychology combined with spiritual warfare and efforts to pray away the gay.
5) Ex-Gay Charlatan Matthew C. Manning Unmasked As A Fraud
A report by the website, “Ex-Gay Watch” cast a dark cloud of skepticism over “ex-gay” activist Matthew Manning’ tale of being “delivered” from homosexuality and AIDS. According to the report, Manning has been repeatedly dragged into court for allegations of inappropriate behavior and was even banned from a popular gym after improper sexual advances were made on a 22-year-old heterosexual male. Manning, a frequent television guest and the founder of Lighthouse World Evangelism Inc., based in Santa Rosa, California, has yet to comment on the allegations made in the investigative report.
4) Focus on the Family Abandons “Love Won Out” Road Show
Focus on the Family held its final Love Won Out conference in Birmingham, AL, after pawning the program off on Exodus International. The notorious road show was sold under duress, in the midst of financial trouble for the mega-ministry based in Colorado Springs. Love Won Out was started by “ex-gay” organizer, John Paulk, who I photographed in a Washington, DC gay bar in Sept. 2000.
Although Focus on the Family will still work with Exodus, the sale of this conference suggests disenchantment with the ex-gay message. If it were working and people were still being fooled, there is little chance that Focus on the Family would have dumped a program so central to its anti-gay work. This development does not bode well for the long-term future of Exodus and may signal that ex-gay propaganda is losing sway and in decline with larger fundamentalist ministries.
3) Infamous Masters & Johnson Study Debunked
For decades, anti-gay organizations have gleefully pointed to Masters & Johnson’s 1979 book, “Homosexuality in Perspective”, that claimed to cure homosexuality. Indeed, Dr. William H. Masters and Virgina E. Johnson, the husband and wife sex research team, went on Meet the Press on Sunday, April 22, 1979, to discuss their finding that homosexuals could be converted into heterosexuals. The book has since been used by the so-called “ex-gay” industry to “prove” gays could go straight, if they just tried hard enough.
In his groundbreaking new book, “Masters of Sex”, author Thomas Maier discovered through investigative reporting that the results of Masters & Johnson’s study were entirely fabricated. Virginia Johnson acknowledged that the results were fake. She had actually argued in 1978 that book should never have seen the light of day – but it was already too late in the publishing process to undo the damage. One can not overstate the importance of Maier’s findings. They undo the very underpinnings of the so-called “ex-gay” therapy movement, further showing that there is no scientific evidence or data to support the outdated idea that gay people can become heterosexual through therapy. Indeed, many people who have undergone such “treatment” claim the experience was harmful and that they were psychologically damaged. The American Psychiatric Association says that attempts to change sexual orientation can lead to “anxiety, depression and self-destructive behavior.”
2) Landmark American Psychological Association Report
The American Psychological Association adopted a resolution and released a historic report that explicitly says that “there is insufficient evidence” for therapists to claim conversion therapy works. The APA report also admonished so-called “ex-gay” counselors to not mislead clients by telling them that their sexual orientation can be changed.
The APA report cast doubt on efforts to change sexual orientation and said, “Enduring change to an individual’ sexual orientation was unlikely.” It also questioned the objectivity of some counselors promoting “change” programs and cautioned them to not “prioritize one outcome over another.”
1) Ex-Gays Directly Tied To Uganda Anti-Gay Death Bill
In the history of the “ex-gay” industry – Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 is a defining event. It is a grotesque tragedy that lives in infamy and will eternally tarnish and haunt America’s “ex-gay” activists – even if the bill does not pass. The role of so-called “ex-gays” highlights how such programs are cynically used by hate groups to justify bigotry, oppression and even violence against LGBT people.
Exodus leaders, Randy Thomas and Alan Chambers, are either complicit in the Ugandan witch hunt or they are silly dupes, easily manipulated and exploited by their more cunning fundamentalist friends. Either way, both men should resign immediately for their role (witting or unwitting) in this potential blood bath.
In March, American anti-gay activists traveled to Uganda for a conference that pledged to “wipe out” homosexuality. Seven months later, a draconian bill has been introduced that pledges to make good on this threat. The “Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009″ is so severe that it is designed to shred the spirit and suffocate the soul of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Ugandans. If it passes, Uganda will become a predator state that actively hunts down GLBT people to destroy them.
Uganda already punished gay intimacy with life in prison. But, apparently that was not harsh enough, with this bill penalizing anyone who “attempts to commit the offence” with up to seven years in jail. Additionally, a person charged will be forced to undergo an invasive medical examination to determine their HIV status. If the detainees are found to be HIV+, they may be executed.
This barbaric legislation stifles free speech by threatening anyone who is accused of “promoting” homosexuality with five to seven year prison sentences. Snitching on gay friends and family members is strongly encouraged because “failure to disclose the ‘offence’ within 24 hours of knowledge makes somebody liable to a fine or imprisonment of up to three years.”
Sadly, this witch-hunt has the blood stained fingerprints of leading American evangelicals. The Fellowship, (aka The Family) one of America’s most powerful and secretive fundamentalist organization’s, converted Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni to its anti-gay brand of Christianity, which is the “intellectual” impetus behind the anti-gay crackdown.
The origins of this disgusting murder bill are traced back to a notorious anti-gay conference held in Kampala last Spring. The seminar featured Scott Lively, author of The Pink Swastika, who blames the holocaust on gay people.
The hate forum also featured Don Schmierer, a board member of the “ex-gay” organization Exodus International, and Caleb Lee Brundidge, who works with discredited ex-gay “reorientation coach” Richard Cohen. These American “ex-gay” activists clearly left their stamp on this evil legislation, giving Ugandan officials a way to justify the abuse because they can claim that “sinful” gays can choose to change.
“This legislation further recognizes the fact that same sex attraction is not an innate and immutable characteristic and that people who experience this mental disorder can and have changed to a heterosexual orientation,” the bill said. “It also recognizes that because homosexuals are not born that way, but develop this disorder based on experiences and environmental conditions, it is preventable, especially among young people who are most vulnerable to recruitment into the homosexual lifestyle.”
If this is not a smoking gun, than what is?
Following the infamous conference, a Kampala newspaper named local gay people, placing their lives in immediate danger. Now, the government may soon declare it open season on GLBT individuals.
The Uganda legislature is currently debating this evil bill. The lives and freedom of tens of thousands of LGBT Ugandans hang in the balance – thanks to America’s “ex-gay” industry.
** Manifested Glory Ministries Excorcism
** Box Turtle Bulletin’s excellent coverage of events in Uganda
** Porno Pete Anthem by the Cross Eyed Iguanas
** Focus on the Family Slammed For Distorting research
** Actor Glenn Shaddix Comes Out About Experience With “Ex-Gay” Shock Therapy
** The Manhattan Declaration