Due to unexpected Volcanic Activity in Iceland The Event Has Been Postponed
New Date of Event TBA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Wayne Besen
U.S. Based Ex-Gay Program On Global Crusade to Convert Gays, Says TWO
Truth Wins Out founder Wayne Besen will give a presentation in Belfast on the harm caused by the so-called “ex-gay” industry, which unsuccessfully tries to turn gay people straight through prayer and therapy. The multi-media event is sponsored by Changing Attitudes Ireland and will occur on Wednesday, April 21 at 7:30 PM in the Central Hall of the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church, Rosemary St.
The following day, American ex-gay activist Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, will host the “Leaving Homosexuality Celebration”. The anti-gay event is sponsored by Core, a fundamentalist ministry that claims to, “support local churches in their efforts to provide appropriate pastoral support for those with unwanted same sex attraction. The service recognizes God’ grace for many individuals making the journey out of homosexuality.”
“Exodus is targeting Ireland and other countries because they have been thoroughly debunked and discredited in America,” said Wayne Besen, founder and Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. “Their antiquated efforts are rejected by every respected medical and mental health organization and they have left a trail of hurt and suffering. Having failed at home they are now looking for fertile territory abroad where they can exploit desperate and vulnerable people and profit from their pain. We urge people to explore the group’ dismal record and history of scandal before giving Exodus money.”
Wayne Besen is the Founding Executive Director of Truth Wins Out and author of “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth” (Haworth, 2003). In 2006, Besen was named one of the Advocate Magazine’ “People of the Year” for his work with TWO.
Besen has appeared as a guest on leading news and political talk shows including: the NBC Nightly News, CNN, Fox’ O’Reilly Factor and Hannity and Colmes, MSNBC News and Comedy Central’ The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and Rolling Stone Magazine have quoted Besen.
Alan Chambers’ appearance marks the second time an American ex-gay speaker has visited Belfast in 2010. On February 19-21, Exodus activist Rev. Mario Bergner, author of “Setting Love in Order: Hope and Healing for the Homosexual,” hosted an ex-gay seminar.
Exodus’ overseas ventures achieved notoriety last year, after its board member Don Schmierer gave a presentation at an anti-gay conference in Uganda, where the goal was to “wipe out” homosexuality. Shortly after his visit, the infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill was introduced in Uganda’ parliament.
“Exodus International continues to obliviously globe-trot even though they have no understanding of the cultures they inculcate with intolerance and homophobia,” said Besen. “They would do better to stay home and stop the dangerous and irresponsible exporting of hate.”
Exodus International is a worldwide umbrella group for ex-gay organizations and has more than 100 affiliated ministries or counselors. The Orlando-based organization has a one million dollar annual budget and seventeen staff members. Part of its mission is to lobby’ state capitals and Congress to pass discriminatory laws.
While Exodus claims it can “change” LGBT people, what they really offer is an alteration of outward behavior. For example, in a June 18, 2007 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Chambers said, “By no means would we ever say change can be sudden or complete” and that sexual orientation “isn’t a light switch that you can switch on and off.”
Of course, the evidence suggests that even the behavioral changes are temporary. For instance, in 2000, Besen photographed John Paulk, Exodus’ former chairman, in a gay bar. Paulk had previously appeared on the cover of Newsweek magazine. Two of Exodus’ founders, Gary Cooper and Michael Bussee, fell in love in 1978, left the organization and held a commitment ceremony.
Additionally, Exodus promotes “spiritual warfare,” believing that, in some cases, homosexuality is demonic. In a 2005 Exodus Newsletter, Chambers wrote, “One of the many evils this world has to offer is the sin of homosexuality. Satan, the enemy, is using people to further his agenda to destroy the Kingdom of God and as many souls as he can.”
At the “Family Impact Summit,” a right wing conference in Brandon, Florida held on Sept. 21, 2007, Chambers told the crowd, “We have to stand up against an evil agenda. It is an evil agenda and it will take anyone captive that is willing, or that is standing idly by.”
Perhaps the biggest criticism of Exodus is that it keeps no statistics to document its failure rate. Instead, the group relies on anecdotal testimonials, usually from people who work for an ex-gay ministry, presenting a conflict of interest.
Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that defends the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community against anti-gay misinformation campaigns, counters the so-called “ex-gay” industry and educates about the lives of LGBT people. Our goal is to help individuals be true to themselves and lead genuine lives of honesty and integrity.
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