Monday, November 22, 2010

Contact: Wayne Besen, TWO Executive Director
Phone: 917-691-5118

Given Awful Record, Exodus Should Stay Away From Youth, Says TWO

Burlington, Vt. – Truth Wins Out (TWO) expressed alarm today that the world’s largest “ex-gay” organization, Exodus International, announced that its top priority in 2011 was to target students, including those in Middle School. The organization plans to lure youth though slick social media programs and offering high tech gadgets, including an I-phone App.

“We are alarmed because Exodus has a substantial predator problem and a history of placing youth with unsavory characters who are often unqualified as counselors,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “Exodus’ message is also destructive because it tells vulnerable youth that they are sexually broken, sinful, and perverse. Hearing such harmful messages can increase the likelihood for depression, substance abuse and even suicide.”

In an online letter to members and donors, the organization’s Executive Director, Alan Chambers, writes,

“…the greatest area of need in our culture is outreach to young people.  We will be changing the name of Exodus Youth to Exodus Student Ministries in order to encompass middle school thru [sic] college age students. We have listened to youth pastors, parents and especially students and we want to amplify our message in a way that they will best receive it: via web communication, YouTube, podcasts and short to the point booklets. We are also in the process of creating an App for iPhone users.”

Many Exodus “counselors” have virtually no professional training and the organization does not employ rigorous standards when they pair up youth with adults. The results of such unprofessional and unethical behavior have, at times, been devastating, including the placement of youth with sexual predators.

Truth Wins Out has cataloged some disturbing instances of Exodus’ past attempts at youth outreach.

“Parents should be extremely cautious and take great care to avoid the programs of Exodus International,” said TWO’s Besen. “The fact that Exodus is now targeting eleven year old Middle school students is horrifying and unacceptable.”

Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that defends the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community against anti-gay misinformation, counters the so-called “ex-gay” industry and educates America about the lives of LGBT people. Our goal is to fight for a world where LGBT individuals can live openly, honestly, free of discrimination and be true to themselves.