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In the Aftermath of Conversion Therapy, Counselors Offer Healing Support

In December 2014, a tractor-trailer traveling down Interstate 71 in Ohio struck and killed Leelah Alcorn.

Alcorn, who identified as transgender, had posted a suicide note on her Tumblr in which she described her isolation, desperation, and depression—feelings she blamed, in part, on the "conversion therapy" her conservative Christian parents forced her to undergo. Alcorn’s parents believed their "sick" child could be forcibly turned back into a boy and "cured" of her attraction to males.

Read moreIn the Aftermath of Conversion Therapy, Counselors Offer Healing Support

The Fib Factory by Wayne Besen

I have yet to visit Focus on the Family's massive "campus" in Colorado Springs - a place so large it has its own zip code. But each year, thousands of fundamentalists traipse through this tourist trap to bow to King James. The people I know who have visited say that pictures of the group's leader, James Dobson, hang ubiquitously while tour guides reverently refer to him as "Dr. Dobson." 

"I felt like I was in North Korea and Dobson was playing the part of Kim Jong Il," a friend recently told me. "Call it what you will, but this was a form of idolatry." 

Read moreThe Fib Factory by Wayne Besen

Ex-Gay and Exodus International Support

For Those Who Have Been Hurt By These Anti-Gay Ministries

See also Ex-Gay Videos


Terrible Harm from those Wacky Gay "Cures" - excellent article by Peterson Toscano


Peterson Toscano's Website - A Musing: A Quirky Queer Quaker performance artist and scholar - an ex-gay survivor and Creator of Doin' Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House.


Anything But StraightAnything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth

The real story behind “ex-gay” ministries and reparative therapy!

Nationally known activist Wayne Besen spent four years examining the phenomenon of “ex-gay” ministries and reparative therapies—interviewing leaders, attending conferences, and visiting ministries undercover as he accumulated hundreds of hours of research. The result is Anything but Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth, a groundbreaking exposé of the controversial movement that's revered by independent religious groups and reviled by gay and lesbian organizations.

The book presents a historical perspective on the dispute, examining “ex-gay” groups such as Love In Action, Exodus International, Homosexuals Anonymous, and profiling a cast of characters that includes Pat Robertson, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, “ex-gay” poster boy John Paulk, National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality activist Richard Cohen, and psychiatrist Dr. Robert Spitzer


American Psychological Association: ‘No Evidence’ In Support of Ex-Gay Therapy - by Wayne Besen - There is “no evidence that sexual orientation change efforts work.” This was the American Psychological Association’s verdict on “ex-gay” therapy after an appointed task force of experts studied the issue for two years.


Beyond Ex-Gay - An online community for those who have survived ex-gay experiences


Truth Wins Out (TWO) - Fighting Right Wing Lies and the "Ex-Gay" Fraud


Darlene Bogle - Author of A Christian Lesbian Journey

"I was a former leader in Exodus International and directed an ex-gay ministry in Hayward, California in the 1980's and early 1990's where I was an assistant pastor in a Foursquare Church. I had been a national spokesperson for ex-gay ministry, having appeared on such programs as Sally Jesse Raphael, CBS 48 Hours and Jerry Springer. During that time I authored several books and hundreds of articles promoting an ex-gay lifestyle. My life and ministry changed at a women's retreat as I was sharing my journey of emotional healing, when I met Des. Our instant attraction grew into love and we began our journey of discovering who we were as gay Christians. . . . ."


Ex-Gay Consumer Fraud Division - Excellent Resources!


Ex-Gay Watch - News and analysis of exgay politics and culture - "I founded the Ex-Gay Watch web site in 2002 to promote new voices in the social dialogue regarding so-called ex-gays.

After two years of writing 20 hours per week (or more) about ex-gay political activists, I began to run out of energy and time.

XGW could have ended right there, but two excellent writer/researchers - Daniel Gonzales and Timothy Kincaid - stepped in, rescued Ex-Gay Watch, and took the project to the next level. At a time before 'Make it work!' became a popular catchphrase, that's what Daniel and Timothy did - spectacularly.

XGW further evolved with the issues and changing times in 2007 when David Roberts took over as editor and recruited additional writers who were diverse in perspective and geography.

With the web site in capable hands, I'm ready to move on and pursue a more activist approach against efforts by ex-gay political activists to undermine equality, freedom of speech, religious freedom, and sexual honesty.

The specifics of that different approach will be announced in the near future. Meantime, Ex-Gay Watch has exciting plans of its own.

Best wishes to the writers and commenters of Ex-Gay Watch. As a certain hero of mine would say: 'Carry on!'" ~ by Auf Wiedersehen


Former Ex-Gay Leaders Unite in Opposition to Conversion Therapy ~ July, 2014

Excerpt: "Conversion Therapy, also known as "reparative therapy", "ex-gay therapy," or "sexual orientation change efforts" (SOCE), professes to help lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to change or overcome their sexual orientation or gender identity. The majority of those who practice this "therapy" often do so with little or no formal psychological training, operating instead from a strict religious perspective, believing homosexuality to be a "sin."

At one time, we were not only deeply involved in these "ex-gay" programs, we were the founders, the leaders, and the promoters. Together we represent more than half a century of experience, so few people are more knowledgeable about the ineffectiveness and harm of conversion therapy. We know first-hand the terrible emotional and spiritual damage it can cause, especially for LGBT youth. We once believed that there was something morally wrong and psychologically "broken" about being LGBT. We know better now. We once believed that sexual orientation or gender identity were somehow chosen or could be changed. We know better now. We once thought it was impossible to embrace our sexual orientation or sexual identity as an intrinsic, healthy part of who we are and who we were created to be. We know better now. Looking back, we were just believing (and sometimes teaching) what we had been taught - that our identity needed mending. We grew up being told that being LGBT was disordered, sick, mentally ill, sinful, and displeasing to God. We grew up being told that loving, same-sex relationships were shallow, lust-driven, deceived, disordered, and impossible.

Read the full Article on the NCLR website.


Exodus International To Shut Down ~ June 19, 2013

Excerpt: Exodus International, the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality announced tonight that it's closing its doors after three-plus decades of ministry. The Board of Directors reached a decision after a year of dialogue and prayer about the organization's place in a changing culture.

"We're not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change - and they want to be heard," Tony Moore, Board member of Exodus. The message came less than a day after Exodus released a statement apologizing to the gay community for years of undue judgment by the organization and the Christian Church as a whole.


Gay Men Sue Counselors Who Promised To Make Them Straight ~ Nov 27, 2012

Excerpt: Before Sheldon Bruck told his orthodox Jewish parents he was gay, the teenager looked for a way out of homosexuality.

His search led him to JONAH -- Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing -- which claimed on its website to help people "struggling with unwanted same-sex sexual attractions."

JONAH co-director Arthur Goldberg promised Bruck, then 17, that "JONAH could help him change his orientation from gay to straight," according to a consumer fraud lawsuit filed Tuesday against JONAH, Goldberg and a JONAH counselor.

"This is the first time that plaintiffs have sought to hold conversion therapists liable in a court of law," said Samuel Wolfe, a lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Read the full Article on CNN U.S.


Christian Group Backs Away From Ex-Gay Therapy ~ June 27, 2012

Excerpt: The president of the country's best-known Christian ministry dedicated to helping people repress same-sex attraction through prayer is trying to distance the group from the idea that gay people's sexual orientation can be permanently changed or "cured."

That's a significant shift for Exodus International, the 36-year-old Orlando-based group that boasts 260 member ministries around the U.S. and world. For decades, it has offered to help conflicted Christians rid themselves of unwanted homosexual inclinations through counseling and prayer, infuriating gay rights activists in the process.

Read the full Article on YahooNews


Former Ex-Gay Ministry Leader Comes Out, Recants Previous Teachings ~ by Zack Ford, Oct 11, 2011

John Smid resigned as Love in Action's executive director in 2008 and since then has slowly been rethinking his understandings of sexuality and his beliefs about homosexuality.

Excerpts: NO ONE CHANGES: "One cannot repent of something that is unchangeable... I also want to reiterate here that the transformation for the vast majority of homosexuals will not include a change of sexual orientation. Actually I've never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual."

NOT JUST BEHAVIOR: "I used to define homosexuality or heterosexuality in terms describing one's behavior. I thought it made sense and through the years often wrote articles and talked from that perspective. Today, I understand why the gay community had such an issue with my writings. My perspective denied so many facets of the homosexual experience. I minimized a person's life to just their sexuality but homosexuality is much more than sex."

Read the full Article on ThinkProgress LGBT .


Insufficient Evidence That Sexual Orientation Change Efforts Work

- Press Release from the American Psychological Association, Aug 5, 2009


Masters & Johnson's Notorious "Ex-Gay" Study Debunked ~ posted by Wayne Besen, June 2, 2009

Exclusive Truth Wins Out Interview with Thomas Maier

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."


Time For 'Ex-Gay' Hordes To March On Washington

I know this is hard to believe, but the "ex-gay" group Exodus International is the next Starbucks. The organization, according to its executive director Alan Chambers, is expanding so fast that it will soon have storefronts on every corner where forlorn homosexuals can pray away the gay.

In 2003, Chambers claimed that there are "thousands of former homosexuals." By 2004, he announced that he knew "tens of thousands of people whom have successfully changed." Last week, Chambers stunned the world when he boasted to The San Francisco Chronicle that there are "hundreds of thousands" of ex-gays. This must have been shocking news to the masses of gay people in San Francisco's crowded Castro neighborhood, that didn't know they were on the verge of extinction. Read more ...


Ex-Gay Group Condemned For Launching Misleading Ad Campaign

Ads Lie About Gay Life and Omit High Profile Failures in 1998 Ad Campaign, Says Besen.

WASHINGTON – Wayne Besen, author of ANYTHING BUT STRAIGHT: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth, today condemned ex-gay group Exodus International for running a false and misleading $200,000 ad campaign saying that gay people can become heterosexual through prayer and therapy. Besen says the politically motivated ads grossly distort gay life and fails to mention that leaders of their last high-profile ad campaign reverted back to homosexuality. Read more ...


American Psychological Association: 'No Evidence' In Support of Ex-Gay Therapy

Patrick McAlvey: "I Was Harmed By 'Ex-Gay'Therapy"

There is "no evidence that sexual orientation change efforts work." This was the American Psychological Association's verdict on "ex-gay" therapy after an appointed task force of experts studied the issue for two years.

This conclusion did not surprise those of us who work with people who have been harmed by such programs. For example, I just interviewed Patrick McAlvey, who entered therapy to change his sexual orientation at the age of 19. His counselor, Mike Jones, is the director of Corduroy Stone, an affiliate of Exodus International.

Read moreAmerican Psychological Association: 'No Evidence' In Support of Ex-Gay Therapy

Ex-Gay Ministry Scandals

by Wayne Besen

From the very beginning, the "ex-gay" ministries have been enmeshed in a series of high profile failures. In addition to the crestfallen Paulk, the following are the most well publicized defections and scandals in the colorful annals of "ex-gay" history:

* In 1973, John Evans, co-founded the world's first modern "ex-gay" ministry, Love In Action, on the outskirts of San Francisco. However, after Evans' best friend Jack McIntyre committed suicide in despair over not being able to change, Evans realized that the program was not working and denounced Love in Action. To this day, the co-founder of the world's original "ex-gay" ministry condemns the program as a dangerous - and sometimes fatal - fraud.

Read moreEx-Gay Ministry Scandals

Time For 'Ex-Gay' Hordes To March On Washington

I know this is hard to believe, but the "ex-gay" group Exodus International is the next Starbucks. The organization, according to its executive director Alan Chambers, is expanding so fast that it will soon have storefronts on every corner where forlorn homosexuals can pray away the gay.

In 2003, Chambers claimed that there are "thousands of former homosexuals." By 2004, he announced that he knew "tens of thousands of people whom have successfully changed." Last week, Chambers stunned the world when he boasted to The San Francisco Chronicle that there are "hundreds of thousands" of ex-gays. This must have been shocking news to the masses of gay people in San Francisco's crowded Castro neighborhood, that didn't know they were on the verge of extinction.

Read moreTime For 'Ex-Gay' Hordes To March On Washington

Ex-Gay Group Condemned For Launching Misleading Ad Campaign

Ads Lie About Gay Life and Omit High Profile Failures in 1998 Ad Campaign, Says Besen.

WASHINGTON - Wayne Besen, author of ANYTHING BUT STRAIGHT: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth, today condemned ex-gay group Exodus International for running a false and misleading $200,000 ad campaign saying that gay people can become heterosexual through prayer and therapy. Besen says the politically motivated ads grossly distort gay life and fails to mention that leaders of their last high-profile ad campaign reverted back to homosexuality.

Read moreEx-Gay Group Condemned For Launching Misleading Ad Campaign