23 responses

  1. Joanne
    June 14, 2007


    I want to thank you for writing your reveiew of the confgerence with a sense og fairness. It is important to see bith sides, and I appreciate your emotional restraint enought to do that.

    it is refreshing to find another gay person that is not a left wing muckraker. I feel that bashing a cause of group of people without discussing what the reason for their cohesiveness is would be deceptive and slanted.

    Thank you for reporting fairly.

  2. M.E.
    July 27, 2007


    You “wondered what sort of conversations would be taking place the next time these parents talked to their sons and daughters,” after being told by Melissa Fryrear that their children had undoubtedly been molested.

    Although my mom has never been to Love Won Out (as far as I know), I think I have a pretty good idea what those conversations may have consisted of. After all, about six months after I came out to my mother as bisexual – and her first response was, “were you molested?” – I received a disturbing e-mail from her. In it, she revealed that, contrary to my assertions when I came out, I allegedly *had* been molested after all, when I was four.

    I was, of course, devastated. I had no memory of this having happened; no idea, even, of who was to blame, since she didn’t reveal any details.

    I eventually asked my grandmother what my mom could have been talking about … and she *laughed.* Apparently, I had been caught taking off my clothes in a swimming-pool locker room – for a six-year-old boy. My mother had made a huge stink at the time, insisting the boy had taken advantage of me, but the incident was soon forgotten. Until, that is, my mother’s shame that she had raised a queer daughter, her worry for my future, and the persistent message that same-gender desires *must* be the result of molestation all combined to make her revisit and revise the past.

    I forgive her for that now, although when it happened, I was furious that she’d lied to me about such an important fact of my own life. But she wasn’t trying to hurt me, merely trying to make sense of the hurt that this nasty myth and those who spread it had inflicted on her. I really feel sorry for the parents who had to hear that myth all over again, especially packaged as the key to their children’s successful conversions; and I feel sorry for the children who have to sort through the fallout.

  3. Timothy Kincaid
    July 27, 2007


    How sad. I feel sorry for your mother. No doubt she blamed herself for not watching you closer and keeping you from being “molested” and turning bi.

    And if she was able to concoct a molestation story out of a pretty harmless event, imagine how deeply she was delving to find things to fit the “distant mother” theory. I’m sure she’s been punishing herself since.

    The purveyors of false “truths” should feel shame for the great damage they do not only to gay and bi people but to their families as well.

  4. Teri Noble
    August 6, 2007

    PFLAG Oregon State Council just held a response to Love Won Out here in Portland this past weekend. We chatted briefly with attendees as they left the event. These folks, mostly older couples, were shattered, absolutely shattered and so desperately seeking…. They stopped their cars, rolled down their windows and took our PFLAG material, listened to our brief statements of support. It was heartbreaking. Our deepest desire is that seeds were planted, that they will question what they heard that day,drop into our website, find and learn from parents who celebrate their LGBTQ loved ones and begin to heal their families.

  5. Timothy Kincaid
    August 7, 2007


    What a wonderful response. They may be able to dismiss the “militant homosexual activist”, but when it is mothers and fathers just like themselves I think it is easier to listen and relate to your stories.

  6. Gene Chase
    December 19, 2007

    You say, “The conference speakers were very clear: there is no biological basis for homosexuality whatsoever. Instead, they offered as a variable this uncontrollable built-in quality in the child called ‘temperament’, a ‘temperament’ which helped to form the child’s ‘perceptions.’”

    It sounds to me as though the conference speakers you mention are alluding to the meta-study that gayman and Cornell University psychology professor Daryl Bem did, entitled “Exotic Becomes Erotic,” found here
    His study is widely respected and cited. Bem finds that temperament plays a role, not biology, in the path analysis that he does. Are you disagreeing with Bem?

    I echo what other commentators have said about the sense of even-handedness that you bring to your report of a Love Won Out / Love One Out conference. Thanks! (Check the original logo of the conference to see that both words Won and One are there, intentionally ambiguous.)

    –gene chase, director of Free, an Exodus member ministry

  7. Jim Burroway
    December 19, 2007

    Hi Gene,

    Hey! No fair giving me homework right before Christmas break! ;-)

    It’s been a few years since I read Bem. I’ll have to re-read him again to address your specific question about his paper.

    Generally speaking however, I am not wedded to any particular theory on the development of homosexuality. After having read so many research papers from such a wide variety of authors from so many different perspectives, I’ve come to the conclusion that we are not likely to find a single theory which is sufficient to explain it for everyone. For some, developmental processes may very well take center stage, for others, other factors. For most, it is probably a combination of many different things that we may never be able to tease out.

    The only thing I am suspicious of is when someone only points to one theory and gives that one sole legitimacy. I got into a massive e-mail flame war with a reader who insisted that all homosexuality was genetic. When I pointed out that not only was there no proof of such a theory, but that the scientific evidence in fact failed to explain large numbers of gay men who were part of that study, he consigned me to the ranks of the “self-loathing closet cases” and decided I was as much of an enemy as James Dobson.

    Ah, such is life!

    Thanks for dropping by.

  8. Jason
    December 19, 2007

    I’m reading through the “Exotic Becomes Erotic” stuff and I have only one question.


    Perhaps it’s later in the paper, but there’s no explanation as to how the exotic becomes erotic. It is just handed out as if it were an automatic.

  9. grantdale
    December 19, 2007

    Good lord, this back again… [*]

    1) Bem’s original EBE paper [1] — the one given by Gene Chase — used the Bell, Weinberg, & Hammersmith sample (a sample from the 1970′s, San Francisco, participants largely found via gay bars etc.)

    Bell, Weinberg, & Hammersmith were at pains to state that the sample was not suitable for such purposes as Bem put it to. It was all that Bem had at the time, but that does not alter the problem with base data he used.

    2) later work was done using the Australian Twin Registry (eg by Bailey, Dunne, & Martin, and by Kirk, Bailey, Dunne, & Martin [2] [3]).

    The first found heritability, but could not identify from what cause. The authors said they could not find, but also could not preclude, genetics as causation.

    The second — using more complex mulitvariant analysis — did find statistical support for genetics as causation.

    3) Bem’s EBE has found no support, elsewhere. In fact the basic concept has come under strong criticism, with Bem largely refusing to even respond.

    Think about it: if “Exotic becomes Erotic” as Bem suggests … why aren’t inter-racial relationships the norm, rather than the exception?

    (There you go Jim — your homework is now made easier!)

  10. Timothy Kincaid
    December 20, 2007


    link [1] isn’t working for me

  11. grantdale
    December 20, 2007

    Hmm, odd. Sorry about that, what ever it is.


    all his pubs are at http://dbem.ws/pubs.html

    (The EBE paper is from 1996, orig publ in Psychological Review, 103, 320-335.)

  12. anon
    March 28, 2008

    Thank you so much for this post. My parents have been to several Love Won Out conferences over the last 10 years, have been in personal contact with Melissa Fryear and other ex-lesbians to try to understand me and their role, and financially support ex-gay ministries. When I came out, every man in my life was put under suspicion of sexually abusing me. My brother. My ex-boyfriends. Even my dad. The ex-gay ministries destroy more than the gay person’s life, they destroy entire families because they are premised on needing to find someone to blame for homosexuality. How about “blaming” God? He seems like the most likely culprit for “causing” my homosexuality.

    Also, if every woman who has been sexually abused was a lesbian, there would be a whole heck of a lot more lesbians. 38% of girls in America are sexually abused before the age of 18: http://www.womenofsubstance.org/sexabuse.htm.

    How about spending resources on this horrific social problem instead of picking on innocent gay people!

  13. Karen
    December 26, 2008

    I am the mother of a gay son. Why can’t parents just accept that their son/daughter is gay?

    My son (who is the youngest of 5 sons) is still the same person he was before I knew he was gay.

    I don’t feel guilty in the slightest and my son was NEVER molested as a child!

    It really makes me angry that parents need to find a reason for their childs sexuality – as long as your son/daughter is HAPPY – who cares about the ‘WHY’?

  14. Timothy Kincaid
    December 27, 2008


    Bless you. You are a holiday treat.

  15. brian dean
    June 8, 2009

    Hi, I listened to Mellissa Fryrears testimony on the tv, and I found it to be a beautiful thing. I came through a war situation,and was very tough emotionally, culdnt really express my emotions because of this, and my marriage suffered.I couldnt really emotionally connect with my wife, and she formed an unhealthy relationship with another woman because of it. Mellissas testimony really brought it home to me that instead of blameng my wife for everything, i should have also looked at my own fault. Yes she was srong to do what she did, but I was srong as well. Id really love to tell mellissa that I love Jesus Christ dearly, and she has brought real healing to my life, of course I dont condone practising gay activity in church, but I know that Jesus wants a loving relationship with everyone, I understand that now, and instead of judging my wife I should have won her over with love and kindness. It ruined my marriage, but it has all worked for the good of me, because I really love Jesus Christ, and he knows my heart. So Mellissa, I wnat you to know that your testimony was the bravest testimony I have ever heard, I wept real tears and wept along with you, I know that you are sincere in your walk, and Im very sorry that I mistrusted ex gay people for years, but I dont mistrust you, by the way Im ginger , 5 10 good looking, and would date you anytime girl, because you are beautiful on the outside, but more importantly, because of Jesus Christ you are beautiful on the inside as well,
    Gods love sister, I couldnt find you on the web, so I hope you can get this, keep up the good work sister, and know that you have healed me of something and brought me closer to Jesus Christ.

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