Beyond Ex-Gay Asks Exodus Out To Dinner

Jim Burroway

June 20th, 2007

Peterson Toscano and Christine Bakke, cofounders of Beyond Ex-Gay, point out that an important question is being overlooked in the current ex-gay cat fight: What harms come from pursuing change?

Beyond Ex-Gay, along with Soul Force and the LGBT Resource Center, will be sponsoring the Ex-Gay Survivor’s Conference June 29 to July 1 in Irvine, California, to coincide with the Exodus Freedom Conference taking place just down the road at the same time. Peterson and Christine have issued an invitation to Exodus leaders to attend a small private dinner, without the press and with no recording or filming, to talk about some of the experiences of those who left the movement:

Too often once we leave your programs, you never hear about our lives and what happens to us. Most ministries do not have aftercare programs or any formal means to follow-up on participants. Some stories you do not get to hear… The purpose of the dinner is to give you an opportunity to hear our stories. We do not wish to bash you, attack you or shame you. We simply desire to share our stories with you.

Dream or a dud? We’ll have to wait and see.

Randi Schimnosky

June 20th, 2007

Well, I give credit to them for trying, but I don’t think it will make a difference. At heart Exodus is full of people who are motivated to do what they do for political purposes. They don’t care what actually happens to the people who go through their programs, its purpose is to create the impression that gay people can and should change and because of this they don’t deserve equal rights. Those who are harmed by the experience are something they don’t want to hear about.

Willie Hewes

June 21st, 2007

I very much agree with this approach. There’s too much shouting-through-media going on in this debate, and not enough actual talking-and-listening type dialogue.

The people at Exodus may be doing what they do for political reasons, but I suspect they have many different reasons and motivations, and that actual care for actual same sex attracted people comes somewhere on that list.

I hope they’ll accept the invitation.

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