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Whatever Happened to Zach?

Jim Burroway

May 5th, 2008

He’s back, and he talked to Morgan Jon Fox for his forthcoming documentary, “This Is What Love In Action Looks Like.”

Zach was the sixteen-year-old gay teen who, in 2005, gained worldwide attention when he wrote on his MySpace blog about coming out to his parents. They quickly shipped him off to Love Won Out’s Refuge program for teens. But before entering the program, Zach posted Love In Action’s rules online for everyone to see, and those rules provide a very revealing glimpse into the very strange world of Love In Action. After weeks of protest and worldwide condemnation, the Refuge program was finally shut down. But Love In Action remains active, a dark stain on an ex-gay movement running amok with no oversight or accountability.

Here’s an extended opening sequence for the documentary, which is set to for an official release later this summer. Zach’s post-LIA appearance at the seven minute mark represents a small glimpse of a full-length exclusive interview.

YouTube Preview Image



Emily K
May 6th, 2008 | LINK

YEEEESSSS!!!!! I’ve been WONDERING what happened to him! He posted such an indoctrinated response post LIA on his blog, saying he won’t let sexuality control him or whatever, now finally my curiosity is satiated, this is wonderful. I have high hopes.

Bruce Garrett
May 6th, 2008 | LINK

I was there for that interview, and Morgan and Zach let me photograph it, with the understanding that Morgan would retain the copyright to the photos.

What you have to understand about that first blog post of his after he got out of LIA, is that he’d been very effectively isolated from what was going on outside LIA’s walls. All he knew of the protests was what he saw on the drive in and out of LIA, and what he was told. When all you have is the LIA point of view for eight long weeks…and if you’ve ever read that rule book Zach posted you get an idea of how thorough the control is…it’s going to be hard, even if you’ve got a smart mind and can think for yourself, not to sound a bit like LIA when you first walk out the door. And the immensity of the response to his plea for help really seems to have stunned him. The poor kid didn’t want to be the center of an international media storm…he just wanted to live his life.

Picture a teenager being tossed into a situation where their deepest feelings, their most hidden emotions are being dragged out of them and put on a table for everyone to see and criticize…right at the time in their lives when they’re just starting to cope with their own budding sexuality. Picture being locked into that for almost an entire summer. Then suddenly you’re out, and now it seems like the whole entire world wants to pry into your head and heart too. That’s kinda what happened to him.

It’s heartening, and says a lot about him, that he managed the aftermath as well as he did. He’s a good kid, with a good heart, and he’s in college now and doing well. But I don’t think he’ll ever be as public about what happened to him as Lance Carroll became. I’m glad he’s had a chance to get some of this off his chest, and put his own words out there. But I don’t think you’ll be seeing him making any big public pronouncements. The sense I have always had from him is he never wanted to be in the spotlight. That may seem a bit surprising considering what he put on his MySpace blog, until you realize that when he posted his plea for help he only thought he was calling to his friends on MySpace. People even now have trouble realizing that anything you post online, even if it’s just in the comments of a blog post like this one, can usually be seen by the whole internet.

Regan DuCasse
May 7th, 2008 | LINK

Everytime I get an Exodus youth newsletter and the plans that they have for their outreach, I can’t help but think of all our friends who were trapped like butterflies in the Exodus net.
My teeth set on edge every time I see the words ‘unwanted homosexual attraction’ or ‘struggling with same sex attraction.’
First of all the arrogance assumption right there is no form of charitable understanding and outreach.
It’s a predatory exploitation of social and political bigotry.
And young people are the easiest targets because they have the most underdeveloped understanding of themselves and how to communicate their own needs.
Zach Stark reached out for help FROM the definitive controlling nature of this sort of outreach towards gay folks exclusively.
What’s so sad is, Zach KNEW who he was, and his parent’s didn’t and Exodus couldn’t care less, either way about that.
And that’s what bothers me the most, WHY what gay people know for and about themselves is of such little importance and that the usual suspects behave as if gay people have no right or information and experience that should trump THEIRS.

L. Junius Brutus
May 7th, 2008 | LINK

I am so glad Zach is OK and happy with his own sexuality. Even though he seemed very comfortable before he entered LIA, his response after he got out of it seemed like he was destined for an unhappy life.

I can’t wait until we can see the entire interview.

August 9th, 2009 | LINK

The Video is now private. Have someone a transcript of his comments in the film?

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