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Exodus Co-Founder: I Regret Teaching That Gayness Is The Result Of Bad Parenting

A multi-part video interview series with Michael Bussee, co-founder of Exodus International turned critic.

Daniel Gonzales

May 18th, 2010

Yesterday we looked at Michael’s regret for teaching the idea that if you worked hard enough in an ex-gay program you would be changed.

Today Michael shares his other regret, teaching that bad parenting causes a person to be gay.  Michael talks about the division in families that can cause and his own process of later reclaiming the belief his father was actually loving, giving, encouraging and self-sacrificial.

(transcript below the jump)

I’m Michael Bussee, I’m one of the original co-founders of Exodus International. I left the program in 1979 and have since reconciled my spirituality and my sexuality and now I’m a vocal critic of reparative therapy programs and of Exodus International.

[music begins]

[title: “I Regret Teaching That Gayness Is The Result Of Bad Parenting”]

I regret teaching that if you were gay that there must be… that there was something wrong with your family, something wrong with your parenting.  That’s a very common belief that’s reinforced by the organizations like NARTH or Exodus that gayness is the result of bad parenting.

And when you believe that you look back over your childhood for examples of bad parenting and low and behold you find it because every parent has good and bad.  There were times when my dad was insensitive and there were times when my dad was very loving and encouraging.  But if you’re taught you’re gay because your parents were bad parents you focus on the bad, you look for the bad, and you blame them.  And I think by teaching that we create a terrible division between people who are struggling with their homosexuality and their parents and it took many years for that to heal, for me to reclaim that my dad wasn’t a bad dad, that he was a very loving and giving father, a very self-sacrificial dad, and encouraging dad, a strong one you know a disciplinarian and there were times that he disapproved of me but he didn’t cause me to be gay.

And teaching teaching that and reinforcing that I think does great harm so yeah I regret teaching that.  Because that’s just not true.

[closing credits]



May 18th, 2010 | LINK

Strange how many anti-gay power players who preach the gospel that bad parenting turns kids gay later have one of their own children come out.

Phyllis Schaffley
Alan Keyes
Charles Socarides
Tim and Beverly LaHaye

and the list goes on…

John in the Bay Area
May 18th, 2010 | LINK

I remember when growing up that my mother was constantly shaking her head at the TV when someone would get up and blame some person’s behavior or predicament in life on their parents. This seemed to occur on a regular basis on TV in the 70’s and early 80’s. I could really see my mother’s point just from the kids that grew up in my neighborhood. Decent kind people with psycho kids, and total reprobates with great kids.

We went through an era where everything was blamed on parents and parenting, including homosexuality. It would appear that Exodus and NARTH are stuck in that time warp. For the rest of us, these parenting theories of homosexuality that were never supported by strong scientific evidence, are so at odds with the reality of the world around us, that no major medical or psychological organizations give any credence to them.

May 20th, 2010 | LINK

When and how did Michael Bussee become an expert on the development of homosexuality, and how exactly would he know that it’s “just not true” that bad parenting causes “gayness”?

Funny that he’d think that theory “just not true”, because it sure seems to me that my homosexuality has plenty to do with the fact that I had bad relationships with my parents.

Could it be that Bussee is denying that bad parents help to cause homosexuality simply out of political correctness? I think so. What sanctimonious tripe.

Emily K
May 20th, 2010 | LINK

Paul Cameron and the co-founders of JONAH also have gay kids. And Paul Cameron is supposed to be an “expert” on curing the gay.

I really want them to make a statement as to how they’ve failed in their parenting (resulting in a gay child). After all, if the “experts” couldn’t get it right, how the hell are “ordinary folk” going to?

May 20th, 2010 | LINK

damn… I lost my bet. I figured Quo would be here spewing nonsense much sooner than 2 days after the initial post.

It’s been said before but hey let’s repeat it: Quo, just because something happened to you that you interpret one way doesn’t mean your experience is universal or even that you are interpreting it properly. But hey, have fun in your misery. The rest of us will be over here—> having fun and enjoying our lives.

Timothy Kincaid
May 20th, 2010 | LINK


I think you are mistaken. I don’t believe Paul Cameron has gay kids. Perhaps you are thinking of Charles Socarides?

Many of the other anti-gay activists also have gay kids, siblings, etc.

Emily K
May 20th, 2010 | LINK

You’re probably right, Timothy. It must be Charlies and not Paul. Yes there are many anti-gays who have gay kids and such.

Like that one woman who joined up with Exodus after she was dumped by her boyfriend who came out.

Talk about bitterness. She may have no idea what it wrought.

June 7th, 2010 | LINK

I’m attracted to Michael Bussee. Is he single? He’s really hot.

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