A multi-part video interview series with Michael Bussee, co-founder of Exodus International turned critic.
May 20th, 2010
One of the most common reasons people go ex-gay is because they don’t believe a meaningful community exists in the gay world and fear losing their current church community. In today’s video I ask Michael how he viewed “the gay community” while he was still at Exodus.
Don’t miss the part where Michael talks about how Exodus viewed the Metropolitan Community Church. I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing when he surprised me with that during filming.
(transcript after 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.
[title: “We Didn’t Know There Was An Alternative For Gay Christians”]
[voice of interviewer:] If you didn’t know that there was a gay community when you were at Exodus how did you sort of paint what life would be like for people if they left the program? Because that’s a big portion of the ex-gay movement now is vilifying “the homosexual lifestyle” which embodies all these horrible things.
Right, right, exactly.
The only picture we had of the gay community was our own personal experience of being closeted and compulsive so leaving Exodus meant retuning to that. We didn’t know that there was an alternative. We didn’t know that there we people who had integrated their spirituality and sexuality.
I didn’t know of any gay community. I knew of gay activists and they all seemed to just be angry, unhappy, anti-Christian people so I didn’t really sense there was any kind of gay community that I could go to. Of course this was pretty early on too, the gay movement was still in it’s infancy then. Stonewall was 1969, the American Psychiatric Association didn’t remove it from it’s list of disorders until 74, Exodus was formed in 76. So there was beginnings of a gay community and gay support out there. The Metropolitan Community Church for example and maybe some other places but not a whole lot of options.
And we taught that Metropolitan Community Church was just “of the devil” so you definitely didn’t go there because they kiss each other during the service and they have sex with each other after, and they don’t really believe the Bible and they don’t really believe Jesus, so that wasn’t really an option either.
I’m really glad that today there’s a lot more options for people who are struggling with these issues and places for people to land. There’s an ex-gay survivor network that’s growing. And there’s gay Christian organizations online, facebook groups and discussion groups. There’s a wealth of resources now there weren’t then.
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In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
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And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
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