April 21st, 2012
Celebration of Life Rally: Salt Lake City, UT. The Celebration of Life Rally is to show community support for LGBT people and their allies. The rally is sponsored by Soulforce Equality Ride (which is in Salt Lake City for the next few days), Equality Utah, Utah Pride Center, Ogden’s OUTreach Resource Center, PFLAG, City of Hope Church, Sacred Light of Christ Church, and Affirmation (An affirming group for LGBT Mormons). It goes from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at City Creek Park at N. State and E. 2nd Sts, and features free food, fun, and entertainment.
Circling the Wagons Conference for LGBT Mormons: Washington, D.C. According to their web site:
The goal of the Mormon Stories “Circling the Wagons” conference is to create a space where LGBTQ or SSA individuals and their families and allies can gather to acknowledge, explore and honor shared experiences. No issues strike more deeply than who we love and how we understand and honor God. These issues carry an especially profound weight in Mormon communities and have been the source of a great deal of misunderstanding, judgment and hurt. Consequently, gay Mormons are deeply divided over how to address same-sex attraction and negotiate the choices they face.
In convening this conference, we are inviting LGBTQ Mormons and their families and allies to step beyond historic divisions to establish a shared space where all who have ever self-identified as Mormon and have experienced same-sex attraction can speak truthfully and respectfully. Mormon Stories and the Open Stories Foundation are hosting this conference as an expression of our longstanding commitment to LGBTQ issues and in the spirit of our “Shared Values”
Guest speakers will include author Carol Lynn Pearson; Mitch Mayne, an out gay man who is also executive secretary of his LDS ward; and Sister Jeannine Gramick, a Catholic nun and the co-founder of a ministry in support of LGBT people. The conference takes place today at the Community of Christ, 3526 Massachusetts Avenue NW, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., with dinner provided.
TODAY IN HISTORY:
Wall Street Journal Covers Ex-Gay Movement: 1993. The article opens with a description of an ex-gay meeting at the Foursquare Pentecostal Church in Hayward, California, near San Francisco, where a 31-year-old former missionary talked about his dispair over trying to change:
He confesses: “It’s not working, and I don’t know why.” The others, regulars at this Friday-night support group, are sympathetic; they know the temptations of the flesh and the damnation they figure awaits those who succumb. “It’s a matter of will,” says one. “You have to make the choice.” Maybe, suggests another, it is demonic possession.
The erstwhile missionary’s eyes grow watery. He has begged God to free him, has surrounded himself with Christians and spent a month in an in-patient treatment program. But nothing has worked, and thinking about it just makes it worse — especially at these meetings. “I’m having sex, I’m having fun, and I don’t feel bad about it,” he confesses. “Not getting AIDS is all I care about.”
Having sex, having fun and not feeling bad about it are not options here. One of those interviewed was John Evans, who had helped to found Love In Action (which would later move to Memphis), and who had already left the ex-gay movement when his best friend, Jack McIntyre, killed himself over not being able to “change.” McIntyre had spent four years in Love In Action before winding up in the psychiatric ward at Marin General Hospital:
There, in 1977 at age 46, he recorded his thoughts in a letter: “No matter how much I prayed and tried to avoid the temptation, I continually failed. . . . I love life, but my love for the Lord is so much greater, the choice is simple. . . . To continually go before God and ask for forgiveness and make promises you know you can’t keep is more than I can take. I feel it is making a mockery of God and all He stands for in my life.”
In room 104, he gave himself Communion, swallowed a lethal nightcap of Valium and Dalmane — tranquilizers and sleeping pills — and lay down on a couch to a quiet death.
By 1993, EXodus International claimed 65 affiliated ministries, but Evans said, “They’re destroying people’s lives. If you don’t do their thing, you’re not of God, you’ll go to hell. They’re living in a fantasy world.” Among those in that fantasy world was John Paulk, who was also interviewed for the Journal:
Mr. Paulk had been a prostitute, a female impersonator named Candi and an alcoholic who tried to kill himself before he decided to become straight and marry an ex-lesbian he met in church last year. “I had no sexual interest in women at all,” he says. “But when you begin a relationship with a woman that you believe God has led you to, then you develop attraction to that person. To say that we’ve arrived at this place of total heterosexuality — that we’re totally healed — is misleading.”
In 1993, Paulk was a cautious “success story” for the nascent ex-gay movement. He would later become much more confident in his “success” while at Focus On the Family. There, he would help found Love Won Out, the traveling ex-gay roadshow and informercial put on in conjunction with Exodus International. (Exodus is now the sole producer of Love Won Out.) He and his ex-lesbian wife, Anne, became the face of the ex-gay movement in a massive publicity campaign in 1998 that culminated in their photo appearing on the cover of Newsweek. In 2000, Wayne Besen photographed Paulk as he was leaving a gay bar in Washington, D.C.
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And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?
In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
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"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.