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LaBarbara Tweets About “Sudden Death” of PFOX Founder Anthony Falzarano

Jim Burroway

April 23rd, 2012

Peter “Porno Pete” LaBarbera tweeted that Anthony Falzarano, co-founder of the ex-gay group PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-gays and Gays, allegedly), has died. LaBarbera isn’t generally one to be trusted with conveying much of anything true, but since he’s not saying something about an openly gay person, it is conceivable that fabrication reflex remained unengaged when he sent out this tweet. So I’ll go with LaBarbera as a source, this time. If LaBarbera’s wrong, then Mr. Falzarano will have the rare privilege of seeing his own obituary, and maybe he can take it as an object lesson. If LaBarbera’s right, then we can still go forward with that object lesson albeit with a grudging admission that in this one instance, LaBarbera may have somehow managed to tweet something true.

Falzarano was certainly one of the more colorful figures in the ex-gay movement. Sadly, he didn’t get as much ink in this blog as he deserved. (As you’ll see, he created his own ink.) But by 1999 when Mark Pietrzyk wrote this rundown on a number of figures in the ex-gay movement, Falzarano had already managed to create three different creation myths about himself as an ex-gay man, two of which were, in Pietrzyk’s charitable view, “in considerable tension with each other.” In one of those creation myths, Falzarano claimed to have been one of Roy Cohen’s house boys. Pietrzyk also noted that Falzarano had two polar opposite stories about what it was like for him to be gay, depending which audience he was talking to. But one thing that remained an integral part of Falzarano’s message was that gay people and AIDS both were agents of the devil.

Falzarano has blasted the gay rights movement as being filled with the “spirit of the anti-Christ,” and his language abounds in the sorts of conspiratorial and apocalyptic tropes that one might think would embarrass some of his backers in religious right and conservative circles. At the “Homosexuality and American Public Life” conference held at Georgetown, in which such figures as ABC News commentator William Kristol and neoconservative cleric Rev. Richard Neuhaus played prominent roles, Falzarano declared that the media is “controlled by” a 1,200-member gay journalists’ organization, and that “their objective is to homosexualize America and destroy Judeo-Christian values. … Disney studios is [also] controlled by the gays.” Appearing on a CBS News special report, Falzarano was quoted as saying, “AIDS comes from the devil, directly from Satan. He uses homosexuals as pawns and then he kills them.” At a recent P-FOX conference, Falzarano described Matthew Shepard, the 105-pound boy who was brutally beaten and killed by thugs, as “a predator to heterosexual men.” One of Falzarano’s recent projects is to gather a group of parents who have lost children to AIDS to sue the American Psychiatric Association for malpractice, on the grounds that the APA’s declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness in the 1970s led to the creation of a generation of homosexuals who died of AIDS.

PFOX’s founding was seeded by the Family “Research” Council in 1996, and for a while it looked as if PFOX would become a major player in the ex-gay movement. Their second conference in McLean, Virginia in 1998 drew Alveda King, niece of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to address the gathering. In 1999, GOP presidential candidate Alan Keys was the keynote speaker. But Falzarano’s caustic and erratic behavior proved to be his (and PFOX’s) undoing. The very organization he helped to found canned Falzarano as leader in August 1999 and turned to Richard Cohen to, I don’t know, restore its credibility? At any rate, Falzarano tried again with a new venture, Parents and Friends ministries. At least there he was consistent.

Fast forward to 2007, when Exodus International held its annual conference in Irvine, California. A brand new ex-gay survivor’s movement was born in a gathering that same weekend, also in Irvine. Before the ex-gay survivor’s conference got underway, three former ex-gay leaders issued formal apologies for the harms that they did while involved with the ex-gay movement. When we posted interviews with the three former ex-gay leaders (Michael Bussee, Darlene Bogle, and Jeremy Marks), Falzarano felt moved to leave this comment:

…My name is Anthony Falzarano. I am director of an ex-gay ministry in West Palm Beach FL. I know that Exodus International has failed many of you. It is not the ministry that was so filled with the Holy Spirit when I got help from it. The devil has invaded the leadership and Exodus has got a lot of repenting to do for the lukewarmness that has entered its ranks…BUT please don’t blame God for the weakness of Exodus. Keep your focus on Jesus Christ and the Bible. I had to leave Exodus because as I began to point out to them the great attack that was coming from within our leadership I was villanized. …

Again with the devil. And for whatever reason, Falzarano would turned his focus on Darlene Bogle. She used to be a leader of an Exodus-affiliated ex-gay ministry when she met the woman who would later become her partner at a 1990 religious conference. Darlene soon left the movement to built a life with Des. In 1996, Des was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she passed away in 2005. When Falzarano learned about her death in 2008, he wrote to Darlene saying that Des’s death was God’s way of “calling you back” to the ex-gay movement. Darlene was shocked:

I was appalled when I read his words, which on the surface seem so compassionate. It was such a strong reminder of why I left Exodus and could never consider going back under their “umbrella of faith.” How arrogant of Anthony to send such a condemning statement as to ask if God was sending me a message! [Emphases in the original]

When we posted about that, Falzano again felt the need speak up in BTB’s comments. Not to apologize, but to say this:

Dear Darlene, I would not be so happy about the fact that you no longer feel conviction about living as a practicing lesbian. Romans Chapter 1 beginning about vs. 18 describes you now. I pray that you have not blsphemed the Holy Spirit. Keep doing what your doing Darlene and you will give an account to God for all the OTHER people you deceived into the gay lifestyle with you “gay theology”. The Word of God tells us that in the “last days” many will depart from the FAITH and will tell you what you want to hear VS. WHAT YOU NEED TO HEAR……….

Two months later, Falzarano appeared again in BTB’s comments section, in another series of comments in a thread about California’s Prop 8:

Marrioge can only be defined by God. Because He invented it. Tolerance of homosexual people cannot mean acceptance of the gay lifestyle! The gay activists are really not the true friend of the homosexual person. They are using homosexual person as a pawn to achive their agenda which is to attempt to destroy the Church of Jesus Christ. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church! You can abandon the ship of the gay political movement by jumping on to the “rescue liferaft called the ex-gay movement. Our website parentsandfriends.20m.com wil give you details. May God Bless and protect you, Anthony

He left several more comments on that thread, but it quickly became apparent that he was more interested in promoting his web site than engaging in any sort of dialogue. We placed him on moderation, and he stopped coming by. The next time we noticed him, he was in New York lobbying against marriage equality. We all know how well that went.

I tried calling the number on his web site to confirm LaBarbera’s tweet, but I got a recording saying that the number is “not reachable,” with no options to leave a message. If what LaBarbera is tweeting is true, then Falzarano is dead. Undoubtedly, his passing is deeply mourned by his family and friends. We offer our condolences, as we do to anyone who experiences the painful shock of losing a loved one. But as for his passing itself, make of it what you will, but also be mindful of the lessons you try to foist onto others. They may become your legacy.

Update: Ex-GayWatch confirmed Falzarano’s death with the coroner.

Comments

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pax58
April 23rd, 2012 | LINK

Jim, very well written…give the facts….show human compassion…and move to a moral lesson we all need to remember…we are all going to die, how we have treated others will be our legacy. May Anthony, like all G-d’s children, rest it peace. May those of us who are still living center our lives in compassion and justice.

Christine
April 24th, 2012 | LINK

This is the description of Falzarano’s recent (2008) book – which I have not yet read. He was trying to make a come-back in the ex-gay world, it seemed, but never did. He burned his bridges with the Christian Right it seems after he held that press conference accusing the CR of using the ex-gay movement politically and not giving them more funds.

“Homosexuality, the hot-button issue of the millennium, is boldly and honestly discussed in this new book by Christian author and ex-gay activist Anthony Falzarano. Mr. Falzarano spent 9 years in the gay lifestyle, and discusses in detail how God delivered him out of it. Anthony does not believe that anyone is born gay. While looking for answers in regards to his own struggle, he began to uncover a plethora of lies and deception that the well-funded pro-gay lobbyists organizations had planted in the media. This book blows the roof off the political gay agenda in America, but in a kind but poignant way. Falzarano does not believe that homosexuals have a choice in their initial orientation (because it is inflicted upon the child early in life). However, believes that the homosexual struggler has the power from God to reject this false-identity and choose not to be gay. He emphasizes that patience and compassion be extended to the struggler, but grieves over the politically motivated gay lobbyists that are affirming millions of young people into the lifestyle through its lies. Mr. Falzarano is considered to be an expert on homosexuality and since 1988 has devoted his life’s work to the ex-gay movement. Anthony has ministered to over 600 former homosexuals and their families; since founding Parents and Friends Ministries (PFM), which is located in West Palm Beach, FL. The PFM website can be found at parentsandfriends.20m.com. He is used as a subject matter expert by nationally known media such as CBS, CNBC, BBC, NET, Salem Broadcasting, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Newsweek Magazine, C-Span and USA Radio Network. He has addressed different family protection organizations such as Concerned Women for America, Family Research Council and Focus on the Family. He has appeared on nationally syndicated programs such as Geraldo, The 700 Club, Armstrong Williams, Politically Incorrect, Ricki Lake, The Sally Jesse Raphael Show, and Roseanne.”

Christine
April 24th, 2012 | LINK

Book title is _And Such Were Some of You_

Andrew
April 24th, 2012 | LINK

pax, that’s sweet. i had a different reaction, frankly, because life is hard enough as it is. my knee-jerk reaction was “umm… good riddance”. and, i suspect, this whack job is finally at the peace he so desperately sought and by all evidence could not find. i do hope he did not suffer.

Lynn David
April 24th, 2012 | LINK

Did Anthony Falzarano also go by the names: Levon Nazarian and Anthony The Falzarano?

He and his wife Dianne appear in a society news article dated 1 April 2012 in the Palm Beach Daily News, see:

http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/society/island-theme-spices-up-boys-girls-club-cocktail-2276275.html

But if you go to the Obituaries for that newspaper, Falzarano does not rate a memorial there – if he died. See:

http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/obituaries/

Same with the Palm Beach Post. I futher searched all the Florida newspapers on Legacy.com for his obit over the last 6 months and found nothing.

Perhaps the news of his death has been greatly exaggerated?

StraightGrandmother
April 24th, 2012 | LINK

Well if he is dead I sure won’t miss him. First that NARTH board member died, then Chuck Colson, and now apparently Falzarano.

I guess it is all about changing the world, one funeral at a time. The person in the anti gay movement I detested the most was Colson, so I will not be missing him at all. Each time one of these H8ters die I feel relieved that there is one less of them. Not happy, but relieved.

David Roberts
April 24th, 2012 | LINK

Falzarano commented on XGW barely two days ago. He has been banned there since an incident years ago, but that didn’t stop him from trying. Still a bit unsure of this news, but looking for details.

Timothy Kincaid
April 24th, 2012 | LINK

By my calculation, Anthony would be about 50, a very young age to die.

Although Falzarano’s caustic tongue and surface level hostility must have been burdensome to those closest to him, I am certain that they are grieving and I with them solace.

David Roberts
April 24th, 2012 | LINK

Death confirmed with the coroner.

Regan DuCasse
April 24th, 2012 | LINK

“The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones.”-Antony

“Julius Ceasar”, by William Shakespeare

We can be compassionate and take the higher road in offering condolences, but the legacies of the anti gay are tethered to other forms of human rights abuses within public policy.

Those legacies of abusing the rights and freedoms of others, while claiming victimhood, is even more perverse and contradictory.
These supposed vanguards of morality, have a deep and abiding form of cowardice. One of THE most profound moral failures a person can have.

With the likes of Falzarano, Michael Bennett, and other supposed ex gays who have engaged politics and demand deference with civil law and policy, have made gay people pay for it.
And it’s been a very steep price indeed.

They never asked for forgiveness while they were living, a condition of giving it, so there is no reason to give it to them.
Falzarano left a lot of damage in his wake, and he’s finally and irreversibly in no position to change it.

aNDREW
April 24th, 2012 | LINK

Folks, I’ll be honest. It may be petty, but I feel absolutely no burden to be polite, to extend my heartfelt condolences, or to be the better man. I have cut people out of my life for being hateful monsters. If these people cannot recognize him for what he was, and do the same, then screw them too.

Sorry… just so tired of always being asked to be ‘better’. At a certain point, I’m not obligated to feel guilty that I’m relieved when someone who went out of his way to put a bullseye on my back is dead and gone, and I’m certainly not required to sympathize, empathize or any other “-ize”… because for all those years of his life, those grieving family members couldn’t find it within their hearts to return the favor, and they aren’t about to start anytime soon. They’re free to go to hell right along with Falzarano.

Regan DuCasse
April 24th, 2012 | LINK

And I can’t argue with you aNDREW, and I won’t.
You have more a right to your feelings, than anyone does to say you don’t, to express them.

Tor
April 24th, 2012 | LINK

“he was an expert on homosexuality.”

Oh puhleeze, Mary.

I am an expert on homosexuality, having been homosexual for 55 of my 55 years. Ask me first.

Lynn David
April 25th, 2012 | LINK

According to Legacy.com. Falzarano was 55 and his wife, Dianne, is 58.

Timothy Kincaid
April 26th, 2012 | LINK

Thanks, Lynn David

Only 55. A dying breed. You all do realize that in a very short time there will no longer be that peculiarity we call “ex-gay”. It’s season was brief, from about the late 70′s and perhaps for another decade.

So many are no longer in that category. Others may still so identify, but have changed how they see themselves. There are but a few left.

Louis Chinn
April 28th, 2012 | LINK

I am a relative.. He has died, sorry to say. he was a very very tormented human being, and I had compassion for him even though he was wrong about so much. Mental illness have we forgotten can hit everone. As a catholic I am going to show compassion to his family and the once nice guy he was.
Anthony was a self loather which brought him to this stage….

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