June 19th, 2013
The conference hasn’t started yet, but I’m all signed in, badged, and already meeting friends from last year, which I guess is what happens when you become something of a semi-regular. I’m not sure there are enough people yet to get a sense of the “buzz,” but there are a couple of observations that I think I can go ahead and report.
First, this conference is greatly scaled back in size and scope from previous conferences. I asked one of the volunteers at the registration area how many people had signed up. She gave a number that was fewer than 300. I don’t know how many walk-ins would be expected, but it does seem to be shaping up into a much smaller conference than last year’s in St. Paul, Minnesota, where I think the attendance was somewhere in the 700 or 800 range (I can’t find the exact figure in my notes from last year). Clearly, some of the controversy surrounding Exodus’ change in messaging has had a significant effect.
Second, because the conference is seeing lower attendance this year, the schedule has been significantly re-organized from what had been originally posted online. The newly updated online program shows that Mike Haley, who had formerly been at Focus On the Family and was a regular speaker at Love Won Out conferences, had been scheduled to speak at a plenary session, but is no longer on the bill.
Other changes to the schedule may still be in work. In my printed booklet, only one hour on Tursday and Friday is devoted to workshops, although this page (as of 5:00 p.m.) appears to reflect a much larger selection of workshops that had been originally planned. The blocks of time that had previously been set aside for workshops are now devoted to a set of forums, which I understand to be intended for a more open, interactive discussion rather than the more traditional lecture being given by a leader or guest speaker. Forum topics are “Let’s Talk Homosexuality,” “Sharing Your Story,” “God’s Created Intent,” “Embracing Your Story,” “Restoration and Forgiveness,” and “Empowering Your Story.” My booklet shows “Free Time” on Saturday from 3:15 to 7:00, but the online program says “SIGs, Refuge Groups.” I don’t know what “SIGs” are, but Refuge Groups are what they call the small group activity and discussion groups geared toward parents, men, women, young adults, couples, and students. I expect that tonight we’ll hear about more changes to the program schedule.
And finally, I’d have to say that Exodus president Alan Chambers’s apology has generated a lot of interest, both inside and outside the conference:
— Peter LaBarbera (@PeterLaBarbera) June 19, 2013
— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) June 19, 2013
@fakedansavage I'm an ex-ex-gay. "Sorry" also requires you stop what you're doing that hurts people and is wrong. Exodus hasn't stopped.
— Daniel Gonzales (@ColoradoGayDan) June 19, 2013
LaBarbera’s reaction, of course, is to be expected. It’s probably shared by those who are watching from Oklahoma City, where the rival, hard-core Restored Hope Network will begin its conference on Friday. But I think the reaction among many gay activists and ex-gay survivors will disappoint many of those attending the conference. I can’t say I’m surprised, nor can I say I’m disappointed at the reaction. I think it’s to be expected, actually. I don’t think just a single sorry has ever solved a problem, but if there is ever to be steps taken in that direction, it always begins with saying that word. And for more serious transgressions it will take saying it repeatedly, over and over, along with a resolve to fix what was broken to whatever extent may be possible. I think one of our BTB commenters put it nicely:
Although I am no longer a Catholic, it seems to me the concept of confession & reconciliation as taught by the Catholics is instructive here. When confessing an apology would be the beginning, not the end, of the reconciliation. Alan has expressed himself well here, but it will be his future actions that truly indicate whether he has really changed and is willing to do the hard work of making up for the hurt he has caused.
And finally, I think there will be a major announcement at tonight’s plenary session. I don’t know that for a fact, and I could easily be wrong about this, but I have a feeling that there’s going to be much more to talk about before the day is done. If I can live-blog it, I will.
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.