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The Daily Agenda for Thursday, June 20

Jim Burroway

June 20th, 2013

TODAY’S AGENDA:
“Our America with Lisa Ling” To Air Confrontation Between Ex-Gay Survivors and Alan Chambers: OWN Network, 10:00 p.m. EDT. From Lisa Ling’s web site:

The story of Exodus International, the LGBT men and women who have been affected by the organization and the nationwide dialogue that surrounds this topic continues in an Our America special report.

For almost 40 years, Exodus International claimed to offer a “cure” for homosexuality. Alan Chambers, the leader of Exodus, decided last year to stop endorsing the controversial practice of gay-reparative therapy. And now, he has a new message: an apology.

In a special episode, Lisa Ling is joined by a group of survivors of the condemned and damaging practice of “reparative therapy” as they confront Alan Chambers. Chambers recently asked Ling to help orchestrate an opportunity in which he could formally apologize to those who felt deceived and defrauded by Exodus’ practices and to announce that the organization will cease to be an “ex gay” organization.

Not only did Chambers announce that Exodus would cease to be an ex-gay organization, but it would cease to be an organization altogether. I’ve heard that the taped confrontation lasted about three and a half brutal hours, which was edited down to fit the hour-long program. If there’s ever television worth watching, this is it.

Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Augusta, GA; Berlin, Germany; Biarritz, France; Chicago, IL; Columbia, SC (Black Pride); Columbus, OH; Durango, CO; Essex, UK; Fribourg, Switzerland; Gloucester, UK; Houston, TX; Knoxville, TN; Napa, CA; New Orleans, LA; Olympia, WA; Palermo, Italy; Regina, SK; Salisbury, NC; Santa Fe, NM; Skopje, Macedonia; Sofia, Bulgaria; Wausau, WI; Wilton Manors, FL.

AIDS Walks This Weekend: Oakland, CA.

Other Events This Weekend: Frameline Film Festival, San Francisco, CA.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
E Lynn Harris: 1955. He was born in Flint, Michigan, but was raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. When he attended the University of Arkansas, he became the first African-American editor of the university’s yearbook. After graduation, he worked in sales for IBM and Hewlett Packard, but quit after thirteen hears to pursue his first love, writing. His first novel, Invisible Life, followed an African-American man’s journey of self-discovery as gay man, and themes of the struggle between acceptance and shame among African-American men on the “down low” would become a recurring theme in Harris’s oeuvre. Invisible Life first failed to find a publisher, so Harris he published it himself in 1991 and sold it out of the trunk of his car before he was finally discovered by Anchor Books in 1994.

After Invisible Life’s publication as a paperback, his career was set. He went on to author ten consecutive books which landed on The New York Times’s Best Seller List, making him simultaneously among the most successful African-American authors and gay authors for the past two decades. LGBT advocate Kieth Boykin observed that Harris’s books encouraged the black community to talk openly about homosexuality. “It was hard to go on a subway in places in New York or D.C. and not see some black woman reading an E. Lynn Harris novel,” Boykin said. Harris died in 2009 in Los Angeles of heart disease. In 2010, the Los Angeles Times posthumously named Invisible Life as one of the top 20 “classic works of gay literature.”

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

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