This Is What Ex-Gay Pride Looks Like

Jim Burroway

August 1st, 2013

They had promised the spectacle of “thousands of ex-gays” descendending on Washington, but in the end about ten people — ten! — showed up for what was billed as an “ex-gay pride” demonstration in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to demand “their rights,” or something. Chris Doyle’s group, Voice of the Voiceless, which organized the event, has a longstanding habit of co-opting the language of the civil rights movement, claiming that ex-gays are a persecuted minority in need of special protections under the law. The inherent contradiction of an “ex-gay” minority status — um, wouldn’t that just be straight? — is never explained or resolved. I guess they hoped you wouldn’t see the fundamental flaw in that logic.

But ignoring fundamental flaws in logic is precisely what Doyle was trained for, seeing as he is a protege of Richard Cohen of couch-cuddling and pillow-whacking fame (and, more sinisterly, providing a speaker for the notorious 2009 anti-gay conference in Kampala featuring Scott Lively).

In the video above, you see Chuck Peters, the research assistant for Voice of the Voiceless, condemning gay rights advocates for being “bigoted,” “heterophobic.” “Why can’t I choose who I love?”, he pleads, asking a question no one has ever bothered arguing. But his best domonstration of his heterosexuality came when he schooled the crowd — nope, too small. Group? Fellow taxi-sharers? —  in the signature ex-gay cheer: “Hip hip hurray for ex-gays!” So nineteenth century, guys.

Anyway, despite claiming that there are “tens of thousands of ex-gays,” fewer than tens showed up. According to Right Wing Watch:

Besides Doyle, ex-gay activists Greg Quinlan of Parents and Friends of Gays and Ex-Gays (PFOX), Richard Cohen of the International Healing Foundation and Douglas McIntyre of Homosexuals Anonymous also participated.


August 1st, 2013

They know that they aren’t straight. The “ex-gay” industry is like a cult and these people completely wrap up their identity and the worth in their “ex-gay” identity.

It’s a bit like the Kirstie Alleys and Tom Cruises of Ex-gaytology.


August 1st, 2013

I have so many questions. Who is discriminating against you? What case has made it to the Supreme Court that concerns any ex-gay issue? What fundamental ex-gay civil rights are being violated?

What made you think holding a rally in front of the Supreme Court building when they are not in session, and on a weekday, would attract attention?

How far has your fundraising dropped off in the last six months?

This non-ex-gay wants to know. And he thinks he hit the nail on the head with that last question.


August 1st, 2013

The proper word for a collective of ex-gays is, obviously, a “hooray.”

A hooray of ex-gays.

Richard Rush

August 1st, 2013

For a few moments I almost felt sorry for them. And then I remembered that this isn’t just pathetic delusion, it’s a desperate tactic to keep alive the politically necessary lie that gays can and should change. This lie promoted as “truth” has been a major part of what gave traction to the entire anti-gay industry, and now in the wake of so many “ex”-gays recanting, they are desperate to keep the lie alive.

Michael C

August 1st, 2013

Wow. I think I saw Cohen’s wife standing up there holding a sign, but where are the families of the other members? Doyle’s wife/parents? Quinlan’s wife/siblings? Cohen’s own children? Their family members didn’t even show up?


August 1st, 2013

Almost as amusing as these anti-gay protests:

Mark Miner

August 1st, 2013

What’s so delicious is that this blog is also historically-minded enough to regularly post pictures of early gay rights rallies, with only a few poorly dressed attendees holding ratty-looking little signs, together with snotty comments of those in power: how pathetic and unsatisfied and weird the marchers looked, how few and how marginalized they obviously were, etc.


—Mark Miner


August 1st, 2013


This gigantic gathering really puts that 1993 Gay Rights March on Washington to shame.

Regan DuCasse

August 1st, 2013

I’m with Richard, you almost want to pity them. It almost feels like mocking the brain damaged.
As said, these are people who not only continue the lie that gay people can change, but that gay people are otherwise threatening, militant and liars if they don’t.
Their claims for non interest in their political action, is that other ex gays and their supporters are too intimidated by ‘the homosexual lobby’ to make a show in public.
Because of that, only Doyle and Co are the stalwart courageous warriors who demonstrate in defiance of those militant gays.
There are children in their graves because of the anti gay sentiment that’s poisoned children enough to torment another child, literally to death.
The anti gay violence and human rights abuses are real, horrific and deserve INTERNATIONAL attention.
These ex gays are so utterly petty and selfish in their indifference to the suffering they ARE helping to cause.
This proves they are mean, spiteful and deluded.
So a swift civil ass kicking is exactly what they deserve. If not mockery by neglect.


August 1st, 2013

Sorry Mark Miner.
I am missing your point.

I assume there is one.

Timothy Kincaid

August 1st, 2013

They really should pick smaller venues.

Timothy Kincaid

August 1st, 2013

heterophobic gay activists will stop at nothing to attack ex-gays

hmmm. Me thinks theres a bit o’ grammar problems with that.

Attacking ex-gays doesn’t quite gel with ‘heterophobic’, unless he’s saying that he’s actually just heterosexual and all their claiming of a separate orientation status is bullpoop.


August 1st, 2013

Hip hip hurray? Clearly they’re ex’s because that shit would never cut it in ACT UP.


August 1st, 2013

“Why can’t I choose who I love?”

Wow, Chuck, coming from you, that’s deep.


August 1st, 2013

Does anyone know what the hell Mark Milner is talking about? I’m with SharonB, I think he’s trying to make some kind of point but, for the life of me, I can’t figure out what it might be.

Timothy Kincaid

August 1st, 2013

I think Milner’s point is this:

At one time only the brave and few were willing to risk their reputation and lives for gay rights. The pictures we have of those times show a tiny crowd trying desperately to be recognized.

He sees similarity in that here are a tiny crowd of ex-gays willing to risk their reputation and lives trying desperately to be recognized. And he find it hypocritical that we extol the gay pioneers and mock the ex-gay pioneers.

There are boatloads of reasons why the situations are not comparable … but it is, I believe, his point.

Jim Burroway

August 2nd, 2013

One difference: those small crowds from the 1960s that Milner alludes to weren’t the remnant of the “thousands” of people who were promised to descend on Washington but somehow never materialized. Also, gays were truly oppressed. Heterosexuals… excuse me, “ex-gays,” not so much.


August 2nd, 2013

Another difference: those small early LGBT protests at Independence Hall were very much the first public stirrings of nascent movement. And in the relatively short span of a few years they were eclipsed by much larger actions that were organized in the wake of Stonewall. There was forward momentum and that momentum continues today.

Contrast this to the ex-gay movement that was first launched into wide awareness in 1997 thanks to very well funded and orchestrated advertising and PR campaigns backed by the considerable weight of evangelical christian money. A movement that at the time promised that gays could change to complete and happy heterosexuality.

16 years later it can muster only 10 people at a press conference promoting something quixotically described as ex-gay rights. Not heterosexual, “ex-gay”, and only 10 people, at least 3 of whom rely on selling ex-gay therapy for their livelihoods. The ex-gay movement isn’t just getting off the ground, it’s landed after 16+ years in this strange place that it now inhabits.


August 2nd, 2013

I was just giving “Mark Miner” a chance to prove that he doesn’t suffer from recto-cranial inversion, but I guess it was just a drive-by troll-job on his part. : /

Mark Miner

August 2nd, 2013

Thanks, Tim, for reading between the lines and getting my point. I had typed a more coherent comment, but the window accidently got blanked, so I re-typed it from memory, leaving out the conclusion.
As you can see by my site,, I am deeply committed to thinking through gender-identity formation issues.
I believe it was an often-made point in the early days of gay activism that “those of us you see represent only a tiny fraction of the homosexuals out there. Most are too afraid to come out and show their faces.” Most people who have gone ahead and gotten into a heterosexual marriage have so many demands on their time, and so little desire to be a target for gay activists’ comments and attention, so little desire to remember and be dragged back into “all that,” that they don’t bother to come out for these political events. So the ones that do come out are going to be rather “fierce.”
Coming out as “ex-gay” doesn’t subject you to much adverse comment, not at all. You just go through the rest of your life with a sign on your back saying: “Hi, I’m in the Special Olympics of Sexuality! It may take me 12 hours to go around the track in my wheelchair, but hey, at least I’ll finish the course!” If you don’t have a lot of humility and a good sense of humor about your sexual frailty, you’re going to have a hard time.

The question of the momentum of the gay movement is very interesting. I’m looking for signs of when the current Obama-era forward movement crests and begins to fall. The solid gay marriages out there, held up as role-models, are certainly wonderful to see. But people like Dr. Gagnon are quite on the mark when they comment that male-male relationships are fire+fire, very exciting sexually but also quick to burn out. How long are Dan & Terry going to stay together after Dan publically and disrespectfully jokes about pumping Terry’s ass full of semen? How long are we going to find Neal Patrick Harris and Dave Burtka utterly cute, when NPH gets on Conan and jokes about how gay men have a free pass for butt-honking, and the grossness of “going deep?” Maintaining the advances of gay rights depends on gay people showing restraint, never a strong suit. What it boils down to is: GAY = GUYS ACTING YOUNG. Have at it, you guys, this is your moment in the sun. But be aware that I am watching very closely to see if play-acting as mommy and daddy is really what you want.


August 2nd, 2013


I find it incredibly amusing that you pick celebrity couples to discuss, and only male couples. You forget all about Edie Windsor, who was with her wife for 40 years, or Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon who were together for over 50 years.

If you look to celebrities for your view on marriage, same sex or otherwise, you sure have bigger problems than being anti-gay.

You also forget to mention the marriage of Brittany Spears that lasted 50 some odd hours, or that of Kim Kardashian that lasted 72 or so days. My husband and I have been together for 15 years, my good friend John has been with his husband for over 20, my friend Karen has been with her wife for over 20 years as well. When you look to average regular non celebrity people you will find a story that you don’t want to admit. We last as long or short as our heterosexual counterpoints. Heterosexual marriages, like same sex marriages last depending on WHO enters them, not due to their sexuality.

And your last line makes you sound like a creepy Internet stalker, watch your own life closely, ours isn’t for you.

Regan DuCasse

August 2nd, 2013

@Mark Miner: speaking as an ever straight woman, your comment leaves out something very vital that also occurs among blacks in this country.
The status of being MINORITY in a dominant culture that is active in keeping that minority disjointed, without connection, and misrepresented doesn’t and won’t have the same clout nor access.
This is deliberate and always has been. There has been a violent war on gay people, so pointing out whatever failures, pathology is dismissive of the actual root.
That gay people have prevailed DESPITE all that and with a non violent campaign of due process of law to achieve social justice, is remarkable and something to be proud of.

Ex gays look to straddle scoring heterosexual privilege, with a show of yet unproven conversion, at the expense of the truth about homosexuality and the peace of their gay brethren.
Gay people don’t and can’t do the harm that ex gays participate in.
There is otherwise no need to advertise being ex gay, unless there is a socio/political agenda to keep gay people from fulfilling their own personal destinies.
And ex gay can go forward with their heterosexual privilege WITHOUT denigrating gay people.
But they don’t do that and lose credibility that this is about personal choice.

It’s not as long as there is participation of ex gays in public policy AGAINST gay people.
Dr. Gagnon, as do many anti gay critics, rely on stereotypes. Not just regarding orientation, but gender too.

And for someone committed to gender identity formation issues, you seem to only care about those same stereotypes. Therefore learning nothing about how gender actually works.
Ex gays to not have, nor offer any clarification, nor truth on this subject.
Considering how they also rely on the legacy of hostility and isolation of gay people to gain the status they covet, to have to do so poisons whatever their claims are to the contrary.
They deserve to be ignored, and they invite mockery by their own hypocrisy and contradictions in terms.
No one is afraid of the truth MORE than an ex gay. Because the truth will get them the same results as this demonstration.
They are not at risk, they are not contributing to any social good, or human progress.
They refuse to own responsibility for what they do and say and the negative result.
People tire of them and their intellectual, moral dishonesty and social cowardice.
And should.
Therefore, they hosted a rally, and nobody cared.
High time they took the hint.

Mark Miner

August 2nd, 2013

I don’t look to celebrities, generally, for my ideas about marriage. I grew up in a conservative church where A LOT of the folks had celebrated their 50th wedding anniversaries. My parents are coming up on their 50th. NOM, in their treacly way, would say that I have a priceless moral heritage in the example of those dear, elderly saints.

I think Robert Oscar Lopez covered Edie Windsor already.

I wouldn’t comment on, much less stalk, people who keep their private lives private. And I’m prepared to show a certain degree of honor and respect for the loyalty that some same-sex couples are able to show each other year in, year out. But when Dan or Neil or Wayne Besen go on talk shows and open their Big Gay Mouths . . . that’s another story. When a man starts swaggering about with his catamite, that’s when things get ugly. Speaking mythologically, Juno (the goddess of marriage) gets upset when Zeus swaggers around with his catamite, Ganymede. In the farce of the contemporary debate, Jennifer Roback Morse is doing the best job playing Juno, and Wayne Besen is doing the best job of swaggering about with his catamite.
BTB bulletin is doing a great job of supplying historical context and investigative reporting on the contemporary gay-rights scene, and it is the first gay blog I read in the morning, because of the high level of intellectual discourse.


August 2nd, 2013

MarkMiner, “male-male relationships are fire+fire, very exciting sexually but also quick to burn out.”

Is that not true of all relationships? If you look at the pattern of sexual activity between heterosexual couples, it starts strong but often the frequency wanes as the years go by. When those relationships persevere, something else is driving the need, whether it be love or familiarity or necessity. The same is absolutely true for same sex relationships; to say otherwise is being disingenuous at best.

My spouse and I have been together 27 years, married for four. Of the couples we know, one has been together over 50 years, another 37, etc… As SSM becomes the norm, it becomes something people can strive for and that changes the dynamics of the ‘sex is the motivation’ culture, IMO.

Mark Miner

August 2nd, 2013

I’m all for young guys with same-sex interests getting together, having fun, learning how to work together politically, and imposing codes of behavior on themselves that enable them to be taken seriously by the rest of society. Historically, that’s what initiation groups have been all about. That strategy worked for black people, (as you point out,) it worked for Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, it is now working for gay people, and, in time, in may even work for boy-lovers. Though of course the last group will always self-sabotage, because growing up and being taken seriously by society is the last thing those pueri aeterni want to do.

To the conservative mind, “heterosexual privilege” is earned by the assumption of (a long list of) heterosexual responsibilities, including the arduous task of raising and training new members of society. Two men forming a private alliance which benefits only themselves are what the Greeks would call idiotai, which literally means “only interested in themselves.” Society will be more interested in recognizing gay marriage, when gay marriage acknowledges a purpose for itself in society, BEYOND the private bedroom amusements of two gentlemen or two ladies.

Where do the public “ex-gays” get their obnoxious, “loud & proud” attitude from? Maybe from their background in . . . being gay?

If you don’t find ex-gays interesting, Regan, please allow me to so that I DO. I see them as making courageous efforts to reweave the torn fabric of their same-sex relationships AND their opposite-sex relationships. Most of them are busy with that, not with public speaking.

Regan DuCasse

August 3rd, 2013

MarkMiner: First of all, your slam at pedophilia making a strong political point, was more obnoxious and typically prejudiced. It’s another stereotype to misrepresent what homosexuality is.
Because pedophilia isn’t a matter of GENDER attraction at all. Nor is there a corresponding aspect either.
It’s a paraphilia, which isn’t exclusive to any sexual orientation. Nor is it one unto itself.

Also, you’re stereotyping ss attraction as a selfish one. As if heterosexuals aren’t invested in their attractions for selfish reasons.
So again, you’re attributing NEGATIVE stereotype when gay people do EXACTLY what heterosexuals do.

Your comment is loaded with prejudiced assumptions that gay people cannot and don’t contribute to the safety and nurturing of the next generation, nor contribute in other ways to society at large.

Gay people have succeeded in doing all of that, DESPITE every effort to KEEP them from being self determined and free to access what their talent and interests warrant.
Big difference. Not as much opportunity for the same relationship support, nor familial or professional access and protections.

Yet, you judge on the results of that UNFAIR restriction, instead of the accomplishment in spite of it.
Heterosexuals have had a level field, gay people have been forced to climb hills with yokes on their necks.
And as for ex gays, they have engaged in political action that doesn’t accord any freedom and equal justice for gay people.
They are not going about their personal business as such, but defending public policy that’s created the ex gay monster in the first place.
They are deliberately interfering with the very necessary social honesty, interaction and biological understanding of what homosexuality and gender expression actually is.

The ex gay industry has to thrive on the legacy of brutal social attack on gay people, and fear and ignorance.
Gay people do not.
Ex gays have a tendency to be VERY morally and intellectually dishonest.
And are not respectful of the rights and freedoms of gay people.
Yet demand accommodation because they think their religious beliefs and all that their existence rests on is challenged.

There is no urgency in being ex gay, because this is an aspect of their lives that has UNHEALTHY and dangerous social stigma against homosexuality at it’s root.
There has been a long tradition of trying to turn gay people straight. A demand that it be done on condition of the civil and human rights of gay people.
In comparison, gay people haven’t had the opportunity, nor choice to SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.

In other words, ex gays have actually HAD their turn. For decades.
They’ve had FAR more time than anyone else to prove themselves.
And FAILED. And rightly so.
They can’t. And no amount of denigrating gay people is going to change that failure.
Now it’s the gay folks rightful turn to speak and show the truth of their lives, needs and social value.
Long overdue, in fact.
There is no reason for the fear and ignorance that ex gays depend on, to prevail.
None at all.

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