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Posts for April, 2010

Exodus Co-Founder: We Were All Still Struggling Silently As We Promised Change

A multi-part video interview series with Michael Bussee, co-founder of Exodus International turned critic.

Daniel Gonzales

April 21st, 2010

In today’s video Michael talks about an evening in New York City with another ex-gay leader that caused him to begin to question if anyone in the ex-gay movement was really changing. After talking to other Exodus leaders Michael finally came to the conclusion:

“[T]here were very few of us, if any, who were completely celibate, and we were all still silently struggling with out own sexuality, at the very same time we were promising change.  And that lack of integrity, that psychological and spiritual split just got wider and wider and wider until I couldn’t take it any more.”

(transcript after the jump)

Read the rest of this entry »

Exodus Co-Founder: Gay Kids Ending Up On Our Doorstep

A multi-part video interview series with Michael Bussee, co-founder of Exodus International turned critic.

Daniel Gonzales

April 19th, 2010

As we learned earlier this month the thinly veiled  ex-gay front group “American College of Pediatricians” issued a letter to school officials across the country advocating ex-gay therapy for teens questioning their sexual orientation.

Prior to the 2005 controversy where 16 year old Zach Stark was sent to the Love In Action residential ex-gay program against his will few people were aware that children are forced and coerced into exgay programs against their will.

However as this video interview with Exodus co-founder Michael Bussee shows, children have been victims of the ex-gay movement since it first began.  The details are in many ways even more upsetting than Zach’s experience:

(transcript after the jump)

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Exodus Co-Founder: The Inherent Harm In Ex-Gay Programs

A multi-part video interview series with Michael Bussee, co-founder of Exodus International turned critic.

Daniel Gonzales

April 15th, 2010

Dawson McAllister

Last Sunday gay blogger Greg Kimball pretended to be a questioning 16 year old teen and called the syndicated radio talk show  “Dawson McAllister Live” and was directed to Exodus International for “help.”  This is little surprise as McAllister’s “partners” page includes a link to Exous’ website.  A support operator at McAllister’s program told Kimball’s fictitious 16 year old “They [Exodus] will talk to you, they will counsel you, they will not condemn you, they will not make you feel little or anything.”

Convincing supporters of exgay programs that said programs can cause harm is one of the greatest hurdles ex-gay survivor activists like myself face.  Like McAllister’s operator, supporters believe they are truly doing their God’s work and the idea that exgay programs are inherently harmful is often too much to comprehend.

When survivors of exgay programs like myself and Michael Bussee tell our stories of harm we’re often met with the response that no, exgay programs aren’t harmful, our individual program was just in need of a minor correction.

In the first of my video series, Exodus co-founder Michael Bussee addresses that common misconception:

(Video transcript after the jump)

Read the rest of this entry »

Commemorating the Anniversary of an Ex-Gay Conference In Uganda

Jim Burroway

March 5th, 2010

Just LoveIt was exactly one year ago today when three American anti-gay activists stepped before a small crowd attending a conference in the posh Triangle Hotel in downtown Kampala, Uganda. Exodus International will, err, commemorate that anniversary by holding a “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in San Diego, in order to peddle the same junk science they helped to bring to Uganda twelve months ago.

But there will be a better commemoration of that date across town, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral. I’ll be there, along with former Exodus alumnus Michael Bussee, Truth Wins Out founder Wayne Besen, Straight Spouse Network founder Dr Amity Pierce Buxton, Director of the LGBT Rights Division of Human Rights Watch Scott Long, and many others. And if you’re in the San Diego area, we invite you to join us:

On Saturday, March 6, 2010, a one-day event will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in San Diego. The 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. which will confront and challenge the “ex- gay movement” – a national movement to “convert” gay and lesbian people to heterosexuality through purported “reparative” therapy efforts. To help educate people about the truth of such claims, and the legacy of harm they leave behind, a day-long conference will be held to expose and counteract this movement.

…Morning sessions, to be held in the Great Hall of the cathedral, will feature authors, psychologists and experts in the field. These will focus on the genesis and subsequent history of the ex-gay movement, the nature of and harm done by reparative therapy, the impact of both on the struggle for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and the ex-gay movement’s connection to the looming human rights disaster in Uganda.

It was on March 5, 2009 when we watched in horror as Exodus International boardmember Don Schmierer and a relatively unknown International Healing Foundation unlicensed “counselor” Caleb Lee Brundidge joined forces with perhaps one of the most notorious anti-gay extremist, Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively. We had no idea what the fruits of that conference would be, but knowing full well the reigns of terror that the Ugandan gay community had suffered in the very recent past, we feared the worst.

But our fears for the worst turned out to be a gross underestimation of what would actually happen as a result of that conference. The “Nuclear Bomb” that Scott Lively and his cohorts delivered that day would leave a devastating fallout: public outings of gay men and women in the press, arrests at at least one suspicious death believed to be at the hands of police, and general threats of mob violence. And all of this culminated in the tabling of the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill before Uganda’s Parliament, a bill that calls for the death sentence of gay people under certain circumstances (a penalty which could conceivably be extended to include just about anyone due to the bill’s sloppy language), and the virtual criminalization of anyone who knows or comes in contact with gay people.

A year later, the “nuclear bomb” delivered by American ex-gay activists continues to spread its toxic fallout in that troubled land. We stand committed to confronting that very same danger here. If any moment can crystallize the dangers that the ex-gay movement can so callously and carelessly deliver to an unsuspecting population, this is it. And today is the day to commemorate it.

St. Paul’s Cathedral is located at 2728 6th Ave in San Diego. Just Love will take place on Saturday, March 6, from 9:00 to 5:00. I look forward to seeing you there.

Click here to see BTB’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

OC Weekly On Exodus and Ex-Gay Survivor’s Conferences

Jim Burroway

July 27th, 2007

The OC Weekly yesterday published Janine Kahns’ excellent report on the Exodus and Ex-Gay Survivor’s conferences held in Irvine last month. She provides Michael Bussee’s detailed history with Exodus, and the years since he left Exodus with fellow ex-gay volunteer Gary Cooper when the two of them became life partners.

She also provides a good description of the two conferences, including highlights from Alan Chambers’ opening remarks at Exodus, a description of the workshop I gave at the Survivor’s conference, and interviews with attendees from both conferences.

A Second Snark Attack In Florida

Jim Burroway

July 25th, 2007

It’s been almost a full month since someone misused an apology. I’m referring to Exodus president Alan Chamber’s snide “acceptance” of the apologies from Darlene Bogle, Michael Bussee, and Jeremy Marks, former Exodus and Exodus-affiliated leaders. If you remember, they apologized for the harms they had done to their clients while acting as ex-gay leaders.

Well, the snarks have returned again, but not to Orlando. This time they headed to the coast, where we find Ft. Lauderdale mayor Jim Naugle responding to demands that he apologize for his unfounded allegations that gays were having sex in public toilets. You see, Naugle has a problem. Sgt. Frank Sousa of the Ft. Lauderdale police department says, “There’s no evidence, no reports or arrests made for any men having sex in any restrooms.” So what is Naugle’s next move?

Mayor Jim Naugle issued a public apology on the steps of City Hall Tuesday afternoon, but it wasn’t the apology the gay community was looking for. Naugle apologized for underestimating the problem of men having sex with each other in public restrooms, and urged people to call police to complain when they come upon it.

Exodus’s “Dialogue” Turns Ugly

Alan Chambers meets heartfelt sentiment with snark and sarcasm.

Jim Burroway

July 1st, 2007

Peterson Toscano and Christine Bakke, two of the organizers of the Ex-Gay Survivors Conference repeatedly invited several Exodus leaders to use the opportunity for their all being in town at the same time to begin a dialogue between ex-gay ministries and the survivors of those ministries. Despite tremendous pressure, a very few Exodus-affiliated ministry leaders were brave enough to engage in that private and confidential dialog.

I’m not privy to those conversations. But I’m pretty sure no minds were changed and no arguments were won. But I’m also happy to see that there are those who dedicate themselves to ministering God’s Word, and who trust in Him while reaching out to those with whom they disagree. I personally saw a few people wearing Exodus conference wristbands at the Survivor’s conference. They were respectful and respected.

But as that was going on, Exodus president Alan Chambers turned up the volume with an unusually snarky and sarcastic response to the apology issued by former Exodus-affiliated leaders:

In the early 1990’s I was a participant in an Exodus Member Ministry and was negatively affected by Darlene Bogle’s decision to go back into homosexuality. To have a leader who had written a book, led a ministry and spoken at conferences make such a decision was challenging for me in those early days. I was disappointed and mad. But, I also understood as an adult that we all make mistakes and that just because Darlene went back didn’t mean that I couldn’t make it. I appreciate the apology she made, but I don’t think she was apologizing to people like me.

Chambers’s statement goes on like this. He thinks Michael Bussee, one of the original co-founders of Exodus should “move on” and (apparently) just go away.

This is a very surprising response to be coming from Alan, but he has been under some pressure lately. He took a lot of flack for his brave stance in a recent LA Times article. When Chambers delivered his opening remarks to the Exodus conference, he promised that he wasn’t going to back down from that position.

And on top of that flack, maybe the Ex-Gay survivor’s conference was just too much for him. Alan is more accustomed to dealing with protesters who, frankly, know very little about the ex-gay movement. But this time Exodus was met not with protesters but with ordinary people who know very well what the ex-gay movement has meant in their own lives. This clearly put the Exodus leadership in a situation they hadn’t seen before, and they handled it poorly.

Exodus vice-president Randy Thomas is quoted as saying, “We are always in ongoing communication with people who disagree with us, people with similar testimonies… We definitely will be in communication with them.” But the response so far has been to treat this “communication” as yet another battle in the culture war.

There may be many reasons for Alan to lash out the way he did, but there really aren’t any excuses. When one person apologizes to another, a third person doesn’t act like a jerk in reaction. Alan met heartfelt sentiment with snark and sarcasm. This behavior is beneath him. I find this response to be particularly disappointing because I know that Alan is a much better man than this. I’m sure this won’t be the last chance for dialogue, and maybe next time Alan will be more free to respond according to his better nature.

Update: Darlene Bogle Responds

BTB Original Video Interviews With Former Exodus Leaders

Daniel Gonzales

June 28th, 2007

Yesterday this site reported on three former Exodus leaders who made a public apology to former clients of exgay programs. I attended that press conference (and helped accept the apology) but also shot video interviews with the three former leaders.

Strategically it has always been difficult to counter Exodus’ claims of change when they use the “I’ve changed and I’m living proof change is possible” argument. I believe these three interviews provide an answer to Exodus’ approach.

Michael Bussee:
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Darlene Bogle:
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Jeremy Marks:
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I asked the same question of other ex-ex-gays at the press conference and those will be uploaded later

See also:

BTB Original Video Interview With Michael Bussee, Co-Founder Of Exodus

Three Former Exodus Leaders Apologize

Jim Burroway

June 27th, 2007

The Exodus Freedom Conference is in its first full day at Concordia University in Irvine, California. This morning, Beyond Ex-Gay and Soulforce held a press conference at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, at which three former ex-gay leaders apologized for their roles in Exodus-affiliated ex-gay ministries:

As former leaders of ex-gay ministries, we apologize to those individuals and families who believed our message that there is something inherently wrong withvbeing gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Some who heard our message were compelled to try to change an integral part of themselves, bringing harm to themselves and their families. Although we acted in good faith, we have since witnessed the isolation, shame, fear, and loss of faith that this message creates. We apologize for our part in the message of broken truth we spoke on behalf of Exodus and other organizations.

We call on other former ex-gay leaders to join the healing and reconciliation process by adding their names to this apology.

We encourage current leaders of ex-gay programs to have the courage to evaluate the fruit of their programs. We ask them to consider the long-term effects of their ministry.

Among those apologizing were:

  • Darlene Bogle, a former assistant pastor who had directed Paraklete Ministries in Hayward, California until she met her partner at a 1990 ex-gay workshop.
  • Michael Bussee, who was a cofounder of Exodus International in 1975. He left Exodus after falling in love with another volunteer at an Exodus-affiliated ministry in 1979. He is now a frequent critic of Exodus, and was featured in a series of videos right here on Box Turtle Bulletin.
  • Jeremy Marks, who had founded Courage U, which began as a classic ex-gay ministry before evolving into a gay-affirming organization.

You can find their full statements at Beyond Ex-Gay. Beyond Ex-Gay and Soulforce will be holding an Ex-Gay Survivor’s Conference June 29 to July 1 at the University of California at Irvine, literally just a few miles down University Blvd. from the Exodus conference.

BTB Original Video Interview With Michael Bussee, Co-Founder Of Exodus

Daniel Gonzales

June 27th, 2007

Last September hundreds of gays and lesbians from around So Cal gathered in Palm Springs to speak out against Love Won Out. Included in those who came to Palm Springs was Michael Bussee one of the co-founders of Exodus who later left the ministry realizing it didn’t work. USC film student Esteban Rael pulled Bussee aside and shot a video interview with Michael for his upcoming masters thesis film me & god. Esteban and I have collaborated frequently on our respective projects/interests and he and Michael were both kind enough to let me publish nine clips from that interview here.

The first two videos below tell the story of what led to the founding of Exodus and Michael’s eventual shift to speaking out against exgay therapy. The remainder of the clips are on a variety of exgay issues.

The Creation of Exodus International
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Two Of Exodus’ Founders Come Out As ‘Ex-Ex-Gay’
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Gay Therapist On His Religious Clients’ Inner Conflict
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“Exgay” Conversion Therapy For Gay Youth?
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Am I Gay? Will God Change Me?
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Growing Up – What The Culture Taught Me About Being Gay
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Are ‘Gay’ and ‘Christian’ Incompatible?
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A 12 Year Old Boy Struggles To Find Out What ‘Gay’ Means
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“Exgay” Organizations Oppose Hate Crime Protections
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See also:

BTB Original Video Interviews With Former Exodus Leaders

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