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columns, advice & rants

The Ex-Gay Movement and Reparative Therapy as a Cure for Homosexuality.

June 25 2005

In recent weeks the story of Zach, a 16 year old youth who identifies as homosexual and confided in his parents as to his sexuality, has made headlines and moved and motivated people all over the world to speak out about the ‘evils’ and the ‘Atrocity’ that is the Ex-Gay Movement, right wing fundamentalist religion and Reparative Therapy, but is this merely a knee jerk reaction to something that we…and in particular us gays…fear and do not completely understand?

The same could be said about the Ex-Gay movement…their blatant intolerance of homosexuality is from fear, something that they don’t understand, or don’t WANT to understand.

After Zach told his parents that he is gay, there was the normal reaction of any parent, the cried, it is an emotional time for a family. Where-as most parents eventually ‘accept’ their child’s sexuality and still love their child regardless, Zach parents informed him that he IS going to camp called ‘REFUGE’ run by an organization called ‘Love In Action’that comes under the umbrella of an international organization called 'Exodus Global Alliance', a global Ex-gay movement that believes that Homosexuality CAN be cured by Reparative Therapy.

The question I am asking, and hoping to answer is are we, the gay community, justified in taking a united stand against the Ex-Gay movement, Religious Fundamentalists and a therapy that ‘supposedly’ cures homosexuality?

Exodus claims its ‘development is testament to God’s work in calling people into ministry’, which began in 1973 with Frank Worthen beginning a ministry to homosexuals in the USA called ‘Love In Action’ (liA as I will refer to it from here-on). In 1976 Frank Worthen organized a conference of ex-gay ministries in the USA and from here Exodus was formed.

Peter Lane then joined the Exodus Alliance in 1978 and bought Exodus Global Alliance to Australia in the form of his Ministry to Homosexuals in Australia called ‘Liberty Ministry’. Now called ‘Liberty Inc.’ their contact addresses are right here in Queensland….Tingalpa, Maroochydore and Buderim, and Exodus Asia-Pacifichaving a postal address in Milton.

Exodus Global Alliance at this point in time is truly global, Taking up camp across the America’s, Asia-Pacific, Europe and African Nations.

It doesn’t matter which countries website of Exodus Global Alliance you look at…their sole mission is to ‘Transform the power of the Lord Jesus Christ to those affected by SEXUAL BROKENESS’, and obviously homosexuality is seen as sexual brokenness. All this wouldn’t be an issue if this ‘Church’ and their right-wing fundamentalists leaders didn’t take the ‘I am always right, and if you don’t agree with me then you are always wrong’ attitude. It is this attitude of the ex-gay movement that supports their ‘opinions’ that sexuality IS chosen and therefore can be cured.

Scientifically it cannot be proven, nor dis-proven that sexual orientation is a choice, but having said that, ongoing scientific research is beginning to lean towards sexuality as being something a person is born with rather than something that is acquired through nature or nurture. (Read : THE GENETICS OF HOMOSEXUAliTYby
Dara Newman….How homosexuality is 'inherited'by BBC News UK, or more recently June 16th 2005 Being gay is in the genes, say researchers). Science is less divided on the issue of Sexuality being genetic these days, but as a foot note they do say that Sexuality can be learned (And I am assuming Unlearned)

That raises another issue. The ex-gay movement claims and has testimonials to the effect that ‘gays’ have been cured. The ones that claim to have truly been cured, were they actually ever gay? Or did they choose/learn to be gay? Can one that is born gay and has no choice in the matter really be cured or are they left emotionally scarred from the torment of reparative therapy as a ‘cure’? Should there really be a forced intervention into ones life who declares themselves homosexual or should they be allowed to develop in to the person they will ultimately ‘naturally’ (without interjection) become?

Zach is 16 years old, he is going through a difficult enough time as it is coming to terms with his identity, his role in life, his career aspiration, and where he fits in to the big scheme of things without being forced into a therapy that he feels he doesn’t need and could ultimately damage him…at his own parents discretion.

An excellent website that deals with the ‘Failures of Ex-Gay Ministries can be found here.

So, are we, the gay community, justified in taking a united stand against the Ex-Gay movement, Religious Fundamentalists and a therapy that ‘supposedly’ cures homosexuality?

In my opinion YES, anything that ‘could’ hurt, damage, inadvertently affect, or encourage one to commit suicide before accepting something that a fundamentalist tells you is evil, should be vehemently opposed. We should make a noise weather we are gay, gay friendly, accepting of the gay community, heterosexual, or just a concerned human being when we see any potential abuse of anyone…in particular a minor.

Zach’s Journal

Save Zach Petition (Anti-homophobic Religious Activities)

Darren (