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We have a useful weblink from Kevin for those struggling with being gay and religious as well as a story by Lee that is continued in his blog.1) Hey, guys, ...Click then scroll down for more...
Make the Yuletide Gay Director(s): Rob WilliamsCategory: FictionSubject: GayCountry: USALanguage: EnglishSubtitles: noYear: 2009Format: VideoRun Time: 93 min Make the Yuletide Gay brings a funny enjoyable addition to the gay holiday genre that ...Click then scroll down for more...
The first National glossy magazine for Lesbian, Gay, ...Click then scroll down for more...
Noted independent filmmaker James Bolton's feature, The Graffiti Artist hasbeen mesmerizing the international film circuit from Berlin to Seattle, andfrom Rio to Athens with its luscious visuals, iconoclastic content, anddistinctive ...Click then scroll down for more...
They say gays can be 'cured'Star writer hears groups' message Homosexuality seen as a conditionDAVID GRAHAMTORONTO STAR LIFE ...Click then scroll down for more...
TIME magazine references chadzboyz.com in our cover story this week. Please consider using the cover image and/or linking to the story on TIME.com. KIDS ARE DISCLOSING THEIR HOMOSEXUALITY WITH ...Click then scroll down for more...
September 2008 Now that school is back in session, it's good time to view of one of the summer's coolest comedies. The Curiosity of Chance is an '80s comedy set "somewhere ...Click then scroll down for more...
More in: Gay Media
|They say gays can be 'cured'|
They say gays can be 'cured'|
Star writer hears groups' message
Homosexuality seen as a condition
TORONTO STAR LIFE WRITER
VANCOUVER—I have been researching this story for three decades.
I was 20 when I had my first brush with what has come to be called "reparative" or "conversion" therapy, treatments for the illness of homosexuality.
I was studying political science at Queen's University and during my second year I spent evenings over many weeks in a tiny office at the Kingston Psychiatric Hospital shackled at the wrists and ankles with tiny electrodes.
My therapist projected homoerotic images on her office wall. And with each stimulating vision came an abrupt, teeth-numbing shock. It was a crude form of aversion therapy and I was an enthusiastic patient. Just out of my teens, the prospect of a life as a homosexual seemed unthinkably depressing.
Fast forward 30 years. I am sitting in a church in Vancouver's east end with 500 other people, being told that if I really try, if I really want it badly enough, I can become a heterosexual.
I came here because I believe the organizers of this event are my KKK, that if they had their way they would eliminate my people, and I wanted to hear their message first hand.
Over the past few months I have been receiving intermittent e-mails about a program called Love Won Out, an initiative sponsored by the Colorado-based far-right group Focus on The Family.
These e-mails are warmly phrased and at first glance seem remarkably friendly toward gays and lesbians. They are an invitation to understand the organization's particular truth about homosexuality and their remarkable conviction that homosexuality is "preventable and treatable."
They say this despite the fact homosexuality was removed from the list of mental disorders in the early '70s and most medical associations discourage or oppose therapies that attempt to change homosexuals into heterosexuals.
"It is not a credible, sustainable view," says David Rayside, a professor of political science and sexual diversity studies at the University of Toronto. "In behavioural terms you can repress feelings but that's not conversion. The preponderance of scientific evidence proves that conversion therapy does not work."
Undaunted, Focus on The Family ministers to as many gays and lesbians as possible with its travelling conversion shows, such as the one that took place here Saturday. It has already held conferences in 26 other cities including Toronto. The next Canadian stop is Winnipeg.
Legalized same-sex marriages and new laws banning hate propaganda that targets gays and lesbians make its work more pressing. Sadly, the AIDS epidemic has been a powerful sales tool for the ex-gay movement, though that is not talked about here.
Typically these conferences are picketed by gay rights associations but there was no protest in Vancouver.
It's 7:45 a.m. Saturday. The conference hasn't started yet and I'm already feeling anxious. This program pulls no punches. It does not even pretend to be politically correct. There are workshops denouncing the pro-gay Christian agenda, pro-gay messages being delivered in schools and the pro-gay interpretation of the Bible.
They come armed with surveys and statistics to make their point that homosexuality is a developmental condition that can be treated, even cured. They scoff at statistics that suggest 10 per cent of the population is gay, arguing the number is much lower. They dismiss statistics on gay teen suicides, again estimating the numbers have been exaggerated to further the gay agenda. In short, the Love Won Out players believe, "there are no homosexuals, just heterosexuals with a homosexual problem."
Over nine hours I will be repeatedly reminded I am in a category of sinners that includes drug addicts and post-abortive women and "that Jesus hung a little longer on the cross for people like me."
The lobby of the church is lined with kiosks representing such organizations as Exodus International and Living Waters, conservative Christian groups for ex-gays. These types of ministries dot the U.S. with names like Desert Stream and even Homosexuals Anonymous. There now exists a worldwide network of secular and faith-based reparative groups that operate as "reversal", "reorientation" or "transitioning" healers. There are dozens of affiliated Exodus chapters around the world, including one in Ajax. Their booths here are manned by ex-gays in smart khaki pants, deck shoes and crisp broadcloth shirts. Other booths sell books with titles like, You Don't Have To be Gay and Preventing Homosexuality.
At 8 a.m. I take my seat close to the front but off to the side.
I am uncomfortable.
The headliners of this conference are former gays Mike Haley and Melissa Fryrear. Haley, who lived for 12 years as a homosexual and even has a prostitution charge on his record, is married now and has two sons. He is handsome, blond, with blue eyes and admits he was a heartbreaker during his years as a promiscuous gay man.
Most medical associations oppose therapies to change homosexuals into heterosexuals
Fryrear tells us of her colourful life as a rebellious lesbian. In an old photograph shown to the audience she wears a man's shirt and jeans. She has short black hair and a cigarette dangles from her mouth. Now she wears pantyhose, a navy skirt, a simple blouse and pumps. She has found God but laments she has not found a husband.
The conference, through Haley's and Fryrear's testimonials and lectures from their roster of experts, reaches out to parents and families of gay people and offers them skills on how to understand homosexuality while remaining true to God's word. They hold out the hope that there is a treatment.
They are taught the image of the rabid protester waving a "Turn or Burn" banner at a Gay Pride Parade is not furthering their cause. So they are adopting a new stance. From now on they will be perceived as compassionate and aware.
To understand the psychology, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi walks us through the sorts of families that are more likely than others to produce a homosexual child, "to find out why junior is wearing mascara." He introduces us to the usual suspects, the absent, ineffective father and the cold, unfeeling mother — or is it the other way around?
Now I'm worried. At least the angry protester waving the banner is the devil I know.
But this new, well-meaning person, armed with a little knowledge, terrifies me. They are not going to shun me or shake a condemning fist at me. Rather, they will kill me with kindness, eradicate my personality with love and understanding.
I want to hate these people. But I can't. They are as close to the subject of homosexuality as I am. The difference is they believe it is a sin and I don't. And now they believe it is changeable and I don't.
Mostly I worry about the thousands of men and women who enrol in their conversion courses and fail. Exodus itself only claims a 30 per cent to 40 per cent success rate. Surely such high failure rates would do more harm than good, heightening the potential for depression and anxiety.
According to Haley, Love Won Out does not condone the types of aversion therapies I endured. So I need to know how they perform this water-into-wine miracle, altering a person's sexual orientation.
I've heard lots of stories.
Gay men have been encouraged to play sports, reduce their flamboyant tendencies with Prozac and even gain weight to assume a more manly figure.
And yes, there are stories of exorcisms, where men embark on fasts for days and in their weakened states ministers toil to rid them of their demons.
Apparently, Love Won Out advocates a gentler therapy.
"The approaches are different for different people," Haley says during an interview in the basement of the church.
"We have to understand the root of their drives. We want to know why they are inclined to act sexually on their unmet emotional needs."
With that information they can establish a course of action based on "proper male bonding." While some men are content to attend drop-in sessions, or a 22-week program like Living Waters, others like Haley choose to immerse themselves in year-long residential programs, where they get a variety of treatments, including mentoring, prayer and counselling.In the most obtuse possible way, Haley suggests that as a homosexual begins to appreciate the love associated with appropriate male bonding, the inappropriate homosexual urges and fantasies slowly fall away. He acknowledges it is a life-long struggle and admits recidivism is a big issue.
The high failure rate has launched a third tier of homosexuals — ex-ex-gays determined to expose ex-gay operations, which they say only help homosexuals look heterosexual and stop homosexual activity.
Still, every year countless parents wipe the clear nail polish off their son's fingers, pry the baseball bat from their daughter's hands and enrol them in reorientation programs.
A Nov. 21, 2000 story in the Advocate, a gay and lesbian newsmagazine, reported this quote from Scott Melendez, who leads an ex-ex-gay group in Washington D.C. "The ex-gay movement thrives on renewable resources, on new people coming in all the time to replace the ones who realize it's a farce and leave."