Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Outing PFOX and their pals

When I first heard the term 'ex-gay', it sounded fairly benign to me. Having been guilty of ignorance about the nuances of sexual orientation for most of my life, I didn't think there was anything offensive about it. I was mildly aware that within gay communities, the perception of ex-gay groups tends to be not very positive, but I had no idea why.

Now I know why. The spoken message from ex-gay groups is "you can change." The unspoken message is "you must change." They believe that gay people must change sexual orientation because according to them, being gay is an abomination to Christ. features a very thorough and indepth report on the ex-gay movement that clearly explains its history, and the real reason it exists.

Calculated Compassion: How The Ex-Gay Movement Serves The Right's Attack on Democracy

A report from Political Research Associates the Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and, Equal Partners in Faith

Copyright 1998, Surina Khan and Political Research Associates


The growing prominence of the ex-gay movement is the result of a strategic shift within the Christian Right: the new packaging of an old message. The claim that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people can be "cured" has more to do with the Right's political objectives and its bitter opposition to equal rights than with genuine caring. This report examines how the Christian Right has adopted the ex-gay movement in response to increasing pressure to soften its homophobic rhetoric.

While a vast array of religious denominations and a growing majority of the public is increasingly supportive of equality and fair treatment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, the ex-gay movement is gaining media attention and increasing legitimacy by promoting a discredited therapeutic practice known as "reparative therapy" and by claiming to act in the name of religion. Reparative therapy has been repudiated by prominent psychological and psychiatric organizations. The religious principles promoted by the ex-gay movement are part of a fundamentalist Christian agenda that has caused concern and opposition from within virtually all mainstream communities of faith.

Our three organizations have come together to raise critical questions about the motivations, claims, and objectives of the ex-gay movement. We believe the public needs to see the truth behind the mask of compassion. The new softer face of the Christian Right merely hides the old, vicious homophobia. The ex-gay movement, like the Christian Right of which it is a part, is intolerant of anyone who does not conform to its ideals of family, marriage, moral values, and sexual orientation. It exploits and misuses the language of faith, presenting a face of Christian caring while simultaneously condemning gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people outright, and denying them their full humanity and equal rights. In attacking gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, the ex-gay movement, like its parent, the Christian Right, promotes an agenda for all Americans that is profoundly anti-democratic and exclusionary. We stand in opposition.

Rev. Meg Riley Co-Chair Steering Committee Equal Partners in Faith

Urvashi Vaid Director The Policy Institute National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Jean Hardisty Executive Director Political Research Associates

Read the full report here


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