Monday, February 07, 2005

Re-Weaving the Rainbow: Ex-Gays and Ex-Ex-Gays

I hate to do this, but this was so good I'm just going to paste the whole blog-post in here. The blog, Re-Weaving the Rainbow, takes a gay point of view of current events. Here the writer, M.S. Hayes, talks about the recent article in the Post, where the Fairfax school board member sent a letter to all the high school principals, urging them to teach about "ex-gays."
When I first heard about the elected school board official in Fairfax, Virginia, who is urging high school principals to invite ex-gay speakers to their campuses, my initial reaction was anger. The official, after all, has not exactly make an effort to hide his anti-gay agenda. As he put it in a letter to the principals:
Children are being taught that homosexuality is normal and natural. It is neither. To state that it is normal or natural is to promote the myth that accompanies the homosexual activist rhetoric.

Then I remembered John Paulk, the former head of Focus on the Family’s campaign to convert gay people to heterosexuality and author of Not Afraid to Change: The Remarkable Story of How One Man Overcame Homosexuality. I'm sure the kids could learn a lot from his “remarkable” story.

Possibly the most well-known ex-gay man in the US, Paulk earlier in life was a little-known transvestite named Candi. Then, with conversion to heterosexuality, came fame. He and his ex-lesbian wife Anne were featured in a 1998 campaign that included advertisements in the New York Times and other newspapers with messages about “overcoming” homosexuality. The couple was also on the cover of Newsweek, and they've been featured on "Oprah" and "60 Minutes."

Things began to unravel several years ago when Paulk caused a scandal after being spotted and photographed in a Washington, D.C., gay bar. He claimed that he had gone in to use the bathroom, but other patrons said he spent nearly an hour at the bar, used an alias, and flirted with at least one male patron. The incident was a major setback for the "ex-gay" movement, and Paulk was removed as chairman of Exodus International, a pioneer "ex-gay" group.

Now that's a pretty remarkable story, don't you think?

But if Paulk is unavailable to speak, the schools could always call on Gary Cooper and Michael Bussee, two men who helped found Exodus International and then left the ex-gay movement after they fell in love with one another. They had a commitment ceremony in 1982 and have been together ever since. I would think theirs would be a far more appropriate story for children than Colin Cook’s, whose career as founder and head of Homosexuals Anonymous ended in disgrace when it was discovered he was having sexual encounters with his male clients.

On second thought, maybe the schools should invite Jeremey Mark, the former head of the UK-based ex-gay ministry Courage (which is part of the umbrella group Exodus International). Mark left the group in 2001 after determining that the ministry needed a fresh approach. The reason? After fourteen years, he said, "None of the people we've counseled have converted no matter how much effort and prayer they've put into it. There is much more benefit to the honest view."

The honest view. Now that’s something the kids—and school officials—of Fairfax could really stand to hear.

Well, yes, maybe it would be a good idea to teach our MCPS students about the "ex-gay" movement. They might get a kick out of the true stories.


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