Zack, the 16 old boy who was taken to an "ex-gay" boot camp against his will has been released. He finally blogged on the issue today, sounding overwhelmed, but also disturbingly influenced by right wing lingo and views on sexuality. The boy strangely defended the ministry that uprooted him from his life.
"Love In Action has been misrepresented and what I have posted in my blogs has been taken out of perspective and context. I don't take back the things I've said, nor am I going to pretend like it never happened. It did. I refuse to deal with people who are only focused on their one-sided (biased) agendas. It isn't fair to anyone. I'm very frustrated with the things going on in my life now, but everyone has their issues. Homosexuality is still a factor in my life--- it's not who I am, it never has been. Those of you who really know me, know that homosexuality was always there but it didn't run my life, and it will not now."
Notice how he uses right wing buzz words like "agendas" and now homosexuality is "a factor" in his life. A key part of what "ex-gay" groups do is separate people from their sexuality. Once they make this unnatural split, it is easier for people to try to stamp attraction out of their lives. Of course, in the end, it never works.
Zack also attacks the media.
"The media, in my opinion, has made a big of a mess of things. But, I suppose they did what they could with what they had."
I wonder if he was referring to his fathers debut on Pat Robertson's 700 Club. Or the free publicity milked by "ex-gay" media whores like Warren Throckmorton and John Smid?
The boy requests his privacy and we ought to give it to him. Indeed, he should be left alone to have his childhood. But it is worth comparing the free-spirited blogs before boot camp with the Stepford post after the ordeal. Was he brainwashed? I really have no idea and hope he goes on to live a wonderful, successful life. But, take a look and decide for yourself. Here were the previous blogs:
"I told my parents I was gay," he wrote. "This didn't go over very well," and "They tell me that there is something psychologically wrong with me, and they 'raised me wrong.' Today, my mother, father and I had a very long talk in my room, where they let me know I am to apply for a fundamentalist Christian program for gays."
"It's like boot camp. If I do come out straight, I'll be so mentally unstable and depressed it won't matter."
Unless more develops, I won't post on this in an effort to let the boy reclaim his life. But let the record stand. Today's Zack speaks in a different voice than the one before boot camp. Finally, the big question, Is Zack straight?
"Homosexuality is still a factor in my life..."
If this is so, does Love In Action plan to refund the money that Zack's parents spent on the program? My guess is that returning the dough and making Zach straight both have zero probability. Once again, Love In Action laughs all the way to the bank, while a family struggles to pick up the pieces.
Poor thing sounds like they poured Tide in his head. Yep, he's brainwashed.
Definitely brainwashed. He's using all of the code words that the sick fundamentalist and ex-gay movement uses. It would almost seem that tapes were played over and over until it sinks in. All that is missing is "lifestyle choice" , pro-family, "moral values", but, I'm sure these are included. Makes me absolutely sick to read what he wrote post cult camp. Tim W.
posted by Anonymous, at
8/01/2005 11:54 PM
At sixteen, He can be: Easily intimidated, confused, cohersed... should I go on? Remember how many things we were told when we were young, by our parents, about homosexulity, masturbation, the role of women in society, etc. that were not true at all! I don't have any hair in the palms of my hands, and I am a wanker!... well, apply all that to a kid that don't know anything about love or life, and that is most likely being intimidated by his own parents... and imaging if the poor thing is brainwashed or not. The free world can not do much for him at this point, but to all of us, this is a call to be role models and examples for the new generations of Gay and lesbian kids, particularly the ones in our families, in our classrooms, in our churches, so we can give them a better world than the one falwell and all the sons and daugther of darkness that follow him wants to torture them with. Only true love can fight the work of the enemy and his followers. The seed of evil is planted in those people who call themselves "Christians" and use to word of God to confuse people.
posted by Anonymous, at
8/02/2005 12:10 AM
What got to me was the comment he wrote to one of the comments on his blog:
I'm very greatful for your concern. The only thing I would like to say is that, in my personal experience in LIA, everything had it's purpose. The rules and procedures - looking from the outside in, looks horrible. Once you're inside, you're mixed with people who want to be there as well. We spent most of our time together. I don't think it would be fair to the other clients, if, because I didn't want to be there, the environment should be less strict and less safe for those clients who do, really, need to be there. Parental Rights is a separate issue though. But I'm not going to expand on that one now.
Posted by Zach :' ( on Monday, August 01, 2005 at 2:13 PM"
This is a kid who's been through 7 different kinds of hell in the last couple of months. He had to come out to his parents, have them take it badly, become the center of a media storm, then get carted away to boot camp for 2 months.
Of course he's pissed.
And, keep in mind that whether or not the indoctrination worked, his parents are almost certainly reading his blog at this point.
If he really has been indoctrinated, well, he's young, and statistically he'll probably get over it by the time he's 21 or so. If he's playing the game, that's what he has to do, because the real problem isn't the LIArs, it's his parents' unaccepting attitude, and he's got to live with that at least another 2 years and longer if he wants them to pay for college.
The best thing right now is to just leave him alone. One way or the other he'll get free eventually.
posted by Anonymous, at
8/02/2005 9:02 AM
Did Zach's parents expect, when they paid for the 'therapy', that Zach would emerge desiring women and no longer desiring men?
Does Zach now desire women and no longer desire men?
If not, did the parents get what they paid for?
Or did they think they were only paying for 'therapy' to give Zach another outlook on homosexuality, or to 'help him cope' in some way?
Was the distinction between those two possible 'products' actually made clear to them?
If I go to the car showroom to buy a new car and say that I want a red Ford, I would expect there to be no ambiguity. I would not expect to have a blue Peugot delivered instead. If that happened, I'd send it back.
posted by Phil, at
8/02/2005 12:52 PM
His profile still lists his orientation as "gay"
He may have picked up a few terms at the camp but I think it may be premature to call him "brainwashed."
posted by dolphin, at
8/02/2005 2:10 PM
All this is probably his parents threatened to kick him out if he didn't "shape up". Anyhow he probably is only telling them what they want to hear and waiting for the day that he can leave his parents, As you said Wayne the only ones who stay in the movement long term are the ones on the payroll. I'd say in 5 years he will be over this and go back to being who he is, gay.
posted by Adam Kautz, at
8/02/2005 2:50 PM
Give him a few years to wash the Clorox out of his mind. He was reprogrammed, no doubt about it, but no amount of "Christian" braindraining is going to change who he is. The sooner he realizes this, the sooner he'll wake from his coma.
It seems that living in rural Southern American Bible-Belt (akin to our nation's Hell-berta) gave this young adolescent few options to achieve a positive outcome.
Of course, the "therapeutic protocols" is all about what Wayne described it as being.
Albert and I raised two children to adulthood in a loving "marriage" of thirty years, that two years ago finally received legal sanction. The quotation marks are no longer real.
PFLAG Canada has a new mission in a new Canada. We will pray for a successful outcome for this person. Not knowing his socio-economic and educational family backgrounds, it is hard to determine whether or not he will become another self-loathing closeted heterosexually-married homosexual loitering in parks and restrooms.
Someone said it in this thread - there are many other young adolescents like Kyle who need the help of healthy gay and lesbian couples engaged in activism - in order to achieve a better outcome.
posted by Albert/Raymond Sawyersmith, at
8/03/2005 10:07 PM
Understand where the religious right comes from. They see in their fears that in the next 100 years, or even less - look at where the world's gone in 100 years, that all the bullsxxt about religion will be exposed. We are perhaps 25 years away from creating replicating and nutrient consuming cell life from non bio chemicals(the two definitions of bio life), without god. Furthermore, if you remember HAL9000 in the movie 2001 a space odessy, something like HAL - a computer that is aware of its own existance,and has true, not preprogrammed intelligence is coming, and the only problem is it will be a very big building rather then the size of the human head. My guess - 50 years on this one. Net result is the whole idea of god is called into serious question, and as an Irish Catholic friend of mine said: where were you before you were born? - that's where you will be after you die. True us str8s have the evolutionary developed power to let our genes continue to live in the future, but our self awareness is fleeting. Death is simply the price of living, like it or not, and I am anything but a kid now. I remember reading about the sun god, the moon god, the god of war, etc. God is simply a form of superstition that was used in ages of ignorance to explain what couldn't be explained. No wonder the RelRight wants to keep our children stupid, and just like Hitler, they have to have someone/something to focus hatred onto, using this base human emotion to prevent / blind people from asking the real questions about religion.
The whole issue today - the real issue is power - the churches see their power threatened in an evermore connected and communicating and educated scientific world. Osama Bin youknowhat is what he is because he sees modern communications - radio-tv-internet - aircraft travel as polluting his homeland with unislamic ideas and culture. A hundred years ago the arabs peoples didn't have to deal with all these influences, hence this is a terrible cultural clash for them. The religious authorities - Christian, Muslim, even orthodox Jews realize they will become irrelevant in this new mordern communicating world, so they lash out with all the bullshit they can muster. I see christianity as essentially an illegal insurance policy - when we die, and its all over for our awareness, just how do we sue this fraudulent insurance operation for the time and money we gave it. It sounds like they are running the perfect scam, but things are changing.
I've also asked why so many people believe. Simple - if something is drummed into your head often enough you end up believing it. This is one of the arch principles of advertising - get their attention -salvation - you won't really die) if you believe. That is the carrot. The stick of course is the everlasting hell bs. As for Jesus, did he come back to life, or did he actually survive. In the US each year an interesting factoid is that about 2x per year, a body arrives at the funeral home and is found to be alive, despite our medical science. As for Jesus' 40 miracles, ever heard of psychosymantic illness, and maybe lost in antiquity is the fact that he gave the ill moldy bread, which incidentally is where pennicillin comes from. I will grant you that some churches do some usefull social work, and some activly support gay people as they are, but threaten churches with backwards looking doctrines and threaten their powerand look what you get. They say power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and when you claim to speak for god, well look at radical Islam, the christian crusades of the 10th thru 13th century in which an estimated up to 50 million Islamic / Arab people were murdered. Also look at the inquisitions of the period around 1500 when an estimated 90000 people were tortured and burned at the stake for threatening Rome's theories of god, that the earth was flat, etc. Science was beginning in this time,e.g. Leonardo DaVinci, and in addition the printing press invented in the 1400s had begun to make it easier for the common man to communicate ideas, since before that time kings and popes controlled the scribes who could read,write and publish. We should also remember that in the 1400s, 1500s etc hundreds of thousands of mostly women were tortured and burned at the stake as witches, based only on an accusation, and their trial would be something like putting them in a bug infested cell and letting the attraction to them of bugs and rodents prove they were witches. This was civil government in europe, but bet your ass that the churches didn't try to stop it cuz witchcraft was seen as competition for the common religions. If mankind survives another thousand years I predict that our period will be known in history as simply a continuation of the movement from superstition & religion to knowledge and equality. Churches will be seen then as the many gods of the past are seen, something to study for how society fell for bs beliefs rather then sought scientific knowledge.
As for Zach - I've known many gay people. I'm absolutely convinced that they are decent hardworking people who simply are wired differently, as you may be. Being 16, it is hard for you to look over the hill to realize that where I live in the Northeast, and I know many str8 kids I work with, almost to a kid, these 17 - 22 year old kids see nothing wrong with gay people, many of them have gay friends. View yourself as being unfortunate (NOT condemned) to live in the bible belt, which of course happens to match up quite well with the former slave states, another terrible crime which was incidentally generally justified by the bible, especially if you were a southern white wealthy planter (easy to make money if the labor is free, self replicating, and of course the Massa would often take a slave girl (and I dare bet boys also) to gain release of his sexual desires. I'm also reminded of the roaring laughter story sessions I and a salesman I worked with in the 80s had about his learning to be a salesman. He spent his summers away from college selling bibles for $500 to $1500 to poor southern folks who thought they were buying salvation, even if their kids went without food. He said it was his introduction to salemanship, and when you have an ignorant customer it is so easy to manipulate them, and btw I'm a salesman now also.
Zach - you may have to pretend str8 until you are old enough and educated enough and financially independent enough to remove your self from the parents clutches., Have some sympathy for them, for the appropriate religious saying on this issue is something like "forgive them father, for they know not what they do, (for they are brainwashed)". You have a whole life ahead of you. Maybe you are bi-sexual, and can go either way, some people are as well. The other bottom line is to remember to never let the religious motherfxxxxrs cause you to lose your self respect. Perhaps in the future you could teach at a university about the tyrannies of religion, and help out others such as your self and future generations. It is so hard to see over that next hill, what you need is not faith in god, but faith in yourself, and those are exactly what the religious MFs will try to swap in your mind, simply because they want to protect their own power and ignorance
posted by Str8 Steve, at
8/05/2005 11:03 PM
Oh yes, I forgot. For everyone out there, str8 supporter or gay, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance against the forces of evil. You have to be involved. When I walk into work wearing a rainbow t shirt, people don't ask me if I've gone over the edge, they know I'm involved in the equality fight, and that I wear that shirt to speak for those for whom religious fear and intimidation prevent them from speaking out.
I went through that religious "holocaust" between the ages of 17 thru 23. I had the homosexual demons cast out of me. I fasted. I prayed. I spoke in tongues. I limited media exposure. However, one day I went into a store one day and looked at a "Penthose" magizine which had an article w/pictures on bisexuality. Seeing the pictures of two men side by side destroyed my conditioning. I bought the mag and gradually accepted my sexual attractions to other males.
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