(This is NOT Billy Idol On Crack. This is camp Leader Justin Lookadoo)
A Group That Repossesses 'Gay Underwear' and Teaches That Gay People Are 'Sexually Broken' Has No Place Around 11-Year Old Children, Says TWO
MIAMI BEACH - Truth Wins Out expressed its concern over the launch of a new summer camp that spreads the dangerous "ex-gay" message to children as young as eleven years old. The Ignite Student Outreach youth camps will kick-off Monday in Bradenton, Fla., before migrating to three additional southern states. Exodus International, an organization that teaches gay men to play football and repossesses their underwear if they are deemed too gay, will run the "ex-gay" component of the camp. "Camp should be about fun and games, not fundamentalist mind games aimed at brainwashing youth," said Truth Wins Out's Executive Director Wayne Besen. "It is deeply troubling that conservatives who would never take their children to an R-rated movie, will enroll their kids in a summer camp that is fixated on homosexuality. Even more disturbing is that this camp will poison the minds of impressionable young children with outdated stereotypes, faulty science and distortions about gay life."
The first camp will take place in Bradenton, FL, June 25-29. The second will occur July 2-6 in Winnsboro, SC. The third camp will happen, July 16-20 in Ridgecrest, NC. And the final camp will take place in Norman Park, GA, July 30-Aug. 3.
The camps will feature Exodus President Alan Chambers and Exodus Youth Director, Scott Davis. On Exodus' television show, Pure Passion, Chambers repeatedly demeaned gay people by calling them "sexually broken." This is not the first time Chambers has gratuitously insulted gay people while disingenuously claiming he "loved" them.
"One of the many evils this world has to offer is the sin of homosexuality," Chambers wrote in an Exodus newsletter. "Satan, the enemy is using people to further his agenda to destroy the Kingdom of God and as many souls as he can."
Recently, Chambers told the Los Angeles Times that "ex-gay" therapy is ineffective at turning a gay person straight. According to Chambers, "by no means would we ever say change can be sudden or complete."
Truth Wins OUT is a non-profit organization that counters right wing propaganda, exposes the "ex-gay" myth and educates America about gay life. For more information, visit www.TruthWinsOut.org.
I will be on the Michaelangelo Signorile Show on Sirius Satellite radio at 4:30PM today. We will be discussing the idiotic new therapy guidelines by Dr. Warren Throckmorton and a few misguided gay activists.
1) The "self" does not determine sexual orientation, so the notion of client self determination is a joke. It is more like self-deception - so it is not clear why a therapist would assist in this process. Equally ridiculous would be "therapy" to change skin color or height under the guise of "self-determination." If there is no chance for a successful outcome, engaging in such practices amounts to bilking clients.
2) The notion that a therapist should "meet a client where they are at" on this issue nonsense. There is a reason a client feels so ashamed that they will go to the extreme of rejecting sexual pleasure and the potential for genuine love. It is because of harmful conditioning - often at the hands of preachers. A therapist's goal should be to reduce the debilitating shame - thus defusing the internal conflict. To participate in "shame management" is quackery.
3) Those who promote this "compromise" are compromising the health of clients - particularly young people. The gay rights movement has always been based on the simple message: "Gay is OK." These shallow therapy guidelines essentially say - if you wrap your self-loathing in the cloak of religion, it is fine. This gives too much deference to religion. In light of the fact that religion has been wrong on basically every major issue regarding minorities - faith has earned no such exemption from rational debate. Religion-based bigotry has no place in legitimate therapy.
4) Dr. Warren Throckmorton, an extremist and intellectual lightweight who once shot an anti-gay video "I Do Exist" that featured an exorcist, is behind these "guidelines." He has yet to write a book or conduct a study of merit that makes him a legitimate voice in this debate. His main claim to fame is his hateful video which begins with shots of adult bookstores - used to signify gay life. His second claim to fame is his vanity blog - which is hardly scientific scholarship. Finally, he claims to have counseled 250 gay people - yet, he can't get a handful of people on record to say his therapy worked. Throckmorton works for a college, so, he clearly has the resources to conduct a meaningful study - but that may cut into his blogging hobby. Far from the voice of reason, as he likes to present himself, he is an unaccomplished right wing therapist who has yet to explain why gay people must be counseled. Why not just help people come out of the closet and actually have a shot at being happy?
5) If a client told his therapist that he was smoking at the crack house, the therapist would advise he leave the building. But, if a client is gravely harmed by a religious crackpot - these guidelines say it is just fine. Actually, a therapist should work to reduce harm with any addiction, which includes moving a client away from destructive religious influences. Sorry, religion does not get a pass.
6) Gay affirming therapy works. Shame-supportive therapy will not. The idea that a lifetime of celibacy is a worthy therapeutic goal is a silly idea, promoted by people who are clearly getting their own needs met. This is about selfish, hedonistic, dogmatic ideologues, asking other people to lead lonely lives that they themselves would not choose to lead. Pure solipsism of the worst order.
Only a day before "ex-gay" leader Alan Chambers admitted that praying away the gay doesn't work, the Southern Baptist Convention was working to expand its ex-gay ministry program. The once slavery-loving church, hired Texas pastor Bob Stith as its National Strategist for Gender Issues, with the goal of promoting ex-gay programs within the denomination.
A church spokesperson told the Associated Baptist Press that the grandiose sounding strategist role "has been a culmination of many years of planning and praying." Well, as we are often reminded, God works in mysterious ways. The SBC press release barely cleared the media fax machines when Exodus International's President Alan Chambers told the Los Angeles Times, that he still, at times, (like when he's awake or dreams) has attractions to men and "by no means would we ever say change can be sudden or complete."
This acknowledgment mirrored his infamous quote in my book, Anything But Straight: "Put me in a bathhouse," said Chambers, "Would I find people attractive or would it stir me? It probably would."
If Exodus doesn't actually turn gay people straight, then what's the point of the organization? How do they justify their million-dollar budget and staff of twelve when the church money might be better spent on helping the poor?
At its root, the "ex-gay" ministries are support groups designed to offer strategies to keep people out of gay establishments or relationships that they desperately want to be in. In the old days, this was simply called being in the closet. But Exodus figured out that misery likes company and that they could profit by creating a communal closet where self-loathing and sexually frustrated homosexuals could whine to each other about their unhappiness.
To rationalize such a racket, Chambers is reduced to chronic dissembling and offering circular logic to justify his job. Last week, for instance, he told the Orange County Register, "Today, I am a far different person. Not that I don't struggle, but my life has changed. I certainly don't have the desire to be involved in homosexuality. It has no power over me."
In one sentence he says that he has a "struggle." In the next sentence, he contradicts himself when he offers, "I certainly don't have the desire to be involved in homosexuality."
What exactly does that mean? If Chambers is struggling, then he obviously has the desire to be with a man. What else is he struggling over, whether to drink caffeinated or decaf coffee in the morning? And the larger question is, why not just come out and end a worthless struggle that modern biology increasingly proves is fruitless.
Still, Chambers statement was a step in the right direction. The next step should be for him to summon the courage to consistently deliver this message to fundamentalist audiences. This is particularly difficult because right wing political groups pay his bills and they prefer Exodus be portrayed as a miracle mill. To date, Chambers has been nothing short of a Genie, bowing at the feet of the religious right and panting, "your wish is my command."
Earlier this month, for example, Exodus ran deceptive radio ads on fundamentalist radio recruiting victims for its annual conference that promised "sudden, radical and complete" transformation. Caught with his pants down (maybe the wrong analogy) Chambers apologized unconvincingly, spinning the debacle by swearing the bogus ads were really intended to implore church leaders to radically change the way they treated homosexuals.
Even more disturbing is Exodus' absurd Sky Angel Network television show "Pure Passion," which is the most amazing display of gay bashing with a smile ever recorded. In the show, Exodus panders to the lowest common denominator, instilling shame in gay Christians. The hosts repeatedly call homosexuality "perverse" and declare gay people to be "sexually broken."
What is particularly galling is that after Exodus steamrolls a person's self-esteem lower than an ant's underbelly, the organization then shows up with offers of "help." It never occurs to Exodus that they are the problem, not the solution.
Equally disconcerting is a new "compromise" being brokered between misguided gay activists and a few ex-gay therapists. They are inventing therapy guidelines that supposedly "help" a patient align religious values and sexuality - even if this means celibacy.
Exactly how naive and out of touch are these people? To suggest that there is a healthy way to counsel gay people to go from puberty to the grave without sex or the opportunity for loving relationships is wishful thinking, if not cruel quackery, of the worst order.
The truth is, there is only one fool-proof therapy model that offers gay people a legitimate chance at fulfillment and happiness - it is called "coming out." The alternative is to create conflicted minds like that of the Exodus President, who by virtue of his convoluted statements, clearly lives in psychological torture Chambers.
"Ex-gay" group Exodus International swears they love gay people when in front of the mainstream media. When talking to their right wing base or Christian media, however, they don't sound quite so loving.
Truth Wins Out's latest video, "The Two-Faced Love of Exodus International" shows a series of mean-spirited clips from Exodus International's TV show "Pure Passion."
Within the first fifteen minutes of the show, the hosts repeatedly denigrate the lives and families of GLBT people - referring to them as perverse or sexually broken. Exodus may talk a good game, but the truth is, their disdain for openly gay people does not lie far below their surface professions of love. In essence, when they say they "love" gay people, they are bearing false witness.