The Ex-Gay Movement that Wasn't Meet the city's tiniest demographic.

(Robert Ullman)

Last month, Robert Rigby approached a booth at the Arlington County Fair staffed by volunteers with Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), a group dedicated to the rights of recovering homosexuals. Rigby was already familiar with the message the ex-gays were peddling. As an ex-ex-gay, he had considered the PFOX position for 17 years before deciding to live openly as a gay man.

Rigby didn’t stick around long enough to dispute the fine points of sexual orientation with the PFOX volunteers. All he wanted was the brochures, to make sure he was up to date on the ex-gay movement’s latest obsessions. “I didn’t discuss ex-gay anything. I talked to them about Latin,” says Rigby, 46, who for the past decade has taught the language to Fairfax County high schoolers. “The kids think I teach too much grammar, not enough mythology,” he announced to the PFOX volunteers as he discretely collected the organization’s pamphlets for further review.

Discretion is key in the vicinity of PFOX propaganda. Periodically, the group alerts its followers to assaults against an ex-gay manning one of the organization’s booths. In 2006, ex-gay activist Greg Quinlan claims he was assaulted at a National Education Association convention in Florida by gay activist Wayne Besen. In 2007, PFOX claimed that an unnamed ex-gay volunteer was attacked at the Arlington County Fair by an unknown (but gay) assailant. Weeks later, at the Falls Church Fair, a PFOX volunteer accused Falls Church News-Press editor Nicholas Benton—also gay—of “looking like the guy who assaulted the ex-gay at the Arlington Fair.”

“Their strategy is to create fake hate crimes,” says Besen, who says he ended up on the wrong end of a PFOX accusation only after first receiving a threatening chest-bump from the ex-gay. “They are attempting to portray ex-gays as victims of discrimination to get legal recognition. They’ll wait until there are four of them and one of you, and no witnesses, and then call the cops. But there’s never any ‘there’ there,” Besen says. “The fear is that somebody, under the right circumstances, could actually end up in trouble over this. So I urge everyone to do anything they can to just stay away from them.”

Steering clear of “ex-gay” propaganda is one thing. Sidestepping the legal and cultural impact of groups like PFOX is quite another. Over the years, PFOX’s fight for ex-gay rights has evolved past the convention pissing match. Wherever a “gay-affirming” message slips into a curriculum, a lawbook, or a convention floor, PFOX is there to demand that the “ex-gay” perspective be heard. In 2005, PFOX sued Montgomery County Public Schools in an attempt to halt the planned sexual orientation training in the revised sex-ed curriculum. In 2007, the group took on Arlington Public Schools for refusing to distribute ex-gay fliers to schoolchildren. PFOX’s court appearances are met with varying success—both school suits were settled out of court—but PFOX keeps filing.


Whether the group wins or loses, the effect is the same. By drawing attention to gay “conversion,” PFOX attacks homosexuality itself, along with campaigns for gay rights. And even when PFOX doesn’t manage to thwart progress in the gay rights movement, it ensures that the process will be extremely irritating.

The irritation is starting to spread to the District. This summer, a D.C. Superior Court judge issued a ruling in response to a discrimination complaint brought by PFOX. Though the court determined that the group hadn’t been victimized in this particular case, it did rule that ex-gays ought to be protected under the D.C. Human Rights Act’s sexual orientation clause, alongside heterosexuals, bisexuals, and gays.

Protecting various groups from discrimination is a noble pursuit. But are there any ex-gays in town?

Where would PFOX be without conventions?

In 2002, the group applied to secure a display at the National Education Association’s annual convention. PFOX submitted an application, signed a deposit check, and prepared its exhibit: an educational display, it claimed, “to promote tolerance and equality for the ex-gay community.” The NEA denied PFOX’s application, citing limited booth space. PFOX suspected there was another motive at play: sexual orientation discrimination.

In 2005, PFOX filed a discrimination claim with the D.C. Office of Human Rights against the NEA for “refusing to provide public accommodations to ex-gays.” When the OHR sided with the association, PFOX appealed. D.C. Superior Court Judge Maurice Ross handed down the decision in June of this year: PFOX’s discrimination complaint was again denied.

But Ross handed PFOX a symbolic victory. While he decided in the NEA’s favor, Ross also held that ex-gays should, in fact, be protected under the sexual orientation clause of the D.C. Human Rights Act. In Ross’ view, the Human Rights Act protects not only groups defined by “immutable characteristics,” as the Office of Human Rights’ decision claimed. The act also protects groups defined by “preference or practice”—like people who previously “practiced” gayness and now “prefer” to practice heterosexuality.

“OHR’s determination that a characteristic must be immutable to be protected under the HRA is clearly erroneous as a matter of law,” Ross wrote. “Indeed, the HRA lists numerous protected categories such as religion, personal appearance, familial status, and source of income, which are subject to change.” But while Ross found that the NEA couldn’t discriminate against ex-gays, it may legally discriminate against exhibits that are explicitly anti-gay: “In NEA’s judgment, PFOX is a conversion group hostile toward gays and lesbians,” Ross wrote. “Indeed, the HRA would not require NEA to accept an application from the Ku Klux Klan or a group viewed by the NEA as anti-labor union or racist.”

PFOX’s celebratory press release about the ruling didn’t mention that the judge saw fit to make an analogy to the KKK. The embrace of D.C.’s sexual-orientation law was a bit of a departure for PFOX, which has spent most of its history rallying against anti-discrimination protections for gays, lesbians, and transgender people. Regina Griggs of Reedville, Va., who serves as PFOX’s executive director, called the case “precedent setting” and announced PFOX’s new position on sexual-orientation protections: “By failing to protect former homosexuals, the sexual orientation laws gave more rights to homosexuals than heterosexuals who were once gay.” Quinlan chimed in to announce PFOX’s newfound mission: “All sexual orientation laws and programs nationwide should now provide true diversity and equality by including former homosexuals,” he said. “I have experienced more personal assaults as a former homosexual than I ever did as a gay man.”

The idea of “ex-gay” protections in D.C. may inspire the litigious group to file more discrimination complaints, sue more school boards, and report more booth harassment in the District of Columbia. But the new tactical advantage also presents a logistical problem for the group. If PFOX intends to capitalize on D.C.’s broad anti-discrimination laws, it’s going to have to find some actual ex-gays to offer up for discrimination.

Unfortunately for PFOX and reporters on the sexual-orientation beat, ex-gay Washingtonians are hard to come by. Since each of my dozen or so calls to PFOX headquarters went unanswered, I am unable to confirm any of the group’s purported ex-gay offspring or friends. J. Matt Barber, a member of the PFOX board of directors, tells me that he has “a number of very close friends who are former homosexuals”—none of whom live in D.C. I do track down ex-gay minister Anthony Falzarano, who founded PFOX in Washington in 1995. Falzarano was happy to detail the hundreds of male sex partners he had in his former life, but his flamboyant ex-gayness is no use to PFOX now—Falzarano has since left D.C. for West Palm Beach, Fla. Quinlan, PFOX’s current go-to ex-gay, once called D.C. home, but he has since settled into his heterosexual lifestyle in Dayton, Ohio.

After cycling through the more outspoken members of the ex-gay movement, I attempt to join PFOX’s “ex-gay” Yahoo support group, which claims 138 possibly ex-gay members. Before being granted access to the listserv, however, I am forced to testify as to my support of the cause (“Why do you support the ex-gay community?”) and submit some notes on strategy (“What do you think America can do to stop its phobia of ex-gays?”). I never hear back. In desperation, I contact Mike Blasenstein, a 36-year-old D.C. resident who detailed his own run-in with an ex-gay on local blog the New Gay in June. Blasenstein had his chance ex-gay encounter in a mountainous resort three states away. In 12 years here, he’s never spotted one inside the District limits. Sometimes, even catching an ex-gay in Washington is enough to bring him back to gay. In 2000, John Paulk, former ex-gay leader of Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out” programs, was re-outed after being spotted at D.C. gay bar Mr. P’s.

Do the inner suburbs count? Reverend J. Grace Harley is an ex-lesbian who runs her Jesus Is the Answer ministry out of Silver Spring. Before God called Harley out of homosexuality, he called her out of Washington. “My move to the suburbs was strictly the spirit of the Lord operating in my life,” says Harley, who was lured to Montgomery County by an attractive woman and ended up renting an apartment. “Even though I was a heathen then, I know it was divinely ordained by God,” she says. “Now, I go to the Montgomery County school boards and speak out against the gay agenda.”

If there are any ex-gays left in Washington, D.C., they are tucked discretely back into the closet. “There is a large population of ex-gays, but they dare not speak as I speak about being ex-gay,” says Harley. “They dare not associate too openly with me because then people may think they are ex-gay. They’re just going to church, living normal lives with their husbands, like happily ever after.”

In 1999, Rigby almost raised the local ex-gay population by one—but not quite. Rigby was fresh out of the ex-gay movement and a lapsed member of PFOX’s ex-gay Listserv when he moved to Fairfax for a teaching job. Rigby, who serves as a mentor to the county school district’s Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA), says he hasn’t encountered an openly ex-gay kid in a decade of teaching—though he’s met many who flitted in and out of the closet in their high school years. “It’s called the coming-out process,” says Rigby. “We all go through that.” In 2005, PFOX attempted to drum adolescent ex-gays out of hiding by offering up an antidote to the GSA. PFOX’s version, dubbed “Ex-Gays and Everstraights”—that would be heterosexuals who have never identified as gay—never really caught on. “Not one group started up in the entire country,” Rigby says. “I just don’t think an ex-gay student was interested.”

PFOX has always had a hard time getting ex-gays to join the club. PFOX’s board of directors includes a surplus of everstraights but few former homosexuals. Parents of openly ex-gay children are also in short supply. The closest the group comes to fulfilling its name is Griggs, who speaks publicly about her loving—and disapproving—relationship with her openly gay son.

Beyond the one hopeful parent of a future ex-gay, PFOX’s directors are more fit to provide political influence than ex-gay support. Paul Rondeau, the group’s president, is not ex-gay. Estella Salvatierra, vice president, is a civil rights attorney and is not ex-gay. If Scott Strachan, the group’s secretary, is ex-gay, he’s not talking about it. Michelle Hoffman, the treasurer, once told the Montgomery County School Board that “I know many former homosexuals and am proud to call them my friends.” Peter Sprigg, a director, is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and has publicly identified as everstraight. Retta Brown, a director, is not ex-gay. Robert Knight, a former director of Concerned Women for America, is not a woman and is not ex-gay. Barber, a director, works at Liberty University Law School and is not ex-gay. Quinlan, a director, is ex-gay.

Thanks to Quinlan, the closest ex-gay connection that most PFOX members claim is that they are the “friends” of an ex-gay. They better be. The organization’s ex-gays are stuck with the dirty work: fighting off homosexual urges, inserting themselves into possibly discriminatory scenarios, and never, ever accomplishing the full heterosexuality of the everstraights. Ex-gays aren’t even welcome in PFOX meetings. In an e-mail posted on one ex-gay message board, a PFOX rep made the group’s target audience clear: “PFOX meetings are for families and friends of strugglers only, and not for ex-gays.”

How has PFOX managed to build the local ex-gay movement with the participation of so few actual ex-gays? Through the clever use of a smokescreen. The group claims to represent relatives and friends of ex-gays, which is code for the true constituency—Christian conservatives. Accordingly, PFOX does not deal in ex-gay counseling, therapy, or support groups; PFOX sues people. For that, it requires access to lawyers and lobbyists, not guys who can grant interviews about the decades they spent giving head in gay bathhouses. Never mind that Washington, D.C., is too liberal and gay to support any real ex-gay population—it provides the ideal base for an ex-gay front organization. For the past 14 years, PFOX has courted the attention of national conservative groups and legal funds in D.C. while waging its local turf wars across Maryland and Virginia—all the while quietly ignoring the interests of ex-gays.

Case in point: In 2005, PFOX secured its greatest victory yet when it sued Montgomery County Public Schools over the sexual-orientation training in its high-school sex-ed curriculum. PFOX and Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, who sued together, settled with Montgomery County for $36,000. The money was quickly whisked away to the Liberty Counsel, which provided legal assistance to the groups. But the settlement did secure one lasting victory for PFOX: an automatic seat on the county’s curriculum advisory board. Self-proclaimed everstraight Peter Sprigg filled PFOX’s seat. Jim Kennedy, who served on the board with Sprigg for four years, says the PFOX seat provided the committee with a right-wing perspective but little ex-gay advocacy. After a couple of years trying to sneak “ex-gay” into the curriculum, Sprigg “would bring up ex-gay thing like twice a year,” says Kennedy. “He didn’t seem too focused on it.”

Of PFOX’s 10-person board of directors, nine claim a home base in Maryland, Virginia, or D.C.; Quinlan, the group’s token ex-gay, is the only non-local. For years, PFOX was content to keep the ex-gay perspective on the outskirts of the organization. Falzarano formed the group in 1995 as an alternative to Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). But Falzarano would turn out to be the first in a line of PFOX ex-gays who would be deployed and disposed of at the organization’s convenience. In 1998, Falzarano was forced out of the group after accusing the religious right of using ex-gays as political pawns. Succeeding Falzarano as the ex-gay face of PFOX was Richard Cohen, a Bowie-based “sexual reorientation” therapist. Cohen was similarly scrubbed from the group after he demonstrated his bizarre therapeutic techniques on national television. His “touch therapy,” in which a man pets and rocks another man in his arms in order to re-create the parental bond, came off as particularly homoerotic. “When he actually went on television, they realized it did not look good,” says Rigby. “He embarrassed them with his man-hugging and pillow-thumping.”

The visibility of ex-gays is necessary to PFOX’s survival, but the ex-gay reality is often too strange, off-message, or gay to sit well with the everstraight conservatives who make up PFOX’s inner sanctum. PFOX’s new legal strategy, however, actually encourages ex-gay public embarrassment—by attempting to coax gays and ex-ex-gays into harassing them, much as a defender in basketball strains to draw a charging foul. In Quinlan, who has a history of alleging physical and verbal attacks at the hands of gays, PFOX may have finally found a fitting ex-gay poster boy for PFOX’s political cause. He may be the only one. “They’re using ex-gay people in public venues as bait,” says Rigby. “But I don’t think they have enough ex-gay people to pursue that as a strategy. They just don’t know enough people who identify as ex-gay who would be willing to file such suits.”

Due to an error by Amanda Hess, this story incorrectly referred to a local blogger as "Mike Blasen." The blogger's name is Mike Blasenstein.

Our Readers Say

Great story Amanda!
The writing of Amanda Hess lacks objectivity and is full of bias.

Missing the intellectual brainpower to delve into a nuanced discussion of nature vs. nurture, she instead falls into the lazy path of mudslinging and generalization.

I'm not defending the stupidity of PFOX either. Amanda just needs to retake Journalism 101.
Hey b, what has nature vs. nurture got to do with the fact that an organization can't find anybody to march in the Ex-Gay Pride Parade?
Good lord, Ms. Hess! Learn to use the word "discreetly", not "discretely". They mean two different things!
I interacted with PFOX members in personal, non-public conversations, for a couple years starting in 1999 or 2000.

I was open with their community from the start, that I didn't share their theology, but the mother of my 3 pre-teen kids did.

I explained that I saw my journey as roughly parallel to that of a Baptist dad with Hasidic kids... I couldn't share their faith, but to whatever extend I could comprehend it, integrate it, respect it, it was a matter of simple respect and appreciation.

As it turned out, nothing was as simple as I had hoped.

“PFOX meetings are for families and friends of strugglers only, and not for ex-gays.”

Someone should sue PFOX for ex-gay discrimination.
Not all ex-gays are "Ex-Gays" i've met several folks in and outside of the district who have previously lived a quote unquote gay life, at some point decided to stop doing that and consider the relevance of gayness in their life to be something they *used to* do.

That said, it's largely semantic silliness. Folks force people to be this or that, and sexual hangups have people running in circles.

Let's leave folks be. Even if they're annoying. Especially if they're annoying.
The cover illustration to this story really caught my eye. The ex-gay figure in the window is tying a cross around his neck, having disposed of the necessary accoutrements of gay life: cut-off jean short shorts, a black biker cap and records by Erasure and the Pet Shop Boys. Putting aside the question of whether these particular items are truly essential for homosexuals or merely strongly suggested, I ask the illustrator, Robert Ullman: Have you ever seen anyone wearing *both* a leather-daddy biker cap *and* Daisy Dukes at the same time? If so, I would like to request photographic evidence.

Cordially yours,

Richard Morrison
Great article. It should also be noted that the PFOX "victory" in Montgomery County was quite short-lived. Two years later, a revised health curriculum that went into greater depth was enacted by the school system, and PFOX's attempt to get the State Board of Education and the Montgomery County Circuit Court failed. PFOX declined to appeal to the high court in Maryland -- they knew they would lose.
I respect the right for people to assemble, even to preach if they want to. But to actually attempt at legal action to protect the rights of ex-gays? If you used to be gay, and now you are saying that you aren't gay, as far as the government is concerned, you are straight. And as long as you classify yourself as straight, you have every protection and right that other straight people have (that most gay people do not have).
There are so many things that I want to respond to regarding this article but I will limit myself. Your article is very biased, but this doesn't come as a surprise to me.

First of all, the image of an ex-gay wearing a cross is offensive because not all ex-gays wear crosses. If you do a simple google search on the internet, I guarantee that you will find ex-gay groups in most every Western Religion. I do know that there are general support/men's groups for "ex-gays" of Jewish, Protestant, Mormon, and the Catholic persuasion in the Washington-DC area. There are secular people that have same-sex attractions who want change also. I admit that I've had attractions toward the same-sex and I've wanted change. I don't identify as being "gay"; and guess what, I live "inside-the-beltway".

P-FOX wants to get their message out because there are other people out there who do not want to be gay either. Change is possible. I've found it in my life and if people do a little research they will find others who've found help also. PFOX's message is important. If one is fine with their same-sex attractions and is happy being gay, than all the power to that individual. Just don't try to stop me. I have the right to self-determination just as much as the next person!

Thank You!
Just like you have to look hard to find a Jew for Jesus that is Jewish.
PFOX sounds like the Scientologists of the 'ex gay' movement: replacing sound science with brute force tactics. Crap science has to resort to something, since the 'science' is riddled so full of holes.
My best friend in college was part of the 'ex gay' movement for many years. It did nothing to change his orientation. What it did instead was further ingrain his self-hatred and shame. He ended up killing himself.
To all 'ex gay ministries': Fuck you. You do far, far more damage than good.
I don't particularly care one way or the other, however I feel strongly about the litigation under the auspices of descrimination is a waste of my money and government's time. If you are assaulted (ANY unwanted physical touch) then pursue it through the proper authorities... but to use an 'event' as a posterchild. Bisexuality is a very compelling evolutionary strategy, Read Sperm Wars by Robin Baker.

The drawback is the spread of disease. I imagine that there are many a spouse diagnosed with an STD from a partner that was working both sides of the fence. (Notice: I did not say "I know".. I said I imagine)

This imaginary population of X gays being straight or XX gays being bisexual or XXX gays straight again or XXXX gays or families/friends of XXXXX gays. Give me a break, we all have a little gay in us and we all have a little straight in us. Hence the innefectiveness and backfire of the homoerotic televised touch therapy. We all want to look, but have been conditioned to interpret that desire as 'shameful.'

We all want to know and be known to be touched and loved; however the emotionally self-regulating population is being out-propigated by the emotionally instable population. At best emotional stabiliy happens one wound and scar at a time. The animosity here definitely creates a space for healing and recognizing ones own shadow. Read King Warrior Lover Magician by Robert Moore.

Ahhh now I've had my 2 yen.
"Whether the group wins or loses, the effect is the same. By drawing attention to gay “conversion,” PFOX attacks homosexuality itself, along with campaigns for gay rights."

Minor paranoia detected.

Look if you come out of the closet into the sunlight, do you expect that everything will be all peaches and cream?

If there is a problem that our society has today, it's in that expectation, and attempting to achieve it through the legal system. Look: life is imperfect. What would be impressive is if you could deal with it without whining.
To jfc1: I'm sorry to hear that you think gay people being abandoned by their families, beaten and even killed is simply some of life's hardships that we should all stop whining about.

To David: All credible scientific evidence suggests otherwise. What is possible is repression and learned self-hatred. Ex-gays aren't people who've become straight, they're people who've just decided to deny their sexual desires and become celibate. They aren't magically attracted to the opposite sex now, they've just learned to self-flagellate whenever they experience the "sinful" desire to fornicate with someone of the same sex. If you don't want to accept that part of yourself, you are free to live that way, but those of us who are proud to be who we are will continue to encourage others to find a similar pride.
"To jfc1: I'm sorry to hear that you think gay people being abandoned by their families, beaten and even killed is simply some of life's hardships that we should all stop whining about."

I do, because it happens to straights all the time.
You want to stop being treated like a bunch of whiny bitches? Stop being a bunch of whiny bitches. would also be nice if you could have a conversation with straights without resorting to the use of hyperbole and distortion in order to try to make your problems, as gays, seem unique and worthy of special attention.

My point was that not coming out of the closet because she is afraid of the financial repercussions from her family is a sell-out that her girlfriend is right to criticize (and even more right to give up on their relationship over it). You want to stretch that into family-abandonment, then you are just making my point. When you resort to the use of hyperbole and distortion to stretch what I said into "turning a blind eye to physical abuse and even outright murder", then you are proving a *different* point, the point that gays can't be taken seriously because their emotions overcome their rational side. If they have a rational side.

But in any case you're still being a whiny bitch as this does happen to children and straights on a regular basis. And being a whiny bitch is just not a good way to go through life, gay or straight. make this utterly clear even to your gay-ass, nobody said a damm thing about this woman being physically-abused or even killed if she came out to her family. Not one person.

Now, could that happen if she came out to her family? Sure.

Would that make her any different than anyone else? Hell no.

Is she, in the end, simply not coming out because she's afraid of any possible negative repercussions, and pretending to be straight because she wants to avoid them? Yes. But does being straight mean that she will never have to worry about her family cutting her off, or physical abuse or even outright murder? NO!

And the moment that you and anyone else who is reading about this, stops bitching about it, you'll be better off. Whether you think that I condone violence against gays or violence in general, or not. If that's what you want to think, feel free. Not like I would hunt you down and beat you up for saying that. Think whatever the fuck you want to think, just don't go around saying that that's what I think, ok? In any case I'm sure that this will become yet another whine for you.
"To jfc1: I'm sorry to hear that you think gay people being abandoned by their families, beaten and even killed is simply some of life's hardships that we should all stop whining about."

...if nothing else, your post is bullshit. I'll be flat-out straight with you. When you are using words like "I'm sorry that you think..." you are putting words in peoples' mouths. And that's just plain bullshit.

When you need to do that you undermine your entire position, and if you're gay and do that, then you're just making gays look that much worse.
ps If I confused anyone with my last series of comments, it's because a similar topic is covered in this weeks "savage love" which I also commented on and I got the two comments mixed up. Sorry.

Anyway the person who responded to my comment with "it's sad that you think" is an a-hole. Comment on what I said. Not on what you want to say that I think.
To grt: You state that all credible scientific evidence suggests otherwise, however, no scientific study as of date has proved that there is a gene showing that sexual preference is innate. I would challenge you and all other seemingly interested readers to look at this more deepoly.
Again, I've found that change is possible. Yes, it doesn't magically happen. As with all change, it's a process that requires therapy, support, and self-will.
...while it's undoubtedly true that some people force others to be gay, at least semantically, it's also obviously true that most gays aren't gay because someone forced them to be gay. Wake up and smell the coffee.

Likewise Science may not have identified a particular gene that is responsible for gayness...yet...but you'd have to be completely delusional to think that it's sociological. Besides guys taht you can look at and tell that they are gay, undoubtedly gay...the "sneaky" gays out there, the guys and gals that are still in the closet, or at least not so open and obvious about it, would be happy to tell you all about their upbringing, and what made them gay, as a result? Is probably the fact that they were already on the way there.

Not having a definite answer is no proof that there isn't one. Likewise banking on a definite answer in the absence of one isn't all that wise either. Besides, if gayness is the result of sociological factors, why aren't there more gays, a higher percentage of gays? Why not fewer? Does anyone really think that in this day in age society is terribly good at repressing homosexuality...while at the same time instigating it?

My money's on genetics, plain and simple. Maybe not one gene but certainly a combination of them.
"Quinlan, PFOX’s current go-to ex-gay, once called D.C. home, but he has since settled into his heterosexual lifestyle in Dayton, Ohio."

Um, not quite:
I love this story! And given the bitter responses, it seems to be pushing all the right buttons. Ha, ha and ha.
this is just too funny.
jfc1, you protest too much! haven't you figured out that when you judge, you transform yourself into exactly the same? it's just too funny!
Miss Amanda, you did a good job on the article.
"The writing . . . lacks objectivity and is full of bias." Well, yes, but this is a news feature and the writer is propounding a particular point of view. You confuse this with a front-page article about the health care crisis. It's not the same thing at all.

This article has nothing to do with nature vs. nurture, so that's why Ms. Hess didn't discuss it. It has nothing to do with her intellectual brainpower. Further, she neither mudslings nor generalizes. She supports her accusations with facts and provides considerable detail.

Ms. Hess may benefit from retaking Journalism 101, but it is more than obvious from what you wrote that you never took it at all.
The Religious Wrong are hijackers...simply put
The gay community cannot stand the fact that there are an awful lot of people who JUST DIDN'T ENJOY the sickness of the gay lifestyle! Who would want to remain in a "lifestyle" that promotes sexual promiscuity, drugs, alcohol, "girly gossip", AIDS, sexual addiction,pornography, STD's,shallowness,prostitution,old-age by 40, lonliness, and worth based on the length of your penis!!!!
Why can't the gay community stop being hypocrites and LET OUR PEOPLE GO!!! Wild horses couldn't keep me in the bondage of the gay lifestyle!!! Gay community you are so welcoming when some sexually confused person wants to be a part of you but you won't let them go when they see the shallowness of the gay world and want out! Your such hypocrites!!!! Live the ex-gays alone. They are the real heroes of the gay community who got help for the sexual abuse and other abuses of their childhood and have tried to move beyond all their years of hurt into sexual wholeness. Be happy for us because the bible says in 1 Corinthians 6; 9-11 DO NOT BE DECEIVED PRACTICING HOMOSEXUALS, DRUNKARDS, ADULTERERS, ETC...WILL NOT ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD (BUT THE GOOD NEWS GOES ON TO SAY) AND SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU ONCE (THERE WERE EXGAYS IN THE EARLY CHURCH. READ IT FOR YOUR SELF IF YOU DON"T BELIEVE ME. REMEMBER THE TRUTH WILL SET noYOU FREE!!! MAY GOD BLESS AND ENLIGHTEN YOU....Anthony Falzarano
Anthony A. Falzarano's post needs to be prefaced by the caveat ...This is my opinion...
While he's welcome to his **opinion*** , it is NOT OKAY to make defamatory statements about others as if they were FACT.

I find this post to be insulting and highly objectionable...
Considering the source.... I guess I'll just try to ignore it...

June Horner.... a PROUD and LOVING PFLAG Mom
just google Anthony Falzarano and you'll find out what a stark raving quack he is. even exodus, p-fox gave him the boot.
if you hear him say anything, you KNOW it's a lie!
Great article. Well written. And despite it's very creepy realities, you handled it with a bit of humor.

Does PFOX actually think that they are fooling ANYONE is the question I would like them to answer. They are simply a gay hate-group that is trying, and failing, to disguise themselves with the cloaks of concern and civil rights.

It is the year 2009. And we as a society are still hung up on this gay/straight issue??? Sometimes it seems like the world is full of idiots. Certainly many of them have made their way to PFOX. I wonder if FOX News is a sponsor? ; )
jfc1 seems a bit defensive.

Could he be one of those ex-humans that we keep hearing about these days?

(Dude, MAJOR issues. MAJOR. I feel sorry for those who must live their lives around you. But I do not feel sympathy for you. For you choose to live in your ignorance. Report back in 20 years and let me know how life works out for you, bro. I can venture a pretty accurate guess, and I ain't even a phychic!)

No reply necessary you ignorant, uneducated fool. But a word of advice - please do not breed if you are able. Let's just let this lineage burn out. Deal?
1) PFOX is obviously an organization based on hate. Which, if they are taking such a Christian point of view, is against Christianity. There is the golden rule, Jesus' teachings in regards to the stoning of Mary Magdalene, etc... Christians may teach that homosexuality is wrong, however they also teach that mortal men and women are not to judge.
2) Homosexuality has been PROVEN to have genetic and epigenetic influences. There are several genes associated, and the scientific papers can be found free to the public on the NCBI website. Although genetics does have direct influence, in some cases there are environmental factors, which an organization to help those with psychological trauma that caused homosexual tendencies could help... but that is an answer for a select few and not every homosexual. This means PFOX has absolutely no ground to stand on when preaching anti-homosexual propaganda.
3) I am homosexual, my parents are catholic and still married. My family life was well structured, no psychological traumas ever happened to me (no rape, incest, etc). There are no environmental factors at all in my life that caused me to be gay. As a geneticist I have researched the genetic and psychological causes of homosexuality in depth and I can firmly say that I am genetically homosexual and PFOX would never be able to convert me even if I wanted to. I am sorry to burst your bubble if you are a PFOX member who want to preach anti-homosexuality, but these are facts notated in scientific papers, journals, and textbooks ranging from genetics, epigenetic, psychology, and more. And in this democratic country where the constitution declares a separation of church and state; scientific evidence will prevail over religious beliefs, especially when they is no actual basis found in Christian doctrine which is unreliable since the Bible had been re-written during the council of Trent by the Pope Paul III who bought his papal position.
The ex-gay community is everywhere. We have helped hundreds of gay and lesbians leave the gay lifestyle in Washington for 20 years. The Lord raised up Transformation Ministries in 1989. We just celebrated our 20th anniversary. We are one of the longest running and oldest ministries in the United States, For your own imformation I left Exodus International in 1999 because they were beginning to water-down their message and some non-Christian liberals began to take over the leadership. This organization (Exodus) has literally saved thousands of gays from the (wrongly termed) "gay" lifestyle. We have also educated the Christian Church on how negligent they have been in properly l;oving the homosexual and hating the sinful life we were living. I left Washington DC as Executive Director of Transformation and then Parents & Friends of Ex-gays because I refused to listen to my board of directors as I began to realize that we were being used by SOME right-wing orgs. who were not supporting our work financially but were very happy to point out the evils of the gay world. I would not allow the ministry that God allow me to found to be corrupted like AA and NA and other orgs. like it. In regards to not being able to find an ex-gay in DC; that's ridiculous. We're here we're ex-queer get used to it. Many of the people that we have helped are in the military, government etc and need to remain anonymous. Transformation in its prime had over 60 ex-gays coming to it's headquarters on Tuesday nights for meetings. It's time for the gay community to grow up and just accept that we are NOT GOING AWAY. There are over 200 ex-gay ministries in the United States and God continues to bless us. Remember before you continue to attack us; DO NOT come up against a movement of the Holy Spirit. The devil can never defeat God and soon enough Jesus Christ will throw him into the pit of hell permanently along with all the people that have tried to destroy God's children.WHAT SIDE WILL YOU BE ON IN THESE LAST DAYS!
My wife and I are living in Florida now and are helping gays all over the country. I have finally published my first book on leaving homosexuality behind. Read it!!! It's called And Such Were Some of You before you condemn our work...It just might enlighten you!!!!!!!!! Anthony Falzarano
Thanks for this informative, funny article. It nearly always seems that we cannot quite get a reliable empirical grip on the loud ex-gay claims, no matter exactly where they fall on the repeat claims continuums. As your article mentions in passing, three fuzzy areas seem to be possible actual, empirical gaps which continue to reappear.

Area one is the categorically positive success that is repeatedly claimed for ex-gays. The stronger version of this is a claim that somebody who used to be gay or lesbian is now completely, categorically reoriented, such that for all intents and purposes, he or she is simply a heterosexual person like nearly any other who experienced themselves as heterosexual from early childhood, on. On the face of it, this claim at first sounds simple, plausible - mainly because we socially/religiously subscribe to a widespread, settled folkways idealism in which being heterosexual is an invariably happy ending. In truth, we know as many or more troubled/struggling straight folks in daily, as we might know queer folks?

If the ex-gay phenom is so remarkably successful, even unhappy straight people might want to benefit from its secret (well nigh, magical?) strategies or techniques for self-transformation. We will not be all that surprised if unhappy straight people wish to become as singularly and completely happy and productive in daily life, as ex-gay narratives always claim ex-gay folks to be?

A weaker corollary might be that (more truthfully?) ex-gay narrators admit to struggle, adopting cognitive-behavior strategies for avoiding/managing continuing feelings of sensual/romantic perception of a generally gay/lesbian sort? Then the categorical, positive claims turns into a narrative about how much happier this struggle, wariness, self-policing, and so forth is - compared to a prior culturally gay/lesbian life. However on further interrogation, we nearly always hear how awful a prior life was - filled with isolation, matched to a manic-sounding sex hunt, propped up by alcohol/drugs, with the deep, implicit message being that such a former life was deeply unhappy, unfulfilling, and haunted by human troubles that build to a palpable sense of human emptiness.

No surprise there. Straight people with similar daily lives report the same - or just about the same - forms and intensities of terrible, sustained suffering. The difference always is, so far? Nobody ever tells the suffering straight fo0lks that their heterosexual orientation has been the root cause of all their life troubles. Instead, helpful (even wise?) people encourage suffering heterosexual humans to focus on alcohol/drug abuse/dependence issues, self-destructive habits, low self-esteem, isolation, and similar domains where positive change is possible/rewarding. The simplest reaction to the ex-gay narratives might be to repeat that we already know the way to clean up and restore suffering queer folks = pretty much, just the same way we help straight folks to clean up ethically and heal from many different types of suffering.

The flat earth negative beliefs, prejudices, and antigay behavior that obtains among individuals, families, groups, and gets written into public policy and law and regulation - these are burdens and barriers unique to queer folks as the core targets. Then special forms of the common, effective strategies and remedies come into play - mainly because these flat earth negative beliefs, prejudices, and antigay activities are not moderated by the available empirical date, nor the good-healthy examples of Out, Thriving queer folks all over the nation, nor by the steady examples of two moms or two dads who are delighted to be raising children in public neighborhood view.

Area Two is a numbers game. We still cannot confirm that ex-gays who happily live as transformed straight people are anywhere as numerous as ex-gay leaders and publicists continue to say is uniformly the real case. In any event, whether or not we can find two or two hundred or two thousand or two hundred thousand or two million - utterly happy and straight ex-gays? Is logically irrelevant to answering the individual question: Can I as myself, ever find ways to live happily as a queer person? Zillions of people may be content and happy to listen to jazz, county music, R&B, Soul, Rap, or any other kind of music as their sole, necessary delight. Other individuals may still find that something different sustains their spirit and their inner life - classical music, world fusion, whatever.

Area three is a corollary to the first two areas. The only sort of happy, fulfilling ex-gay life that we hear about is nearly completely juxtaposed with tales of suffering; news of thriving, fulfilled queer folks is never a part of the ex-gay narrative. Ex-gays are apparently heavily invested in repeating how much special suffering, special trouble, and empty futility is involved in modern daily life for queer folks, yet few if any ex-gay preachers ever bothers to take responsibility for their evident desire to interfere, burden, and torment queer folks for being, well, queer folks. We can hear disclaimers from time to time, but the burdensome impact of much ex-gay campaigning hardly ever accepts responsibility for activism in support of antigay public policy, law, regulation, and powerfully exclusionary religious-communal practices.
na pw ki egw? imoun stin idia paralia kai epevla to melissanidi etsi, to pio pithano einai oti de tha ton prosexa kan. tora, stin periptosi pou epefte to mati mou, mallon tha gelousa, mono kai mono epeidi sta dika mou matia tha itan mia asteia eikona. sta DIKA KOU MATIA. kai borei kai na gelousa me tous filous mou an sinevaine to idio kai me aftous. Tora, apo ekei, sto na ftasei kapoios na kikloforisei ti photo sto diadiktyo kai na tin pairnei o kathe vlammenos kai na tin kanei forward stous filous tou, e sorry, yparxei terastia apostasi. kai de ftaiei mono aftos pou tis dioxetefse, alla kai oloi emeis pou kata kairous prowthoume tetoies malakies,epeidi den exoume me ti allo na asxolithoume sti mizeri zooula mas, sta grafeiakia kai ta decadence barakia pou milame mono gia "..tis photos tou melissanidi tis eides?...". enw o melissanidis, gay xegay, de m endiaferei, einai athlitis, gia tin akriveia athlitaras. kai afto gia osous exoun mia sxesi me ton protathlitismo simainei paaara polla. pou axizoun to sevasmo olwn mas. kai an exei 5 idiaiterotites me geia tou kai xara tou. diladi ta xaza pou to vradi tha ton koutsobolevoun s ena bar ondas liomidia, na pao ki ego na ta travixo mia photo gia tin katandia tous pou tha koitane gomenakia kai de tha tous kathetai kanena epeidi tha einai allithora apo to poto? gia mena afti einai i epoxi mas,yparxei viomixania kai anthropoi pou zoun mesa apo afti ti logiki. Distixos, simfono mazi sou sto oti einai aparadekto,alla ki esy vre paidaki mou, min to kleidoneis stous gay to zitima. einai poli evritero, trust me...
kalitera pou den sou ksanamilisan. E-si den <a href="">eprpee</a> na tous milas...akous ekei na se afisoun kai na figoun!! <a href="">eprpee</a> na katsoun kai na se kanoun rompa, kai na gelate akoma me tin gkafa...tststs filoi na sou petixoun :S

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