The Sexist

PFOX Stages More Ex-Gay County Fair Shenanigans!

Every summer,the Arlington County fair serves up pony rides, minor reality television stars, and if you're lucky, a good old dust-up involving members of the local ex-gay lobby.

In 2007, Parents & Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) volunteer David Elliott claimed that he was assaulted at the fair's ex-gay booth by an unidentified gay man. For this year's requisite PFOX confrontation, Elliott cornered Jay Fisette, an openly gay member of the Arlington County board. The confrontation had all the elements of a classic PFOX press release: Several ex-gay volunteers, one prominent gay man, and plenty of allegations of anti-ex-gay discrimination.

According to a piece he wrote in the Christian News Wire, Elliott approached Fisette to rehash the details of the 2007 incident. "I wanted to let you know that I was hit when I was working at this booth in a previous year," he wrote. Fisette allegedly replied, "What happened to you wasn’t good, but neither is your message."

Elliott pressed Fisette. "Everyone has their own opinion," he said. To which Fisette allegedly replied: "No."

Then, Fisette realized that he was surrounded by the alternate opinion. "Fisette then looked at us and inquired, 'Are you guys ex-gays?'" Elliott wrote. "Both myself and the other PFOX volunteer affirmed that yes, we are ex-gays. Fisette shook his head and hurriedly walked away."

The incident with Fisette raised a few questions for Elliott:

"When Jay Fisette, an elected government official, says 'No,' does he mean that I do not have a right to my own opinion of not accepting the 'gay' label for myself?

"Or does he mean that he refuses to dialogue on the ex-gay issue?"

"Does Mr. Fisette also believe that gay groups do not have a right to their own opinion?"

"Or is the right of self-determination permitted only to gays like him?"

"Does Fisette agree that his county's sexual orientation law also protects ex-gays?"

I have a call out to Fisette's office, in the hopes of finally getting some answers to PFOX's rhetorical line of questioning concerning a largely hypothetical sexual orientation. I'll update when I hear back.

  • jay b

    hey david-it's not assault when you bring your own lube, poppers and butt plug.

  • David in Houston

    Mr. Elliott said, “Does Mr. Fisette also believe that gay groups do not have a right to their own opinion?”

    If you're ex-gay, that makes you straight, doesn't it Mr. Elliott? Therefore you are NOT a gay group, NOR do you want to be identified as having anything to do with being gay. Isn't that right Mr. Elliott?

    You can pretend to be straight for your entire life, and never be intimate with a man. But you'll always be a homosexual. No one can change their sexuality.

  • Ex-ex-ex-ex-gay

    I have no problem with people deciding their own sexual orientation. I have a problem with them shoving it in my face and demanding my conversion to it.....

  • Victor

    I am confused (no, not sexually). So I decided to break it down into a finite set of possibilities.

    1 - straight. pretty easy to understand
    2 - gay - pretty easy to understand
    3 - "Formerly Gay". If individuals identifying as "ex gay" choose to specifically NOT identify as straight... that's fine. As far as I'm concerned, they can identify as "formerly gay" all they want.

    BUT.... (and there's always a but)
    There are caveats.
    1 - If you feel that "ex gay" is NOT = straight, then you have to actually believe that sexuality is not merely a choice of who you are sleeping with (otherwise "not sleeping with the same sex" = straight). It is unfortunate that the same group which espouses "ex gay" rights also is claiming that sexuality is just a matter of choice.
    2 - If "ex-gay" does NOT equal "straight", then the claims of the gay re-education camps are false. They are NOT making gay children straight again, they are making them "ex gay" (which apparently is NOT straight, according to these groups).
    3 - What would the nomenclature be for an "x gay" who decided to become gay again? Is that "ex ex gay"? Does PFOX recognize "ex ex gays" as a protected group as well?
    4 - This is more a curiosity... is "ex gay" kind of like the 12 step "recovering alcoholic" thing? Are "ex gays" always one tight ass away from becoming gay again? Do they get "6 weeks without sucking ***" chips?

  • Amanda Hess


    First of all, yes, none of it makes any sense.

    Second, the"ex-gay" people I've spoken to have all had different explanations for their sexual orientation. Some don't even want to be called "ex-gay," they just want to be called "straight." Some admit that they still have same-sex attractions, but they don't want to be defined by the "gay community" anymore. Some say that God just made them straight one day and they've been hetero ever since. And some do consider being "ex-gay" similar to being an alcoholic---for them, "ex-gay" isn't so much about stomping out the gay attraction as it is avoiding the drug (gay sex) for the rest of their lives. There are still cravings and there are sometimes relapses.

  • Wayne Besen

    PFOX is a fraud. I was a victim of one of their false allegations a couple of years ago in Orlando. This bizarre group is looking to provoke and stage confrontations so they can portray themselves as victims.

    I urge all people to stay away from their booths or you may find yourself the recipient of bogus charges and phony allegations. Since their tactic is to surround you when there are no other witnesses, they create a situation where it is your word against several of theirs. Again, avoid talking to members of PFOX unless you are in a very public place with witnesses to their extreme and troubling behavior.

    Wayne Besen
    Executive Director
    Truth Wins Out

  • Kevin

    @Victor...hilarious! You hit it right on the head.

    Using the term "ex-gay" means you still have same sex attractions but hold off on acting on them. If you were straight you wouldn't have same sex attractions. Great, these people are having their minds f'ed with.

    Those that still have same sex attractions but don't want to be defined by the "gay community" is the same as me being Christian but not wanting to be defined by the "Christian community" and the hypocrisy therein. I'm still Christian, and your friends are still gay.

    If "God just made them straight one day and have been hetero ever since"...LOOK OUT straight men and women, God will send his vengence down on you and tomorrow when you wake up you will be gay! Oh the horror! I call BS.

    You can't change, you can only suppress, and when you suppress it leads to depression, suicide, drug use, etc. (what the religious right claims are outcomes of being gay). The religious right and its unaccepting behavior of LGBT people is the cause for all of these.

    I'm actually a believer that there is a range or scale of sexuality (being 100% straight, 50% straight/50%gay, 100% gay...etc.)

  • Alfonzo

    When Fisette said no, I think he meant exactly what he said.
    “Everyone has their own opinion,” he said. To which Fisette allegedly replied: “No.”

    Fisette probably meant, no, everyone does not have their own opinion. This is true. Some people are brainwashed, therefore, they do not have their own opinion. Also, some people believe everything they hear, therefore they do not have their own opinion, but the opinion of someone else.

  • C

    Well, Victor asked if being ex-gay is like 12-Step recovery. Some follow this route. There is a Homosexuals Anonymous.
    I doubt there is much respect for this organization. 12-step programs in general have a tradition of avoiding outside issues and ties to other organizations. HA speakers are tied to right-wing political caused. Plus they are not anonymous. Gay people do participate in sexual addition 12-step programs. But they are not usually trying to change their sexual orientation.