Ex-Gay Pride Events Delayed Because Of ‘Anti-Ex-Gay Extremism’

Christopher Doyle

July was recently declared “Ex-Gay Pride” month, but now it seems that the big public events that were supposed to highlight the visibility of the ex-gay community have been moved to an undisclosed location and postponed until September. Some apparent “anti-ex-gay extremism” caused “several security threats” that required the change, but now September will also be “Ex-Gay Awareness Month”:

Due to some anti-ex-gay extremism that has occurred since we first announced Ex-Gay Pride 2013, the July 31 Lobbying Day on Capitol Hill and Evening Dinner/Reception at the Family Research Council has had to be moved and postponed to an undisclosed location in September. The harassment has caused several security threats which has forced us to change plans, and that is unfortunate. However, we are committed to holding an alternate event in late July as well as supporting some other initiatives that our allies and fellow ex-gays are planning for July. These events are still in development and will not be announced until late next week. For all of our supporters that have made travel plans to attend the July 31 event, we sincerely apologize for having to change plans, but we thought it was in the best interest to ensure the safety and security of all participants and speakers.

On the bright side, this harassment and anti-ex-gay extremism has reminded us just how intolerant some individuals and organizations are about the existence of ex-gays and former homosexuals. So much so, that we believe it is necessary not only to hold events in July for Ex-Gay Pride, but also to declare September as the First Annual Ex-Gay Awareness Month. Ex-Gay Awareness Month in September will be a time to reflect on the discrimination and marginalization that former homosexuals and ex-gays experience in the public at large. It will also provide some much needed exposure to students in secondary schools and colleges across the country to learn about the plights, challenges, and tribulations facing ex-gays in our culture.

No details about the security threats were identified, nor have any been reported prior to this announcement.

Even granting the premise that “former homosexuals” exist, the argument that they are left out of nondiscrimination protections doesn’t make any sense. If people are protected based on their sexual orientation, that would hypothetically include an “ex-gay” orientation. There have not been any examples of people actually losing jobs or being denied service because they’re ex-gay, so the claim of discrimination rings hollow. To suggest that they are specifically targeted for harassment seems even less plausible, provided they can even be identified.

What seems more likely is that the big public events were going to fall flat because there have never been as many ex-gays as groups have claimed, whether it’s Focus on the Family, PFOX, or the new “Voice of the Voiceless” group, which seems to be run by the same people — or person, ex-gay therapist Christopher Doyle. Truth Wins Out’s Wayne Besen laughed at the schedule change, pointing out that “ex-gays are as rare as the Dodo bird” and challenging Doyle to release the names of anybody who has “jeopardized his organization’s security.” Until then, Besen says the only possibly conclusion is that “Ex-Gay Pride Month” is a failure, and Doyle’s downgrade to “Ex-Gay Awareness Month” will simply allow him to “pretend there are legions of so-called ex-gays in press releases” without needing them to actually show up.

This may seem harsh, but it’s particularly evident in the video released to kickoff “Ex-Gay Pride Month.” In it, Doyle talks to a couple random people on the National Mall who not only are not ex-gay themselves but also don’t seem to even understand what he’s talking about. The rest just focuses on one testimonial, which includes trite ex-gay narrative details like a dominant mother, drug use, HIV diagnosis, and a bottoming out, followed by salvation in the church. Watch it:

Doyle works with the disavowed therapist Richard Cohen. He believes that sexual abuse causes homosexuality and that if ex-gay therapy is banned, “more Jerry Sanduskys will get off scot-free.”

As Joe Jervis points out, Doyle’s announcement does not clarify whether or not the Ex-Gay Pride Month theme song contest has been canceled.