The New Low Bar For ‘Ex-Gays’: ‘One Ex-Gay Is Enough’


Thursday's Ex-Gay Pride Press Conference

Thursday’s Ex-Gay Pride Press Conference

Last week’s “ex-gay pride” press conference — replete with cheers for the harmful ineffective therapy — was a dismal failure with less than a dozen participants. Compared to the “thousands” of ex-gays its organizers claim exist, the turnout seemed to confirm that “Ex-gay Pride Month” events were canceled not because of supposed security threats, but because people simply were not going to show up.

Christopher Doyle, head of the so-called “Voice of the Voiceless” group that has organized the non-existent Ex-gay Pride Month events, has lowered his bar to compensate. He argues that even the testimony of one “former homosexual” is significant enough:

But let’s imagine double that number showed up, or maybe 50, or perhaps even 100. Would that be enough? For anti-ex-gay extremists, it would not. In my view, it is significant in our current anti-ex-gay climate that even ONE former homosexual is willing to share their experience and speak out publicly. So why do activists make such a big deal over the numbers? The reason is because they want to make it seem like the only ex-gays who are vocal are a small group of profiteers that are fooling vulnerable individuals; in essence, they claim we are liars and charlatans that are misleading others.

But what they do not realize is that it only takes ONE ex-gay that has changed to put a wrench in the “born that way, cannot change” strategy they are using to deceive the public. The fact is, these activists cannot handle the existence of ONE person who says they have experienced change from same-sex attraction to opposite sex attraction, much less nine of us telling our stories at one time. So they need to mock, belittle, and downplay the significance of yesterday’s events. That is why there is so much anger. So much intimidation. So much disrespect. So much harassment.

There is no evidence of any intimidation, disrespect, or harassment against the ex-gay community — of course, it’s not clear there even is a cohesive ex-gay community that could experience, let alone testify, to that kind of victimization. Any anger directed at those championing the shame-based treatment might well be justified because of the significant harm that so many have experienced at the hands of ex-gay therapy.

But Doyle doesn’t even answer his own question: one ex-gay is enough for what? It certainly isn’t enough to contradict the many studies that have found no evidence that the therapy achieves any of its purported goals. It doesn’t debunk the notion that some people might actually be able to convince themselves they’re straight even though they still have same-sex attractions, or that many of those who claim to represent the success of ex-gay therapy are simply bisexual. And in no way could it possibly justify the bizarre, abusive procedures that clients have experienced — nor the insistent shaming of gay people that “ex-gay pride” requires.

Doyle has said ex-gays want protections under law like the gay community has, but he has refused to explain what that means. People who are gay still lack many protections under law, like in employment for example, but if they did, those sexual orientation nondiscrimination provisions would protect ex-gays too.

To celebrate “ex-gay pride,” one must take pleasure in having fully committed himself to a life of self-shaming. There are undoubtedly more than nine individuals living an ex-gay life, but it shouldn’t be so surprising that they were not interested in showing up last week.