Profiting Off Stigma: Janet Boynes, Bachmann’s Ex-Gay, Anti-Gay Superstar

Today, Truth Wins Out has a lengthy special report debunking the ex-gay narrative of Janet Boynes, the leader of a Minnesota ministry with close ties to Republican candidate Michele Bachmann. She is “the Religious Right’s ‘ex-gay’ du jour,” embraced by hate groups like the Family Research Council and touted by Marcus Bachmann in his Christian counseling clinics. Her public profile is quickly growing — she was recently featured on the cover of Charisma magazine and on Lisa Ling’s special on ex-gay therapy for the Oprah Winfrey Network, making her one of the most public faces of the ex-gay movement. Despite the fact she and the Bachmanns describe each other as “friends,” Michele Bachmann continues to dodge questions about her connections to the harmful ex-gay movement.

Boynes has made a profitable career peddling her ex-gay autobiography and other ex-gay propaganda through her eponymous Exodus International-affiliated ministry and an ex-gay front group known as the National Ex-Gay Educators’ Caucus, which pushes the dangerous therapies at education conferences like the National Education Association’s. In addition to being the darling of the ex-gay movement, Boynes is also directly fueling anti-LGBT efforts.

The Vice President of her ministry is Barb Anderson of the Minnesota Family Council, the group spearheading next year’s ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota’s constitution. Boynes testified in support of the bill and Bachmann also spoke out for it. Further, Anderson and Boynes have been directly involved in the curriculum discussions at Anoka-Hennepin School District, where teachers are forbidden from discussing sexual orientation, creating a toxic environment which may have contributed to the suicides of multiple students. Boynes’s efforts are perhaps the best example yet of how ex-gay therapy is the underpinning of all anti-gay attitudes, and thankfully, TWO is here to show just how phony her story is. It’s worth reading the entire special report, but here is a quick breakdown of the analysis:

EXCEPTION TO THE RULE: Boynes’ “stardom” as an ex-gay is a clear indication of the Religious Right’s “desperate to find anyone willing to claim that they have successfully gone from gay to straight.”

NOT ACTUALLY EX-GAY: Boynes is obviously bisexual, recounting in her book her regular attractions to men and relationships with them, which means her claims of being “a former lesbian” are a stretch. Arguably, her entire ex-gay narrative is a fraud, and she even admits in her book, “I was not born homosexual. I made a decision.”

“BORN THIS WAY” IS IRRELEVANT: According to Boynes, race is inborn and sexual orientation isn’t, and thus the struggle for LGBT rights is incomparable to the Civil Rights Movement. Animus must motivate this distinction, because she suggests that even if a “gay gene” is discovered, “it doesn’t really matter,” dismissing the injustice and violence still faced by the LGBT community.

NO EVIDENCE OF EX-GAY THERAPY’S SUCCESS: Parroting the talking point of all ex-gay groups, Boynes claims there are “thousands of ex-gays,” but offers no evidence besides herself and a boy named Christian, who admits he’s totally still sexually attracted to men.

STIGMA IS WHAT HURTS, NOT HOMOSEXUALITY: By trying to suggest that the “homosexual lifestyle” is ugly and unhealthy, Boynes proves the opposite in her book. The stigma against being gay, which was hammered into her by her family growing up, is what led her to make all the unhealthy decisions she made. Research from the Family Acceptance Project shows that when families do not accept LGBT youth, those young people are much more likely to engage in self-destructive behaviors.

UGLY COMPARISONS: Throughout her book and ministry, Boynes regularly compares homosexuality to polygamy, pedophilia, incest, and bestiality.

Read the whole report for countless excerpts from Boynes’ book that show how truly toxic her views are. Hers is the one book about homosexuality Marcus Bachmann makes available at his clinic. As her public profile grows, it’s likely she will continue using her influence to perpetuate harm against the LGBT community and live quite comfortably off the profit of her efforts.


Janet Boynes penned a letter to the editor today reiterating her opposition to creating a more inclusive environment in schools like Anoka-Hennepin, writing:

No one should be promoting Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) behaviors. They are not born that way. There is no scientific evidence that proves they are. None.

If we really care about our young people, we will do everything to steer them away from homosexuality and transgenderism, and the unhealthy sexual acts that are a part of these lifestyles.

Parents, start telling your kids that homosexuality is unnatural, unhealthy, and changeable. As an ex-gay I am living proof that you are not born gay.