Sunday, February 28, 2010

JUST LOVE: exposing and opposing the ex-gay industry

I recently talked about being "born gay". It is therefore perhaps not surprising that the "ex-gay" movement, which is founded on the idea that it's "just a choice" is at the lead in opposing GLBT rights in this country. The so-called "ex-gay" organizations are criticized by mainstream medical professionals for the harm they do GLBT people. The supporters of this discredited movement are linked to the Uganda bill that would criminalize homosexuality up-to-and-including the death penalty. They claim to be driven by religion, but are viewed with dismay by many religious people.

The "ex-gay" movement is flexing its political muscle. It's not limited to religion any more. Its involvement in Uganda, the calls to criminalize homosexuality in this country , are all linked. Therefore anyone interested in GLBT rights in the secular sphere has to be aware of and fight back against these groups, not dismiss them as fringe religion.

On Saturday March 6, there is a conference opposing the so-called "Ex-gay" movement. The JUST LOVE conference, will be held at St Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, San Diego (which is a leader in local advocacy for GLBT rights). The conference will bring together leaders in medicine, law, faith groups, and advocacy to expose the ex-gay movement and raise awareness of its activities in the USA, as well as its role in the Uganda "kill the gays" bill. Speakers include Michael Bussee (survivor, writes at Beyond Ex-gay); Wayne Besen (Founder of Truth Wins Out, a non-profit that defends the GLBT community against anti-gay misinformation and the “ex-gay” industry) ,and Jim Burroway (from the Box Turtle Bulletin who exposed the link between ex-gay movement and Uganda).

There will be afternoon workshops for legal professionals, media coverage, allies in the faith community, and support/recovery issues for victims of the ex-gay movement.

This conference is FREE. More information here.

Draft program here.

Facebook pagehere.

The conference corresponds with an opposing conference promoting the "Ex-gay" abuse, also in San Diego. There will be protests against the emotional spiritual and physical violence done in the name of the "Ex-gay" movement. Check out this post from blogger MIke Tidmus for more background!

Education is the key to defend our community against the haters.


JCF said...

Sounds awesome!

Will you be attending, blogging, IT?

IT said...

No unfortunately I have a prior commitment that day.

I am doing my share doing "pre-blogging" to drum up interest from all my regular readers.

Elizabeth said...

I am up at the "fourth corner" of the US so can't make it. I am very glad to see the issue getting some major attention. As a school psychologist I am absolutely against the idea that homosexuality is a "choice" and can be changed. Young people have enough trouble coming to terms with their sexuality without some idiot telling them: they are not OK; they have made a bad choice; if the just pray hard enough they will become "normal" etc. etc. I am glad people are standing up and saying: "you're just the way God made you" (even if you are not sure about whether God exists, it still is reaffirming.)

Elizabeth said...

Have I told you that I admire your strength, courage, and just plain stick-to-itness. You are awesome!

IT said...

You are too kind, Elizabeth. I often feel I talk a good game but don't deliver. I'm too distracted by advocacy to do my job well; too concerned about my job responsibilities to be an effective advocate. And so I feel like my skin is raw. At some level I need to figure out how to step back from this and focus on the people around me: family, students, colleagues, rather than spinning my wheels against the endless battle.

NancyP said...

I know what you mean, IT.

Pick one piece of advocacy: blogging, for instance. Pass up all the rest. Or pass on the blogging and show up at protest events, or go to your yearly state legislature lobbying day for LGBT.