Friday, June 02, 2006

Truth Wins Out

(Pictured: "Christians" protesting a concert I was giving in Henderson Kentucky).

You always know election time is coming around because the Republicans suddenly remember that they need conservative Christian votes. So, they trot out the old "gay marriage" issue so Dobson and friends will raise money for them and campaign against Democrats in their churches. Once again, we gay people will become the punching bag of the world.

Soon, Bush will be once again endorsing a constitutional amendment which purports to "defend marrige," but which everyone knows is actually an anti-gay marriage bill. And to "prove" that gays don't actually exist and therefore don't need equality before the law, Focus on the Family will be right there, probably with Exodus leader and professional exgay Alan Chambers in tow.

This time however, simultaneously, anti-exgay activist Wayne Besen will be holding a parallel press conference announcing the formation of the "Truth Wins Out" campaign (the name of which is derived from Focus on the Family's "Love Won Out" dog and pony show) which seeks to prove that exgays don't exist. For two groups that don't exist (gays and exgays), they sure seem to get a lot of press.

'Truth Wins Out' to Take on Key Issue In Anti-Gay Campaigns

Washington, DC -- As President Bush and Congress prepare to debate gay marriage, a new organization will launch next Wednesday, June 7th to combat so-called "Ex-Gay" ministries and organizations.

"Truth Wins Out will confront a dangerous lie that has buttressed anti-gay campaigns from coast to coast," said founder and noted activist Wayne Besen. "From school boards to city councils to Congress, a lie is being advanced that sexual orientation is something that can be directed or 'cured. It's false, and Truth Wins Out will strike this pillar out from under anti-gay efforts."

Truth Wins Out will launch at the National Press Club with dramatic personal stories of victims of "ex-gay" programs, and insights into how ex-gay theories are woven into nearly all efforts opposed to equality for gay and lesbian Americans. The press conference will also expose the new Right-wing strategy to force "ex-gay" theories into classrooms.
WHO: Truth Wins Out, presenting victims of "ex-gay" efforts. Wayne Besen, Author, "Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth"

WHAT: A new national organization to combat so-called "ex-gay" efforts and larger Right-wing misinformation campaigns.

WHEN: Wednesday, June 7th, 2006 at 10:00am

WHERE: National Press Club, Zenger Room
529 14th Street NW, Washington, DC

**NOTE** Truth Wins Out will launch in the same week that Focus on the Family convenes in Washington, DC to support President Bush's effort to ban gay marriage.

I have always tried to maintain a consistent position on the whole thing. If a person is gay or same sex attracted and it's against their religion to act on it, then they only hurt themselves by going against their religious beliefs. Many is the suicidal kid I've had to counsel who has "done the deed" only to feel horrifying guilt over it, worrying that they're going to burn in hell or something. They should totally have the right to meet and talk and be celibate or try to change. Whatever they want. Free country and all that as long as they leave the rest of us, who are happily accepting of our sexual orientation and gay identity alone.

But taking care of their own is never enough. They feel the need to interfere in the lives of gay and lesbian people.

Anti-gay theology, IMO, is completely and totally in error. It's based on misinterpretation and misapplication of scripture, even if you're a literalist. It's a cultural bias that has been sadly handed down to us by homophobic desert dwellers from thousands of years ago. Unfortunately, the brainwashing that most gay people have had to endure their entire lives by well-meaning preachers and family members causes them to hate themselves in ways most uninformed straight people cannot understand. (The informed straight people make fabulous allies).

As most people who've followed my diary over the years know, I became friendly with many members of Exodus over the years and I know most of them to be also well-meaning, even if they are, IMO, misguided. They were all very excited several years ago when, after being totally ignored for a couple of decades, the political religious right suddenly "discovered" them and began including them in an ad campaign. Naively, they thought these religious politicos actually cared about them.

But what actually happened -- and it's well documented -- was that the ad campaign was only used in districts where Republicans were losing, and that the "exgays" were merely window dressing fodder for a political campaign. Few of the ads appeared in places were actual gay people lived. What the Republicans were doing was using the "exgays" to insist that gays don't actually exist--or, rather, that all gays can change back into heterosexuals. They used fuzzy language such as "Gays can change" without defining the word "change." The point was to appeal to homophobic voters. As soon as the election was over, the ads disappeared.

What most gay people found who went to these ministries was that no one actually changed into heterosexuals. In fact, the leader of Exodus in England finally declared that in his 20 years of conducting reparative therapy NOT ONE SINGLE INSTANCE OF ORIENTATION CHANGE HAD OCCURRED.

Wayne Besen has been challenging the lies and myths of the exgay movement for some time now and has documented all the half-truths and so-called changes that have been touted by Exodus.

However, the Republicans need votes and Bush is totally desperate, as everyone knows. So, you know it's election time when the Hate Gay campaigns begin. Sadly, my friends in the Exodus movement will get sucked up into it. They'll empower the bigots and the homophobes to continue hating us. But then, we're used to that, aren't we?

But, truth wins out. It always does. And the one thing I know beyond a doubt is that we have truth on our side.


Lynette said...

"But then, we're used to that, aren't we?" ~ how very sad.

Living in the midst of the Bible belt, I have fairly regular conversations with the uninformed on this very topic. The best response I have found, after years of argument, has been "so, how old were you when you decided to be heterosexual?"

Moving from that point to the theory of no mistakes in God's world has ~ amazingly ~ resulted in some ex-bigots. Or at least a little movement on the continuum of bigotry.

Ya just gotta work with what ya got down here. Thanks for a nice piece here . . . lynette

Nonsequitur said...

"Focus on the Family's "Love Won Out" dog and pony show"


I'm sorry, this whole post was good and informative but the dog and pony show analogy was so humorous (yet so appropriate) that I almost spit my drink all over the keyboard.

Keep up the good work Steve ;-)