March 07, 2007

Ex-Gay Leaders Need to Stop Talking and Listen

That's the point of this post by Peterson Toscano. Toscano has first-hand knowledge of the Ex-Gay movement being a survivor of their "counseling." Here are a couple of excerpts from his post:

But the ex-gay movement needs to take an accounting of its activities. They need to sit and listen to the stories of the majority of people who have been through their programs only to come to the understanding that change is not necessary, particularly in the way it was promised.

They need to hear how many of our lives grew worse as a result of our ex-gay experiences. They need to hear about our faith journeys, our loss of faith communities, our doubts of God and God's love and the ways that some of us have been able to reclaim a spiritual life and how many have not.

They need to hear about the healthy lives we have miraculously been able to create for ourselves, the healthy relationships and new direction, the forgiveness we have been able to extend and the freedoms that we have achieved.

They need to stop listening to their own testimonies and start listening to our stories. And when they refuse to do so, they reveal something that they may not even acknowledge to themselves. That at the end of the day, they care more about issues and their constituents than they care for us.

Are ex-gay ministries more interested in sustaining their own existance than actually helping people, especially since they apparently don't do any follow-up or after care? If that's the case, what is the chance that they can actually effect change, even if you take the leap and believe that change is even possible?


  1. what a concept. listening.

  2. we do listen. does the fact that many others who go through ex gay whatever have significant change and feel their lives are better for it mean anything to you? do u listen to us??

  3. does personal responsibility weight anything with the gay community - people can walk out of any therapy session, facility etc... on their own.

  4. I have listened to the stories of the leaders of Exodous, and I have also heard the stories of those who claimed "significant change" and then were found hitting on people in a gay bar. I've also listened to stories of people who have been twisted and manipulated by ex-gay ministries, some of who have been driven to suicide because they were told that their very nature was an aboration and were unable to change. Have you listened to them?

    Mary, when someone is troubled enough to seek therapy to change the very nature of who they are, just how much self esteem and emotional strength do you really think they have left to walk away from therapy?

  5. I find it interesting that whenever someone decides to be disagreeable, they feel it's necessary to be anonymous. Why can't you at least give us your first name so we can address you properly?
    Names aside, anonymous... You obviously don't listen to us. If you did, you would find that a vast majority of people who go through ex-gay therapy come out the other side more screwed up and confused than when they entered it!
    If someone thinks they can change their sexual orientation through prayer and counseling, that's their business. However, whenever I tell someone that I do not feel I can change who I am, I get told that change is possible and I should seek it out or I will be burning in hell. The ex-gay movement makes it seem as though they are just out to "help" those who want to change, but that's not really the truth. The truth is that they want to get the message out there that being gay is wrong and that it's a choice, so you'd better change or else.
    I listen very intently to what you all say. I read between the lines too. Smile.
    I hope that reading this blog will help you understand that God doesn't hate us gay and lesbian people. He made us and God don't make no junk!