Wayne Besen founded Truth Wins Out in 2006 following the release of his books, “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth” (Haworth, 2003 ) and “Bashing Back: Wayne Besen on LGBT People, Politics, and Culture” (Haworth 2006). In 2006, Besen was recognized in the Advocate Magazine’s “People of the Year” issue. In 2009, he was named in Instinct Magazine as a “Leading Man”.
Besen has appeared on news and political talk shows including: the NBC Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight, MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell and Hardball with Chris Matthews; CNN’s AC360; FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, The Sean Hannity Show, as well as Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Besen has been quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, TIME, Newsweek, Raw Story, The Nation, Mother Jones, The Washington Blade and The Advocate magazine.
- While a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, Besen created the landmark “Finally Free: How Love and Self-Acceptance Saved Us from the ‘Ex-Gay’ Ministries”, which featured testimonies from survivors of “ex-gay” programs
- In 2000, Besen photographed then Focus on the Family “ex-gay” spokesperson John Paulk in a Washington, DC gay bar (John is now out and proud, speaking out against such dangerous programs)
- Besen assisted Wade Richards, who was an “ex-gay” spokesperson with Peter LaBarbera’s hate group, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, come out and renounce the “ex-gay” myth in the Advocate magazine
- In 2003, Besen, with the help of attorney Michael Hamer, outed American Family Association and Rev. Jerry Falwell’s “ex-gay” spokesperson Michael Johsnton, who was meeting men online for sex. He stepped down from these ministries citing a “moral fall”
- In a joint publication, Besen teamed up with Lambda Legal to publish the landmark, “Ex-Gay & the Law”, which pioneered the idea of legal action against the “ex-gay” myth, a strategy that has since come to fruition
- With Truth Wins Out, Besen produced a large number of survivor videos, credited with inspiring many people involved in such programs to come out and live honestly and openly
- In a joint investigation with SFGN, Besen investigated and exposed Arthur Abba Goldberg, the co-founder of Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH) uncovering that he was a felon who conned investors
- Besen revealed that notorious “ex-gay” therapist Richard Cohen, former president of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) and head of the International Healing Foundation (IHF) was permanently expelled from the American Counseling Association
- In 2011, Besen, along with Truth Wins Out employee John Becker, launched a successful undercover operation that showed then Rep. Michele Bachmann and her husband, Marcus, owned a clinic that practiced “ex-gay” therapy. The investigation broke on ABC World News Tonight and was widely covered
- In 2011, Besen led a successful campaign to have Apple remove Exodus International’s “ex-gay” iPhone app
- In a groundbreaking and successful 2015 lawsuit (Ferguson et al., JONAH) by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) against JONAH, Besen traveled the country with SPLC and helped find key plaintiffs, such as Chaim Levin. JONAH was shut down for committing consumer fraud
- Besen testified at the New Jersey statehouse in a successful 2013 effort to outlaw conversion therapy for minors. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.)
- In 2018, Besen concluded an undercover operation that revealed “ex-gay” therapist Norman Goldwasser was using dating profiles on ManHunt and Bear Nation to meet men. Goldwasser was tied to the “ex-gay” organizations NARTH, JONAH and Journey into Manhood
Prior to founding TWO, Besen served as a spokesperson with the Human Rights Campaign. He also worked in corporate communications for Edelman Public Relations Worldwide, and served as a press secretary on a U.S. Senate primary in Maine. In 1992, Besen co-founded Sons & Daughters of America (SDA), a gay and lesbian public awareness campaign based in Fort Lauderdale. Besen graduated from University of Florida in 1993.