Truth Wins Out has spoken out in several venues this month against the myth that one can “pray away the gay.” TWO has also taken on religious extremism. Here are links to the articles.
Advocate Op-Ed: Finish the Job: Ban Conversion Therapy for Minors
[EXCERPT] Some people, particularly parents, feel conversion therapy is safe and there is no harm if their child gives it a try. In reality, such rejection of self can be psychologically devastating and leave lasting mental scars that must be undone with real therapy. The single worst decision a parent can make is forcing their child into conversion therapy.
Still, a demand often fueled by religious fervor inevitably creates a pool of religious ideologues or greedy practitioners who bilk desperate and vulnerable clients with promises of healing or an elusive cure. This is why conversion therapy must be banned for minors in all 50 states. I urge everyone to get behind such noble efforts that protect teenagers and put conversion con artists out of business.
We must also be vigilant to ensure the “ex-gay” industry does not continue to wage this unholy war abroad. As they lose at home, they are shifting operations to more favorable terrain overseas. Many of these countries lack the freedom of speech and assembly that we take for granted. When coming out is criminalized and those who speak out risk jail or violence, the disinformation peddled by conversion therapists can flower. We must creatively and assertively strategize with our partners abroad to meet this challenge by fighting lies with truth — just as we did at home.
In America, the right wing’s favored antigay strategy — the “ex-gay” industry — has fallen on hard times. But it up to us to finish the job we started and ensure no gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender child is abused by charlatans posing as medical experts.
The Globe and Mail: Controversial sexual-identity speaker sparks debate at B.C. university
[EXCERPT] Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, a Chicago-based non-profit organization that counters anti-gay messaging and has opposed Dr. Yarhouse for some time, believes his presence at Trinity Western could be harmful to some students.
“I think that Mark Yarhouse’s presence is going to cause some people to feel worse about themselves, to be guilt-ridden and feel ashamed instead of feeling as if they are good people who deserve to be loved,” he said.
Dr. Yarhouse, who co-authored a “sexual identity therapy framework” with Warren Throckmorton, another psychology professor, has emphasized that the therapy is intended to help clients find their own resolutions when their sexual and religious identities conflict.
It’s an idea that Mr. Besen rejects.
“The answer is to have somebody find a religion that is accepting of them as a whole person – not to try and keep them in a religion that says there’s something wrong with their sexual orientation,” he said. “That just creates conflict, cognitive dissonance and a lot of pain and suffering.”
Yahoo News: What is Conversion Therapy Exactly
[EXCERPT] At its core, conversion therapy assumes incorrectly that sexual orientation and gender identity are caused by environmental factors within the family. “Conversion therapy is a pseudoscience that blames homosexuality on bad parenting. Specifically, the practice claims — without evidence — that a rift between a child and a same-sex parent can lead to a child rejecting that parent and his or her gender role. At puberty this leads to sexualizing the same sex,” says Wayne Besen, founder of Truth Wins Out, a nonprofit group that speaks out against the ex-gay movement and anti-gay messages.
“Conversion therapy seeks to reverse this alleged process through a combination of prayer, talk therapy, and creating non-sexual same-sex friendships. It also includes masculinity exercises for men, such as touch football and drinking Gatorade, and lipstick seminars for girls,” Besen tells Yahoo Health.
Falls Church News Press column: GOP Candidates Bow Down Before Bigots at Hate Conference
[EXCERPT] Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Sen. Ted Cruz, cravenly appeared at the conference. By doing so, they gave their imprimatur to a rabidly homophobic preacher who believes that LGBT people should be executed. Well, not quite – the good reverend wants to give gays a chance to repent (aka convert) before he intervenes to take their lives in the name of the Prince of Peace.
Apparently, some people urged Swanson to tamp it down, as not to tar these presidential candidates with his rabid anti-gay ranting. He breezily dismissed these suggestions and went on a full-blown bigot binge.
Swanson’s rhetorical raw sewage oozed, squirted, and swished – until it spilled and then streamed into the pews. The stench is still fresh, fouling the atmosphere and soiling American politics.