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10/06/2008

The Times they are (covering gays in search of) a-changin'

by Jeremy Hooper
Each evening, a roll-call of “former homosexuals” hold up their husbands and wives like kitemarks of their newfound heterosexuality. We are told repeatedly that marriage is evidence of healing. Stereotypes are the ex-gay currency, and the heterosexual ideal is practically ringed by a white picket fence. Christine Sneeringer, the compere, jokes that her recovery is going so well that she has given up car mechanics (“it trashes my nails”). Exodus vice-president Randy Thomas, on the other hand, delights the crowd with his campness: “Just because I stopped being gay 16 years ago doesn't mean I can't be fabulous,” he says. Clearly, gaydar has yet to be invented on planet Exodus.

Above is but one passage from a piece that Lucy Bannerman, a reporter and feature writer for The London Times, has written about the time she spent undercover at a recent Exodus International "ex-gay" camp. Her full article is (1) a testament to the frightening power of fear and persuasion, (2) a fascinating examination of the human mind's difficulty in disconnecting superfluous stereotypes from biological reality, (3) a revelatory look into some religious folks' willingness to create outlets and ideas that match their faith views rather than to adapt their faith views to accommodate reality, and (4) a truly sad presentation of the mostly-American phenomenon that is the "ex-gay" movement. GO READ:

The camp that 'cures' homosexuality [Times]

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Your thoughts

I do know that Americans are DUMBed down...after all there's the McCain/Palin SIDESHOW
an ongoing horror story. BUT....all this proves is that they are BISEXUAL! NOT HET. Should join some BI support groups so they can really discuss what their problems are.

Posted by: LOrion | Oct 6, 2008 7:20:43 PM

I believe that Lucy Bannerman of the Times went undercover and wrote the main article. Ruth Gledhill wrote the companion piece at the end "Homosexuality and the Church--views from the pulpit"

If you had ever met Ruth, you would agree that she would stand out in a crowd at Exodus. She has a certain presence about her that one cannot easily ignore. I have a feeling Exodus would have sussed her out as a journo right away.

Posted by: Peterson Toscano | Oct 6, 2008 7:46:36 PM

Oops! Thanks Peterson. It was a hasty mistake.

Corrected.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 6, 2008 7:54:32 PM

Californians, vote NO on proposition 8.
Tell a friend. Speak out online. Donate.

Equality for All
http://tinyurl.com/6ddtf5

Equality California
http://tinyurl.com/5dydop

Posted by: Vote NO | Oct 7, 2008 1:48:48 AM

Thank you so much for giving Lucy's great piece such a fantastic plug and for correcting the attribution. I just did a brief comment to go at the end of the feature to put it in context. Just one small further correction: Lucy is a Times reporter and feature writer, not the religion correspondent. It just might be slightly confusing for readers, that is all. I don't want anyone thinking I've been ousted....!

Posted by: Ruth Gledhill | Oct 7, 2008 7:08:09 AM

Thanks, Ruth. Changed Lucy's role.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 7, 2008 7:27:20 AM

"Exodus vice-president Randy Thomas, on the other hand, delights the crowd with his campness: “Just because I stopped being gay 16 years ago doesn't mean I can't be fabulous,” he says. Clearly, gaydar has yet to be invented on planet Exodus."

Clearly, Randy has cherry-picked which parts of the bible and anti-gay rhetoric applies to himself, compared to the newbies in "ex-gay camp".

I thought one of the lines they repeat is "blah blah blah, nor alcoholics, nor homosexuals, nor effeminate men will get into heaven".

So if Randy Thomas can run around acting like a woman, why is it the newbie "ex-gays" are told what music they can listen to, what movies they can watch, what they can and can't wear, what activities they can do (including singing, because it makes you gay, according to them), and the list goes on.

Sounds to me like a trap - they TELL you onstage that you can be the person you are, but once you sign up, you can kiss all of your interests goodbye.

Randy is a limp-wristed liability for Exodus, and might just be the key to bringing that cult down.

Posted by: Scott | Oct 7, 2008 2:11:17 PM

If you want the truth of what happened at the Exodus Conference in North Carolina, you won't get it from Ms. Bannerman's "reporting." Case in point - her description of the "Overcoming Guilt and Same" workshop, which I also attended. It's true that participants picked "derogatory name tags out of a hat." But it's even more true that at the end of the "strange practical exercise" they exchanged them for those with words of affirmation, acceptance and grace.

It was symbolic repudiation of some of the judgmentalism that LGBT folk have experienced in the Body of Christ and a reenactment of God's welcome and love. Now, either Ms. Bannerman didn't "get it," perhaps having left early, or she was deliberately misleading her readers. From the tone of the rest of the article, I vote for the latter.

Posted by: | Oct 9, 2008 4:36:11 PM

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