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08/11/2009

FOF loses ex-gay 'Love'!

by Jeremy Hooper

love-won-ut-movingIt's just been announced that Focus on the Family is cutting its "ex-gay" Love Won Out conferences out of the fam, sending the "gays can change" dog and pony shows to instead live with their Florida-based cousins at Exodus International! And not surprisingly, it seems like the organization's dire financial realities are a major reason why:

Gary Schneeberger, vice president of media and public relations for the ministry, acknowledged that financial realities played a role in the conference’s transition to Exodus.

“Everyone knows these are challenging times for organizations and individuals all across the globe,” he said. “It is not an inexpensive undertaking to put on a Love Won Out event; and contrary to what our detractors say, the conferences rarely have recouped the financial investment made in them. That is a cost we have always paid because of the positive impact the events have had.

“With Exodus moving aggressively to strengthen its church outreach, though, they are the ones who ought to be shepherding Love Won Out as it continues on in its second decade. Our financial challenges have led us to recognize a strategic opportunity that makes sense independent of economic circumstances.”

Love Won Out transitions to Exodus International [Warren Throckmorton]

Well Gary, if you think it's costly for you all, you should hear the tales of "ex-gay" devastation that we hear from ex-"ex-gays" on a regular basis. So forgive us is we focus a little more on their challenges than we do on FOF's monetary ones.

But regardless of the reason, we're thrilled to hear about this, an undeniably LWO-weakening development. It seems that love (of the unconditional variety) may truly win out!

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Your thoughts

I don't doubt that they're out there, but maybe it would be beneficial to make ex-"ex-gay"s stories that you receive on a regular basis more visible? I don't think I've ever read a first-hand account.

Posted by: John | Aug 11, 2009 5:50:36 PM

"That is a cost we have always paid because of the positive impact the events have had. "

By 'positive impact' they mean 'great propaganda to paint gays as deviants who should be fixed instead of treated equally'

Posted by: penguinsaur | Aug 11, 2009 7:33:53 PM

John, I think that we are all ex-"ex-gays" to some extent. We all grew up under the scepter of religiosity to varying degrees, and we all have ultimately come to the conclusion that we can be exactly who we are. And that we are equally as good as anyone else. While many of us have never been in any way affiliated with LWO, or Exodus, we have nonetheless encountered the same narrow mindedness (albeit, in a different sheepskin), and we have come to grips with it.

For some of us it was much easier than for others, and we, individually, may have even arrived at somewhat different resolutions. But many (if not most) of us have been there - and survived.

And even if we haven't encountered aggressive religiosity, we have encountered some degree of societal stigma. We are also, and I'll speak from my experience, quite fortunate to have encountered, and been befriended by a host of incredibly compassionate and wonderful straight friends who fully and completely accept us. And who empathize with our situations.

So, for most of us, I don't think that we can really separate ourselves from those who have been more susceptible to being swept up by the "ex-gay" movement. We know what "ex-gay" offers, we know that it is meritless, that it is exceptionally dangerous, and we aggressively oppose it.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Aug 11, 2009 8:40:49 PM

As I read this post, I just couldn't help but think, "It's expensive to do the impossible." As someone who looks back now on the teenage edition of myself and wonders why the heck I didn't (couldn't?) a) realize or b) accept who I was/now am, the 10 years I spent in the proverbial closet are evidence to me that "ex-gay" belongs in quotes. No, I didn't try to change, but I certainly can't say there weren't times I hoped that maybe I'd just grow out of it. I'm glad I finally came to my senses....I'm soooooo much happier now than I was then. Self-acceptance is a beautiful thing.

Posted by: Eric | Aug 11, 2009 11:48:14 PM

Beyond Ex-Gay (http://www.beyondexgay.com/ ) has a narratives section with many first-hand accounts.

Posted by: Sandy | Aug 12, 2009 12:23:37 AM

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