Author and gay activist Wayne Besen, to Express Gay News, Oct. 6:

Besen concedes that the gay community is partly to blame for the ex-gay phenomenon. “Gays could be more supportive of their own,” Besen said. “Gay bars can be cruel places. They go to the gay bar one night and are treated terribly, and then they go to the ex-gay ministry and are hugged and treated well. The ex-gay people tell the person, ‘You don’t have to go to this smoky, dark place and be treated like shit anymore. In larger communities, people don’t have to go to the bars; in smaller communities, the bars are often the only places to meet other gay people. Many gays also don’t get support from their families.”

Besen said the programs dangle lofty possibilities in the faces of those who will stick it out and stay straight. “They tell you how happy you’re going to be, how you can be married, how your life will change.” Besen said.

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