The Washington Blade, Dec. 5, offers a he-said-she-said between gay activist and author Wayne Besen and Exodus spokesman Randy Thomas.
“What I can say is that gender-affirming role modeling is way simplistic. I don’t think that is an elemental part of the ex-gay ministry,” said Thomas of the 125 ex-gay ministries dotting North America.
However, in October, acting on behalf of Exodus and other founding members, the PATH ex-gay movement coalition made “gender-affirming” role modeling a prime objective of the movement — threatening to sue schools that do not promote “traditional” gender roles (men play sports, women wear lipstick) as a means to prevent homosexuality in children.
Thomas and Exodus executive director Alan Chambers have, in the past year, 1) promoted employment discrimination in Orlando, 2) defended sodomy laws in a handful of states, and 3) sought a constitutional amendment to ban not only gay marriage but also gay domestic partnerships nationwide. Yet Thomas blames the media for his public image problem.
“I think what the culture war has done was try to make ex-gays the opposite of the gay community,” Thomas said. “The media and a few people have made us into the perceived enemy. Just because I’m ex-gay doesn’t mean that I haven’t faced discrimination.”
Thomas, who is a “reformed” gay man of 11 years, said that, in fact, he faces more persecution from the gay media than from the straight media. “I think there’s a lot of intolerance in the gay community — because they don’t accept I’m living my life for myself. They think I would rather attack them,” he said.
If Thomas does not intend to attack gay people or their equal rights, then XGW wishes to understand why the Exodus national office committed resources to discrimination and strawman argumentation in 2003 rather than, say, witnessing to Thomas’ joy as an ex-gay man and his love of gay people as children of God.
XGW agrees that he didn’t receive much attention — but neither does anyone else in the for-profit media these days — unless they have something new, provocative, and catchy to say. Something that helps sell media advertising.
Thomas has the option to tell his blog readers what was said but not printed. And readers can judge for themselves whether he made new and original statements worth quoting, or voiced the self-contradictions and overgeneralizations that, in 2003, made Exodus “old news.”