Chicago’s Windy City Times interviewed gay activist Wayne Besen on June 2.
Besen’s book about the ex-gay movement, Anything But Straight, was nominated for the Lambda Literary Awards in two categories: LGBT Studies and Spirituality.
The WCT interview asks what Besen hopes to accomplish with the book:
I believe that even conservatives, when they read my book, they will not support these groups. … When people read and see the meat behind it, the real substance, or lack thereof, even a right wing person cannot support these groups. And I actually think it’s backed up by the fact that the [ex-gay] ministries are not supported financially by the groups that advertise them. They put gigantic ads in the USA Today and The New York Times but they give virtually nothing to the [ex-gay ministries] themselves. James Dobson, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell know these groups don’t work, or they would have put millions more into them.
Besen reflects on the people that he met while attending ex-gay groups…
There were many people who were there just because they wanted their car or college payments. They knew it didn’t work. A decent minority were there because of pressure from relatives and lots of times they’d go right to the gay bar from the ministry. … And the ministries count those as successes.
… and on the number of ex-gays in these groups:
They have over a hundred ministries in Exodus. How many people they’ll reach we don’t know because they don’t keep statistics. … It’s impossible for their membership to grow and be sustained.