Activist/author Wayne Besen today criticized a new exgay book, “Closing the Closet: Testimonies of Deliverance from Homosexuality.”

The book, edited by pastor Talbert W. Swan II, includes a foreword by exgay religious activist D.L. Foster and an afterword by antigay doctor John R. Diggs Jr., M.D. (Google search).

From the book description:

The purpose of the book will be not to just inform the public at large about their testimonies, but to hopefully let the world see first hand, from the mouths of people that lived the homosexual lifestyle, that homosexuality is not an immutable trait and that through the power of God, anyone can be delivered from homosexuality.

Features exgay profiles of:
Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International
Dottie Ludwig, executive director of Eagle’s Wings Ministry
Tom Cole, executive director of Living Hope Ministries
Alan Medinger, former executive director of Exodus International
Stephen Bennett, Christian songwriter and recording artist
Mike Haley, Focus on the Family
Steve Rooks, dancer and professor at Vassar College

Comments on science by:
Sue Bohlin
Warren Throckmorton

Activist/author Wayne Besen responds:


Gov. James McGreevey and Rep. Ed Schrock Scandals Show the Closet Destroys Families, Says Besen

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Activist Wayne Besen today condemned a new book by right-wing ministers that urges gay people to go straight — and straight back into the closet. “Closing the Closet: Testimonies from Deliverance from Homosexuality” features stories from 23 “ex-gays” who said they prayed away the gay.

The recent coming out of married New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey, D-N.J., and the resignation of married right-wing Rep. Ed Schrock, R-Va., after he was revealed to be gay, shows that this misleading book is mean-spirited and anti-family, says Besen.

“The families of James McGreevey and Ed Schrock know that the closet leads only to pain, suffering, shattered lives and broken homes,” said Wayne Besen, author of Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth. “It is terribly cruel and irresponsible for these ‘Closet Assistance Programs’ to trick people into believing change is possible when it is not. How many families will have to be destroyed before they stop promoting this devastating, politically-motivated gimmickry?”

Besen was also highly skeptical of the book because of its reliance on recycled ‘ex-gays’ who are on the dole of right wing political groups or make their living by sharing their testimony.

“Why did this book use a number of ex-gay lobbyists who get paid to say they’ve changed?” asked Besen. “It must be very difficult to find ex-gays who have normal jobs and normal lives and aren’t professional flacks for right wing political groups. I question whether ex-gays who are independent of fundamentalist political groups actually exist.”

“Closing the Closet” is a knock-off of a booklet of ex-ex-gay testimonials Besen edited for the Human Rights Campaign, “Finally Free: How Love And Self Acceptance Saved Us From the Ex-Gay Ministries.”

“I am horrified that this book pilfered ‘Finally Free’ and twisted the original idea to support ex-gay propaganda,” said Besen. “The only thing honest about this book is the title, which reveals its true agenda of sending gay people back in the closet.”

More information on the ex-gay myth can be found at,

Monday, Sept. 6, 2004

Contact: Wayne Besen
Mobile: 917-691-5118

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