NEWS ADVISORY: For Immediate Release

August 9, 2005


In response to an initiative underway aimed against the spirit of National Coming Out Day, members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender community and their allies are encouraged to organize nationwide screenings of a new documentary film that shines light on some of the personal stories behind the “ex-gay” debate.

Author and activist Wayne Besen, filmmaker Tom Murray, former “ex-gay” participant Shawn O’Donnell and performance artist Peterson Toscano ask LGBT individuals and affirming groups to organize screenings of Fish Can’t Fly throughout the month of October 2005.

“We believe these ‘ex-gay’ survivors’ stories must be heard in order to stop the damage daily perpetuated against LGBT youth and adults, damage done by ministries who dishonestly persuade people that change is possible. Fish Can’t Fly poignantly exposes the pain, confusion, loss and heartache endured by victims of ‘ex-gay’ programs and celebrates the power of coming out,” the organizers said in a joint statement.

Every October 11th, and throughout the month of October, thousands of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people and allies celebrate National Coming Out Day. Workshops, speak-outs, rallies and other kinds of events are held that provide LGBT individuals a time to reflect on and share the coming out experience so as to reinforce the importance of psychological, physical and spiritual health in having all of us be true to ourselves.

In opposition to the positive nature of this event, this October, the antigay group Truth Comes Out Project is organizing screenings of their film, “I Do Exist,” which touts the success of “ex-gay” therapy. The people in the film boldly claim that through participation in “ex-gay” programs, same-gender loving people can change and become heterosexual and that such a lifestyle is the healthiest and most desirable spiritual choice.

“Fish Can’t Fly gives those of us who participated in those ‘ex-gay’ programs and eventually overcame antigay oppression and self-hatred, a chance to tell our stories. I feel grateful that Tom Murray with his insightful and tender eye, allowed us to transparently share the heartache and confusion we suffered. Amazingly he does so with dignity, hope and even humor,” said Peterson Toscano, a former “ex-gay” programs participant for more than 17 years.

Screenings of this 83-minute documentary can range from smaller gatherings with family and friends to more organized community efforts through national organizations, followed by discussion.

For details about the effort, promotional material and information on how to organize an event, please visit the film’s website: and follow the link to Coming Out Project.

For interview information or further details:

Wayne Besen –
Peterson Toscano –
Shawn O’Donnell –
Tom Murray –

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