In early autumn 2000, I joined the PFOX Yahoo group to learn how PFOX parents cope with same-sex orientation in their families. Many of the group members were mothers who were unsuccessfully pressuring their adult children to adopt an exgay identity and ideology.

One parent of a teen-age girl was outraged that another teen-ager had “seduced” her innocent daughter and turned her into a monstrous lesbian. It seemed apparent from the discussion that someone — either the mother or the teen-ager — was doing quite a bit of blame-shifting.

I politely explained to this parent that her daughter was not seduced and was not a victim, but had consciously chosen whatever course of action she took. I explained that her daughter potentially had same-gender attractions before meeting the other teen. Ultimately, I said, the daughter — not a friend — was responsible for her own decisions.

For violating PFOX orthodoxy with that comment, I was swiftly kicked out of the group. To this day — five years later — I am listed on the group’s weekly “prayer” list as “Mike (anti ex-gay).”

I wish to thank PFOX list moderator and vice president Estella Salvatierra for two things.

1. The eviction directly caused me to meet my now-partner Steve. He had been monitoring and briefly engaging the list to better understand the hostility of PFOX parents (mostly mothers) toward their gay or gay-tolerant spouses and children. Steve contacted me via e-mail after the eviction.

2. The PFOX group’s efforts to separate parents from their children — to foster blame, bitterness, miscommunication, and talk of demon possession — inspired the formation of Ex-Gay Watch.

Thank you, Estella. And Merry Christmas.

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