A press release follows from Queer Action Coalition, Memphis, Tennessee.

The unidentified teenager will appear at 3 p.m. today outside a hearing between the unlicensed exgay live-in treatment facility Love In Action and the State of Tennessee.

LOVE IN ACTION, the Memphis-based fundamentalist Christian program which describes homosexuality as “a masterful deception from the enemy”1, has recently launched a campaign targeted specifically at converting youth to their agenda2. Their youth program, Refuge, attempts to convert homosexual youth, a process which leading medical associations warn has disastrous affects, “including depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior.”3 The group came under fire over the past year, after a Bartlett teenager revealed via weblog that his parents were forcing him into the program against his will. This cry for help led to international media attention, and daily protests outside the facility, organized by the Queer Action Coalition (QAC).

For the first time since the controversy began, a teenager who was coerced into Refuge will speak out about his experiences in the program. The teenager will be in Memphis on Friday, February 3 at 3 p.m. in front of the Federal Courthouse, as Love In Action awaits a judge’s decision in a “Motion to Dismiss/Preliminary Injunction” hearing – Love In Action International, Inc. v. Phil Bredesen, et al.

The teen will tell his story, and answer questions about his traumatic stay at Love In Action, including his eventual escape from Memphis, and the legal battle that awarded him with the promise of never being forced into the program again.

It is QAC’s concern that Love In Action is actively targeting youth, and their parents, with an agenda that promotes pervasive myths, and empty, biased stereotypes in an attempt to stimulate a notion of fear and shame. As concerned citizens, we feel the negative views held by the program endanger the well being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people on a daily basis; people who already face prejudice and hatred which often leads to emotional and physical abuse. Furthermore, we believe that no one should be coerced into any “treatments” for homosexuality, especially with all major mental health associations clearly outlining the danger of such “therapy”.

1. The Fountain of Youth, by Rev. John Smid, 1999.
2. Understanding Homosexuality As A Young Adult, by Love In Action (PDF document).
3. American Psychiatric Association.

Queer Action Coalition
Phone:Morgan Jon Fox, (901) 335-3740
Email: fighting.homophobia@gmail.com
Web: www.fightinghomophobia.blogspot.com

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