I have long suspected that the primary motivation behind the championing of the ex-gay movement by religious conservative groups has more to do with justification of anti-gay discrimination than it has to do with concern for same-sex attracted individuals.
This agenda appears to be evident in the positions taken by Exodus and many other “ex-gay leaders”. While they consistently claim sympathy with “those stuggling” or “those who choose to leave the homosexual lifestyle,” they show no interest in those who do not make that choice. Take for example this sentence from Randy Thomas about Christians and same-sex attracted persons in Iran: “I pray that those who want to find Christ will and those who want to overcome homosexuality will be allowed their right to self-determine that path for their lives as well.” You’ll notice who is not included in the right to self-determinatation of their lives.
In an effort to appear less intolerant, PFOX often claims that they “do not encourage change among homosexuals who are comfortable with their identity.” Of course this claim is a little difficult for us to believe, considering the extent to which they make claims about “health risks.”
On April 19, The Breeze, the student newspaper of James Madison University, published an article about PFOX and Liberty Counsel’s campaign to tell school children that “change is possible”. In it, Rena Lindevaldsen, senior litigation counsel for Liberty Counsel, made a statement that confirms my suspicions and the motivation behind this campaign:
“If you want to change, you can,” she said.
In other words, if you are gay, you are to blame. And therefore anything done to you is justified. Because you didn’t want to change.
Behind every smiling face on their little brochure is this same underlying position – anything dehumanizing, unfair or cruel done to those who are “in the homosexual lifestyle” is justified. Because if they wanted to change, they could.
Their message is not only gives a false hope to some poor kid that wants to be attracted to the opposite sex, but it demands that he blame himself for his same-sex attraction. And worse, it recruits him to join a campaign against the equality under law of people just like himself.
And all based on the lie that if he just wanted it enough he would become heterosexual.