Corrected to reflect Nick Cavnar’s biographical details.
Truth Wins Out launched today with a press event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Here are Ex-Gay Watch photographs of the event, along with links to other web pages about each individual.
Truth Wins Out executive director Wayne Besen later released a statement describing the event and profiling each speaker.
All photos by Ex-Gay Watch except for the photo of Lance Carroll, which is reprinted courtesy of Truth Wins Out.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 7, 2006
Contact: Wayne Besen
NEW ORGANIZATION LAUNCHES TO BATTLE RIGHT-WING LIES AND ‘EX-GAY’ MINISTRIES
Truth Wins Out Launch Features Teen Victim Of ‘Ex-Gay’ Boot Camp
WASHINGTON – A new group that will battle so-called “ex-gay” programs held a press conference today highlighting the stories of “ex-gay” victims the same week President Bush stood beside a leader of an ex-gay ministry inside the White House.
On Tuesday, Bush included Alan Chambers, the leader of Exodus International, in his press conference endorsing a the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would rewrite the U.S. Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage.
“With the president embracing the leader of the ex-gay ministries, there has never been a more crucial time to expose the faith-based folly of these harmful programs,” Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director, Wayne Been, said today at the National Press Club.
The event featured Lance Carroll, 18, forced to attend an “ex-gay” boot camp in Tennessee after he came out to his parents. Carroll relayed his negative experience in this program and stated that none of his fellow ex-gay attendees had actually changed.
“While I was there, it just seemed to make people more depressed and self-loathing than they already were,” explained Carroll. “I went through several of these depressive periods.”
Besen said that he felt it was the right time to launch TWO because ex-gays are already in the White House and are now trying to get into public schools.
“Ex-gay groups have teamed up with Rev. Jerry Falwell’s lawyers to sue schools that do not include so-called ‘ex-gays’ in Diversity Day seminars,” explained Besen. “We can’t sit by while these right wing extremists put children at great risk. TWO will be on the front lines ensuring that students will not be indoctrinated with false and damaging lies.”
Dr. Stuart Sotsky, MD, spoke at the press conference about how all respected mental health organizations call “conversion therapy” a dangerous practice. Sotsky is a clinical professor at George Washington University Medical School.
Nick Cavnar was married for 26 years, struggling with his sexuality in an ex-gay program in Michigan. He also was the editor of New Covenant, the official magazine for The Word of God religious community in Michigan, where his own ex-gay testimony appeared in 1981. At age 50, he came out of the closet and is now is in a three-year relationship with his partner.
Susan Stanskas discussed how she originally bought into right-wing promises when her son came out, nearly splitting apart her family. Having eventually seen through the right’s deceit, she now has a close relationship with her son and is an advocate for gay and lesbian rights.
Scott Melendez talked about his experience in Homosexuals Anonymous while living in Phoenix. He said he left the program after it was clear none of the leaders had been “healed” after many years of struggle. The leader of that group, Colin Cook, resigned for having sex with his clients.
Mark Perriello discussed his involvement with an Exodus ministry in Boston. “Nobody wanted to be straight more than I did and it just didn’t work,” he said at TWO’s press event. Perriello came out after he saw that the ex-gay ministries were ineffective and harmed a great many people.
TWO is an organization that combats right wing misinformation campaigns, exposes the ex-gay myth and educates America about GLBT life.
Robert Knight (right) of Concerned Women for America attended the TWO launch event with two associates.