One year ago next week the gay community, and many straight supporters, were energized by the story of a teenager named Zach who was being sent to Love In Action for reorientation against his wishes.
For weeks the internet was rife with opinions, objections and even skepticism about Zach and his story: LIA claimed that all attendance was voluntary, but then backtracked; the Tennessee state government inspected LIA and found no mistreatment, but also found improper dissemination of prescription drugs and psychiatric care; LIA lost half of their revenues. Some went so far as to claim the whole story was a hoax.
The initial story was broke by the Queer Action Coalition who demonstrated their responsibility by trying to shield Zach’s identity (until his father, Joe Stark, outed him). QAC also held protests outside of LIA in which they demonstrated their loving spirit by insisting that all protestors be positive and show love to the participants rather than hostility to the program. QAC has also requested that Zach not be bothered subsequent to his ordeal, a request that has been mostly respected.
Now QAC has another story, one that was concurrent to Zach’s but which until now has gone unnoticed.
On the day that Zach Stark checked into Love in Action, so did 17 year old Lance Carroll. Lance is now collaborating with Queer Action Coalition to tell his story.
On June 6, 2005 I left Jackson, Missouri at five o’clock in the morning to make the long trip to Memphis, Tennessee. The first things I saw at the Love in Action campus were the protesters. That morning began my summer as a participant in the Love in Action Refuge program.
We look forward to hearing more from Lance as the week approaching his one year anniversary at LIA approaches and as QAC makes plans for an anniversary protest.
(thanks to Wayne for the tip)