Ex-Gay Watch essentially ended operations in 2015. Exodus International, the main ex-gay organization at the time, had shut down. Its principals accepted that their homosexuality was not incompatible with their faith and moved on with their lives. Many other ex-gay organizations followed suit. The allure of the ex-gay movement had faded. Then came Obergefell which struck at the heart of the reason why evangelical political groups financially supported ex-gay ministries.
Indeed, the anti-gay actors entered a lull, which, in retrospect, gave us a false sense of complacency. Those who profited from the fear and prejudice of parents have since regrouped. They are now much more shrewd and sophisticated, rebranding and restructuring for a new challenge. Some of the old players are still around, unchanged, clinging to the past.
In our defense, who could have predicted the significant backward shift our country, and the world, has taken? Throughout my life, I have witnessed varying degrees of change in our society. Sometimes it was good, sometimes bad, but the arc of change, to paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr., always moved forward. I had grown accustomed to this as if it were a law of nature – things always improve and become more just over time. The events of the last few years challenge this belief.
Ex-Gay Watch was something I was proud to be part of. We aimed to state as fact only that which we could support with evidence. We strived to be sensitive, or at least neutral, to the religious beliefs of others. Many of our readers were Christians, and their beliefs surrounding their faith and homosexuality, perhaps even their own sexuality, were in flux. We did not want unnecessary posturing over religion, even if sometimes well-deserved, to interfere with that process.
Above all, we aimed to create a civil environment for discussion. This is not always an easy task! However, we did end up with a group of intelligent, thoughtful writers who each found their own niche and covered it passionately. We attracted smart commenters who regularly expanded on our writing, challenging us to think along new lines. They came from both ends of the spectrum and mostly acted with respect for one another. All of this was in service to exposing those who held out the false hope of change.
Only those same people can say to what degree we succeeded in these goals. It has been a decade, so who knows where they are, but I’m betting there are still some out there who might be interested in round two. I also suspect there are new people who would be willing to help us with the next chapter. The ex-gay industry, or what it has become, needs a watchdog. With your help, we will do what it takes to bring their activities to light again.
Note: We will be giving the site a much needed upgrade soon so please don’t judge us too harshly on that. The current mobile version is awful. More on that shortly.