Visions of Daniel

The Ruse of "Ex-gay"


Papers link

On September 20, 2007, Equality Florida sponsored a press conference and rally at the Bell Shoals Baptist Church, Brandon, FL, where a weekend "Family Impact Conference" was meeting. The rally was to express "outrage at their bringing leaders of the nation's anti-gay industry to spew their dehumanizing and dangerous rhetoric in the community." Below is the statement on the ex-gay industry that Daniel made at the press conference.


The only foundation of the ex-gay movement is unwarranted religious belief. The claim is that the Bible forbids homosexuality and that faith in Jesus can change it. Apart from this claim, there would be no need or motivation for the ex-gay movement. Of course, these religious claims are groundless. But people believe what they want.

Yet the ignorant bliss of unthinking religion is a relatively minor matter. In contrast, the ex-gay movement continues to doom the lives of hundreds and thousands of innocents. This brainwashing procedure does not change sexual orientation, and it causes more harm than good.

The proof is in the pudding. There's the poster boy of the ex-gay movement, John Paulk, featured with his "ex-lesbian" wife on the cover of Newsweek in August, 1998, and in September, 2000, spotted in a gay bar, cocktail in hand, in Washington DC. There are Michael Busse and Gary Cooper, founders of Exodus International, the umbrella organization for the ex-gay industry. Declared by Exodus to be among the eleven out of hundreds who were truly changed, Busse and Cooper fell in love and denounced the movement, saying that it had not really changed anyone.

After a certain point, the anecdotal evidence becomes convincing. But there is also hard research evidence supporting the same conclusion. For example, in 2002 Shildo and Schroeder* published a study of 202 people who had been through reorientation therapy. The results? An 87% failure rate! To the good, 10% left the experience as confirmed and confident gays, grateful to have found their truth. But 77% were in far worse straits than before this so-called "therapy": depressed, guilt-ridden, angry, feeling betrayed by religion and alienated from their families, hating God, and unable to accept the gay attraction that they still could not suppress.

Only 13% met the criteria of success. But listen to their breakdown: 6% were still "struggling," that is, they has frequent "slips"; 3% were "not struggling," that is, they comfortably resigned themselves to their need for mind-control techniques to combat their homosexual inclinations. Finally, 4% were, indeed, in functioning heterosexual relationships, but these eight individuals all also admitted that they needed to use those same mind-control techniques. A further consideration is that seven of those eight "ex-gays" were or had been paid "therapists" in the ex-gay movment.

The bottom line is that, in some few cases, four out of a hundred, behavior may have changed, but in no case was the homosexual inclination "cured," "changed," or "miraculously healed."

The ex-gay industry is a ruse; it relies on newspeak. "Ex-gay" means "I don't want to be gay." Walk in the door of one of their offices and on the spot you become "ex-gay." But there exists no credible evidence that the wanting and renaming result in a changing.


*Shildo, A., & Schroeder, M. (2002). Changing sexual orientation: A consumer's report. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 33, 249-259.