Monday, November 15, 2010

Ex-gay Q&A








November 13, 2010

Ex-Gay Q&A 

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) supports the ex-gay community and families.  We hope the below PFOX Q&A will clarify issues.

Aren't some people born gay?


We have all heard of individuals who entered homosexuality later in life after marrying and having children with an opposite-sex spouse.  No scientific evidence has established a genetic cause for homosexuality or found a "gay gene."  There is no DNA or medical test to determine if a person is homosexual.  Sexual orientation is a matter of self-affirmation and public declaration.  "Gay" is a self-chosen identity.  According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are no replicated scientific studies to support that people can be born "gay" or that homosexuality is innate.


According to the American Psychological Association, "[a]lthough much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors." [2008]

Who are ex-gays?

Each year thousands of men and women with unwanted same-sex attractions make the personal decision to leave homosexuality via secular therapy, Homosexuals Anonymous support groups, faith based ministries, and other non-judgmental environments.  Their decision is one only they can make.  However, there are others in society who refuse to respect individual self-determination.  Consequently, formerly gay men and women are reviled simply because they dare to exist.  Without PFOX, former homosexuals would have no voice in an increasingly hostile environment. 

Do gay activists oppose the efforts of PFOX to protect the equal rights of ex-gays


They shouldn't.  Although gay organizations advocate for the rights of homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders, transsexuals, the intersexed, and questioning youth, they do not add 'ex-gay' to that list.  Yet the addition of ex-gays ensures tolerance for all segments of our society. 


Many ex-gays are afraid to come out of the closet because of the harassment they will receive.  The tactics of gay activists are to go after anyone who comes out publicly as ex-gay, force them back into the closet, and then claim that ex-gays don't exist because there aren't any out in public.  For example, see:

PFOX is not an anti-gay organization - we are a pro-ex-gay organization.  All people should be treated with dignity.  We respect the opinions of others, even if they disagree with us. Indeed, we do not ask for their approval - only their tolerance. 


What is the ex-gay movement?


Former homosexuals are the last invisible minority group in America.  The ex-gay movement is a civil rights movement to ensure the safety and inclusion of former homosexuals in all realms of society, and supports the ex-gay community's equal access to all public venues.  Ex-gays and their supporters should not have to be closeted for fear of other's negative reactions or disapproval.  They do not think something is wrong with them because they decided to fulfill their heterosexual potential.  Nor do they believe others should condemn them for the personal decision they have made for their lives.  Full diversity must include the ex-gay community.

What are some of the discriminatory actions against ex-gays?

Due to media indifference, many Americans are unaware of the widespread intolerance practiced against those who leave homosexuality: 


  • Unlike gay groups, ex-gay groups like PFOX are routinely denied equal access to participate in public school events, donate books to public school libraries, and present speakers on diversity day.
  • Transgenders and cross-dressers are affirmed for changing their gender but former homosexuals are ridiculed for making the decision to change their sexual orientation.
  • Ex-gay conferences and seminars across the country are frequently picketed by anti-ex-gay protestors like PFLAG, a parents organization run by a gay activist, and Soulforce, a homosexual religious organization. 
  • Presidential candidate Barack Obama was criticized by gay activists for allowing ex-gay gospel singer Donnie McClurkin to sing at a fundraiser.  They insisted that Obama drop the African-American singer from the program.  Gay singers did not receive this treatment.
  • Washington DC Mayor Adrian Fenty was forced to apologize for issuing a certificate of appreciation to an ex-gay civil rights leader after receiving complaints from the gay lobby.  In signing gay marriage legislation for the nation's capital, Fenty had promised equality for all DC residents.
  • Equality Virginia demanded that Washington DC Metro remove PFOX's subway billboards advocating tolerance for ex-gays. 
  • An ex-gay volunteer staffing PFOX's exhibit booth at the Arlington County, Virginia Fair was physically assaulted because he refused to recant his ex-gay testimony.  Wayne Besen, a former spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, falsely reported that the assault had never occurred. 
  • After speaking at an ex-gay conference, Michelle McKinney-Hammond lost her programming on a broadcast station because Besen made good on his threat to complain to the station about speakers making appearances at ex-gay events.
  • Bash Back!, a gay group that retaliates against heterosexuals who vote against genderless marriage, can be seen in this video screaming and chanting against an ex-gay meeting held at a Boston church  --   This incident is cited in a federal complaint filed against Bash Back for intimidation - see paragraph 68 of the legal filing at
  • After writing a letter her local newspaper as a concerned citizen, Crystal Dixon was terminated from her job as an Associate Vice President of Human Resources for Toledo University.  An African-American, Dixon challenged the civil rights comparison of race with homosexual behavior.  Dixon's letter also revealed that some gay people have overcome unwanted homosexual feelings, as evidenced by the growing popularity of PFOX and other ex-gay organizations. 

This irrational phobia of those who have overcome unwanted same-sex attractions perpetuates misunderstanding and harm against the ex-gay community.  It also demonstrates a disregard for diversity and a refusal to respect a basic human right to dignity and self-determination.

 Why do gays hate ex-gays so much?


Gay activist organizations instruct their members to reject ex-gays and homosexuals who refuse to self-identify as "gay."  This rejection is a form of heterophobia that can be overcome with education and outreach.  Gay activists cannot claim sympathy as victims when they victimize their own.  We should all be tolerant of each other regardless of our sexual orientation.  Homosexuality has multiple causes and people have experienced it differently in their lives.  If a gay person's sense of well-being is dependent on all other people with same-sex attractions having had the same experience that they did, then that person is in a dangerous place.  In fact, this is what has caused persecution of ex-gays.


The demonization of ex-gays by gays themselves is a sad end to the long struggle for tolerance by the gay community.  That ex-gays and their supporters are now oppressed by the same people who until recently were victimized themselves, demonstrates how far the gay rights movement has come.  Indeed, a new chapter in the movement has begun - the right of homosexuals and lesbians to leave unwanted homosexuality. 

Why would anyone choose to leave homosexuality when there is so much discrimination against the ex-gay community?


Because of the abuse heaped upon them by society, former homosexuals experience discrimination at every level.  When a former homosexual marries an opposite sex partner, that ex-gay is ridiculed by former friends.  Ex-gays find heterosexuals also reject them if their past is known because "Once gay, always gay" is assumed.  While gays can come out of the "closet," ex-gays are forced to stay in theirs because of public prejudice.  While gays gain sympathy as victims, ex-gays are criticized and face life-long intolerance for simply existing as living proof that homosexuality is not innate.  Americans need to face the real issue of bigotry -- oppression of ex-gays. 

I'm happy being gay, so why should gays change their sexual orientation?

Change is only for those with unwanted same-sex attractions.  What makes you happy may not make someone else happy because we are all individuals.  Please respect other people's decisions for their lives.  Ex-gays can testify to the fact that those with unwanted homosexuality deserve the right to self-determination and happiness based on their own needs, and not the needs of others.  According to the American Psychological Association, "[m]ental health organizations call on their members to respect a person's right to self-determination." (2008) 


Do I have to dislike ex-gays if I have gay friends or family?


No!  You can have friends who are gay and other friends who are ex-gay.  Befriending the ex-gay community does not mean that you are being disloyal to the gay people you know and love. 


What about gay teens and suicide that I've heard about?


Research shows that the risk of suicide decreases by 20% for each year that a person delays homosexual or bisexual self-labeling.  Suicide attempts were not explained by experiences with discrimination, violence, loss of friendship, or current personal attitudes towards homosexuality. (Source: Risk Factors for Attempted Suicide in Gay and Bisexual Youth byRemafedi, Farrow, and Deisher, in Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Pediatrics 87: 869-875 June 1991.) 


Schools should not encourage teens to self-identify as "gay" before they have matured.  During adolescence, sexual attractions are fluid and do not take on permanence until early adulthood.  Rather than affirming teenagers as "gay" through self-labeling, educators should affirm them as people worthy of respect and encourage teens to wait until adulthood before making choices about their sexuality.  If teens are encouraged to believe that they are permanently "gay" before they have had a chance to reach adulthood, their life choices are severely restricted and can result in depression.  Once a child self-identifies as "gay," he or she is stuck with that label because gay activists and other heterophobic influences refuse to acknowledge that an individual can leave homosexuality. 


Suicide and suicidal behavior are not normal responses to stress. Research also shows that the risk for suicide is associated with changes in brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, including serotonin.


Why should schools present ex-gay information?


Schools that address the issue of sexual orientation must present all of the facts in a fair and balanced manner.  According to Public Schools and Sexual Orientation Consensus Guidelines, school officials are urged to include the viewpoints of all participants, including ex-gays and their supporters, in order to develop policies that promote fairness for all.  Actions by educators to exclude some views merely because they disagree with them constitute viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.  Therefore, the ex-gay viewpoint in public schools is protected by the First Amendment and should be heard.  These guidelines are endorsed by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), American Association of School Administrators, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the First Amendment Center. In addition, the National Educators Association (NEA) Ex-Gay Educators Caucus endorses ex-gay equal access to schools. 


How do sexual orientation laws and hate crime policies discriminate against ex-gays?

Ex-gays are subject to an increasingly hostile environment where they are labeled as perpetrators of hate and discrimination against homosexuals simply because they advocate for or live out a different view of homosexuality. 

Gay activists have created an environment where anyone who does not accept homosexuality as equivalent to heterosexuality in every way is labeled a "bigot" whose attitude equates to racism.  Consequently, alternatives to homosexuality are interpreted as harassment "against" gays.  Sexual orientation non-discrimination laws and hate crime policies are used to silence the ex-gay community and legitimize intolerance against former homosexuals.  Fighting "hate" and "discrimination" against gays has become a euphemism for attacks against ex-gays and their supporters.  For example:

  • Davis Ott of Madison, Wisconsin was charged with a hate crime because he stated his own experience as a former homosexual.
  • The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Educational Network (GLSEN) distributed a booklet to every public school superintendent accusing former homosexuals of "harassment" because ex-gay groups want the same access to public schools that gay groups currently enjoy. 
  • Cornelius Baker, executive director of the Whitman Walker AIDS clinic, labeled ex-gays as "political extremists" who "tortured and brainwashed" teens, although he endorses gay outreach to questioning youth.
  • After receiving "threats, insults and brutal letters" for running an advertisement for an ex-gay book, Psychology Today editor Bob Epstein acknowledged the "dark, intolerant, abusive side of the gay community." 
  • Orlando Commissioner Patty Sheehan denounced  her fellow commissioner for issuing a proclamation honoring an ex-gay organization even though she herself freely makes proclamations celebrating "Gay Days" every year at Disney World.  Ms. Sheehan, an open lesbian, went so far as to compare the ex-gay organization to the KKK, thereby demeaning African-American ex-gays. 
  • Former Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Wayne Besen demanded that New Jersey Family First fire employee Greg Quinlan because he spoke about overcoming his homosexuality in a radio interview and the fact that there is no DNA for homosexual behavior.    

Former homosexual men and women, as well as their friends and family, feel threatened because they are subjected to a hostile environment if they publicly claim their former homosexuality or support of the ex-gay community.  Courageous men and women who have left their gay identity must not be denied their Constitutional rights.  To give sexual orientation protection to one group while excluding another is outright discrimination. 

Why must ex-gays be included in sexual orientation topics?

Ex-gays must be included in the formation of public policy because we have much to contribute to the understanding of sexual orientation.  Without testimony from all sectors of society, public policy on this issue is seriously flawed. 

What is PFOX?

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) is a national non-profit organization that supports families and educates the public on sexual orientation & the ex-gay community.  PFOX's statement of principles is found at

PFOX supports an inclusive environment for the ex-gay community, and works to eliminate negative perceptions and discrimination against former homosexuals.  PFOX conducts public education and outreach to further individual self-determination and respect for all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation.  Please join us in our journey for truth, tolerance, and understanding. 

Who are PFOX families?

PFOX families love their homosexual child unconditionally.  Unlike other organizations which insist that parental love is conditional on affirming homosexual behavior, there are no conditions on our love for our children.  We do not have to approve of everything our children do.  Blanket approval is not responsible parenting or love.  True love is loving in spite of our differences and treating each other with kindness and respect. 


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PFOX is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization. All donations to PFOX are tax deductible for IRS purposes.






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