Tuesday, October 15, 2013

First Ex-Gay Dinner Celebrated

Ex-gays and their friends celebrated the First Ex-Gay Dinner in honor of September’s Ex-Gay Awareness Month.  Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) started off the event by introducing the speakers:

Douglas McIntyre of Homosexuals Anonymous spoke about how far the ex-gay community has come -- “Having lunch on Capitol Hill today with many individuals that have shared the same experiences as I, reminded me that we’ve come a long way. When I was boy, not only was I unable to tell anyone what I was going through [experiencing unwanted homosexual feelings] but there was no place to go. No safe group or organization helping people like me. Today, I’m surrounded by friends . . . it’s a day to celebrate what God has done,” said McIntyre.
Greg Quinlan of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) spoke about ex-gay awareness -- “I speak out about my experiences because of what I’ve seen. When I was in the gay lifestyle, I buried 100 of my gay friends who died of AIDS before I stopped counting. My friends would ask me: ‘Greg, would you please read this scripture at my funeral? Would you tell my son I love him and why daddy couldn’t be with him? Would you pray for me and ask God to forgive me?’ After suffering through so much heartbreak, pain, and death around me, I made a choice to come out of homosexuality and I haven’t looked back, and I will continue to speak out so that others can know that I have seen the change. I have to speak of these things. It is my obligation to do that!” Citing Acts of the Apostles, Quinlan proclaimed his Christian duty to preach the good news, “I will continue to declare that ex-gay is ok, you can change!”

Attorney Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel was given the Ex-Gay Freedom Pride award for his work in defending individuals seeking therapy for unwanted same-sex sexual attractions.  In accepting the award, Staver said, “It makes absolutely no sense that someone’s right of self-determination be infringed upon in the counseling office, especially when it threatens our fundamental liberties of speech and religion.”  Staver spoke about teenage boys who have benefited from counseling for unwanted homosexual attractions.  Many “began to cut themselves, hate themselves, question who they are, and their relations with family and friends became fractured. After beginning counseling, however, their self-esteem improved, their same-sex attractions decreased, and their friendships improved.”

Another award was presented to self-described former “satanic drag queen,” Trace McNutt, who was the recipient of the Courage Award for Former Homosexuals. “Unlike many of the people you have heard speak tonight, I still struggle with same-sex attraction. But one thing I know for sure – through the support of the church and Christian community, who have loved me unconditionally, my heart has been changed forever. I stand before you a sinner saved by grace, and I am humbled and honored to receive this award. This award is not for me, but for Jesus Christ who lives in me,” said McNutt. “I know that through God, all things are possible.” Watch Trace’s riveting story at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eosYfCAJJio&feature=youtu.be.
Christopher Doyle of Voice of the Voiceless expressed the need to create safe places for youth who are struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction -- “We have to find a way to minister to people of faith – young people especially – and allow them to struggle just as we allow other non-SSA young people to struggle as they mature. How many of you have children in their 20s and 30s who continue to struggle with problems in their lives that keep them from reaching their full potential?  You love those kids and continue to love them even as they struggle . . . we, people of faith, need to celebrate those young people and mentor them as the mature. We need to provide welcoming places for them – not to endorse their behavior – but to see their potential and look beyond their behavior and into their hearts.” Doyle challenged the audience to invest into young people if they want to see a change in the culture war on homosexuality.

Dennis Jernigan sang the new Ex-Gay Anthem, “Rise Up,” a song “from God’s perspective toward us” as based on scripture from Psalm 32:7 and Zephaniah 3:17. “It is true. I once identified as homosexual. Through an encounter with Jesus Christ, I was given a brand new identity. I am tired of feeling like I have to be quiet about it in today’s culture. My story is my story…and the more I share it, the more I find a great number of men and women who once thought they were homosexual as well. It is time to rise up and declare who and whose we are,” said Jernigan.  Dennis attended the dinner with his wife Melinda, and are the proud parents of nine children. See Dennis Jernigan perform Rise Up, the ex-gay anthem, and be inspired: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jExF1U_ZXm4&feature=youtu.be

The evening ended with a keynote address by Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland and chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition.  Bishop Jackson encouraged the ex-gay community to declare passionately, “I’m going to live as a transformed ex-gay and I don’t care who doesn’t like it!”

Thanks to all of our supporters who attended the Ex-Gay Dinner or donated to make the evening possible.  We could not have done it without you!  Your gift does make a difference.  See you at next year’s dinner!


Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) is the nation’s leading advocacy organization for love, support, and positive life change for the ex-gay community, their families, and individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions. Donate to PFOX at http://pfox.org/donate.html

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