More than two in three respondents to the online questions about safety, health, education and work said they avoided holding hands with their partner in public, fearing a negative reaction. Almost one in four said they experienced a negative reaction from colleagues due to their sexuality.
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The government said it would look into banning the "abhorrent practice" of conversion therapy to "cure" people of homosexuality, which 2 percent of respondents said they had undergone. Another 5 percent had been offered it. The Church of England welcomed the move, saying the practice "is unethical, potentially harmful and has no place in the modern world".
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Such treatment - often in religious settings - can involve psychoanalysis, injections and electric shocks. The United Nations said last month it wanted a global ban on the invasive therapy based on the idea that homosexuality is a mental disorder or medical condition. While the practice has been widely discredited, only Brazil, Ecuador and Malta have nationwide bans, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.
Attitudes have changed, but there are still pockets of society where we're far from safe". As part of its action plan, the government will appoint a national LGBT health adviser and set aside 4.
Ex-gay ministries began as redoubts for men and women trying to reconcile their faith and sexuality. But in the hands of the anti-gay Christian Right, they have become full-fledged propaganda machines depicting gays as sex-addicted, mentally ill, and stunted heterosexuals. Focus on the Family, the largest and wealthiest Christian Right organization in the country, now invites Smid to appear several times a year on an ex-gay lecture circuit called Love Won Out, where he speaks on masturbation and "healing homosexuality.
Residential ex-gay treatment centers like LIA was in the s are still rare. There are currently just three in America — one in northern California, one in Kansas and one in Kentucky. But ex-gay "ministries" like Refuge are numerous. There are at least such programs among the country's churches, religious counseling centers and religious college campuses. Smid serves on the board of Exodus International, an umbrella group representing ex-gay ministries in 17 different countries. Most of the people who run ex-gay ministries are not hatemongers and see their activities as a labor of love and compassion.
But in recent years, the ex-gay movement has been co-opted by virulently anti-gay groups who routinely refer to homosexuality as an evil force that threatens to destroy America. These groups increasingly are hiring ex-gay activists as spokesmen, funding ex-gay research and establishing ex-gay ministries.
Focus on the Family , based in Colorado Springs, Colo. In Lynchburg, Va. Separately, the AFA employs anti-gay junk science to claim that gays die very early and are far more likely to molest children than heterosexuals. These claims, made by propagandist hatemongers like Paul Cameron of the Family Values Institute, are completely false and have been discredited numerous times by legitimate scientists.
Leaders of Watchmen on the Walls , an international anti-gay group that blames the Nazi Holocaust on homosexuals, tell audiences that "one of the most important things you can do is start an ex-gay movement here. Reparative or sexual reorientation therapy, the pseudo-scientific foundation of the ex-gay movement, has been discredited by virtually all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological and professional counseling organizations. The American Psychological Association, for instance, declared in "There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed.
Jim Burroway, who runs Box Turtle Bulletin, a website that tracks the ex-gay movement, says a key theme in ex-gay ideology is the idea that "there's no such thing as gay. Sexual brokenness, according to ex-gay doctrine, usually occurs early in childhood, the result of an overbearing mother, an emotionally distant father, or sexual abuse. Focus on the Family ex-gay lecturers routinely and flatly declare that all gays and lesbians are victims of childhood sexual abuse. About the only time the word "gay" appears in the ex-gay lexicon is in the phrase "gay lifestyle," which is largely seen as describing a hedonistic mix of one-night stands and sexually transmitted diseases that culminates in early death or abandonment when youthful beauty fades.
The ex-gay movement has little language to describe the real world in which lesbians and gays hold elected office, appear on TV shows and raise families. At best, people like U. Barney Frank D-Mass.
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Churches that accept gays are branded "false churches. Still, even many ex-gay proponents admit that total conversion to heterosexuality is at best an elusive goal. God alone determines whether a former homosexual person is to marry and rear a family, or if he or she is to remain celibate, serving the Lord with his whole heart.
Exodus has over evangelical ministries throughout the U. Most of the ministries are locally run but remain under the Exodus umbrella. A few of them target Latinos and African Americans, as well as the deaf. In the U. Despite that, Exodus ministries seem to have as many approaches to ex-gay work as they do regions. Exodus makes referrals to ministries like Living Waters, a popular neo-Pentecostal ex-gay program that treats homosexuality as a spirit that can be induced by "ancestor sin" and pushed out through exorcism.
He says he was also told to keep "certain boundaries in your friendship, never connecting with someone emotionally because you might fall in love with them. During his time with an ex-gay ministry, Toscano said a pastor had him fast for a week at a time. Secular ex-gay therapies, even if less physically demanding, are no less bizarre. On Ex-Gay Watch, a watchdog website, a woman named Pamela Ferguson describes the reparative therapy her ex-husband underwent as a last-ditch attempt to save their marriage.
After a week or two of this, [he supposedly] would be suddenly and inexplicably inflamed with desire for me. At "ex-gay barbecues" held at her house, Ferguson says she met several men who said they were asked to measure their penises and report the results to their group. All of them refused.
The longtime president of NARTH is Joseph Nicolosi, a licensed psychotherapist who teaches that any man who thinks he's gay simply "has failed to enact his masculinity. NARTH was founded by Charles Socarides, whose openly gay son later served in the Clinton administration as the first-ever liaison to the gay community. One of Nicolosi's own former ex-gay patients, Daniel Gonzales, said most of his therapy sessions took place over the telephone. He says he quit the therapy after realizing that "I would have to do these mental gymnastics for the rest of my life.
At one ministry that he attended undercover, gay men were instructed to keep rubber bands on their wrist and snap them any time they felt themselves "watching someone erotically or engaging in fantasy. Emphasis on the alleged link between masturbation and homosexuality is widespread in ex-gay therapy.
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Exodus board member and family therapist Jayson Graves, for instance, teaches on his call-in radio show that masturbation is a gateway to "same-sex attraction" because "it is a form of sex with yourself. When Moms Go Bad One of the most controversial ex-gay therapy techniques is "healing touch," which involves men striving to become ex-gay cradling and rocking other men in their arms.
After his disastrous TV appearances, both Exodus and NARTH scrubbed any mention of Cohen from their websites and released statements publicly disavowing healing touch therapy. Yet both organizations continue to promote healing touch through a program called Journey Into Manhood, whose leaders are featured at Exodus conferences and highlighted on NARTH's website. Journey Into Manhood is a nominally secular program founded by Catholic, Jewish and Mormon counselors.
The counselors operate weekend outdoors retreats throughout the country that require men to bond with one another through wilderness adventures and holding each other in "non-sexual healing touch.
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Alex Liberato went through 10 weeks of the Journey Into Manhood curriculum after he was outed as a gay man while a student at highly conservative Brigham Young University in Utah. Much of the curriculum centered on recovering early child-parent memories. But men were also required to hold one another. The thought of spending a concluding weekend in the Utah wilderness, having to uncomfortably touch and be touched by male strangers repulsed him. He says he was made to understand that nudity might also be involved.
I just got [back] in my car and drove off," said Liberato. Just this September, Texas ex-gay therapist Chris Austin was convicted of two counts of felony sexual assault on a patient and sentenced to 10 years in prison. The charges were based on a complaint filed by Mark Hufford, a client of Austin's for over a year. Hufford testified that Austin held healing touch sessions that progressed to include nude massage and oral sex.
Hufford originally sought treatment while married to a woman but has since accepted his gay identity, divorced and begun dating a man. Arousing the Extremists In the late s, the most powerful anti-gay groups of the evangelical right underwent their own version of ex-gay therapy.
It was an unlikely conversion — most churches at the time held ex-gay ministries at arm's length, with their noses pinched. While many preached that homosexuality was a sinful choice, few wanted the stigma or controversy of hosting an ex-gay ministry. The program's director told Erzen: "Initially, all our opposition came from the Christian community, rather than the gay community.
Actually, it only took about 20 years. In , two dozen of the country's leading Christian Right groups convened in Colorado Springs, Colo. Folger spelled out the new strategy in an NPR interview, saying, "That ex-gays exist shatters the foundation of the homosexual movement. Regardless, Truth in Love officials maintained that their message was one of hope and compassion. Initially, ex-gay therapists and ministers were elated at the money and attention from the wealthy and powerful Christ Right groups that had shunned them for decades.
Cohn, the rabid anti-communist who persecuted homosexuals before dying in from complications of AIDS — lobbied to keep anti-sodomy laws from being repealed in Louisiana. But Falzarano quickly realized that the new money infusion was really for lobbying against gay rights rather than expanding ex-gay ministries. Before the year was out, he had called a press conference to denounce anti-gay leaders. The group's goals have as much to do with transforming public schools as they do with changing people's sexual identities. PFOX lost the suit but continues to distribute ex-gay literature in Maryland schools.
Exodus, which for decades had been an apolitical ministry, has transformed itself into a lobbying apparatus seemingly at odds with its nonprofit status as a ministry. Since her hire, Exodus says it has met with 55 national lawmakers. Banks claims that one unnamed U. A new spin-off organization called ExodusRoots sends out daily alerts to readers, telling them how to contact their local congressmen to testify against hate crime laws that would protect gays and lesbians.
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