Exodus International calls it quits, apologizes for being douchebags
The country’s most prominent “ex-gay ministry,” Exodus International, is officially no more. I couldn’t be happier. Alan Chambers, the head of the organization, has also issued an apology to the gay community for the damage his group has caused. This, of course, comes more than 10 years after the American Psychological Institution fully denounced the practice of gay conversion therapy.
“Please know that I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents. I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly “on my side” who called you names like sodomite—or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him that I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry that I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine.”
I will never shit on someone for making an apology. I’m glad that Chambers has come to understand the damage that his organization has wrought. However, there are still many “gay conversion” advocates out there (like Michele Bachmann’s husband, FYI), so the fight is not entirely over yet.
While it might be easy to think “Oh well, who cares if some gay people want to pretend they’re not gay, because Jesus,” these groups do an incredible amount of harm. I’ve seen it. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to watch was a friend of mine, who was a born-again Christian, going through some kind of gay conversion therapy when we were teenagers. It broke my heart, because he was one of the funniest, nicest kids I ever knew. He tried to pretend like it was all magic and that he totally loooooved vaginas now that he’d found Jesus, but it was obvious he was in pain. I tried so hard to continue being his friend, but eventually he decided that he couldn’t really be hanging around any heathen atheist sluts so much either. The last time we were in contact I was too afraid to ask him if he was still doing the ex-gay thing, because I was afraid he’d think I was judging him and disappear again, which actually he did anyway.
This is a step in the right direction. Despite all the crap from people like Pat Buchanan and groups like Focus on The Family, I feel like every day we’re making these small but important steps in the right direction. When an organization as established as Exodus International waves the white flag, it’s a sign that we’re winning. When a Republican like Lisa Murkowski comes out in favor of same-sex marriage, it’s a sign that we’re winning. And actually, when the homophobes are freaking the hell out on a daily basis, it’s a sign that we’re winning. I have hope, so much hope, that what I saw happen to my friend, what I’ve seen happen to others, will soon be regarded as some bizarre old-timey shit on par with leeches and ice-pick lobotomy. I look forward to the day when this is unthinkable.