In spite of organizers’ predictions of thousands of marchers, a rally for the ex-gay movement drew fewer than 10 attendees on Wednesday. According to Right Wing Watch, Sandy Rios of American Family Radio and “ex-gay lobbying day” organizer Christopher Doyle said on Tuesday that “thousands of ex-gays are descending” on Washington for a rally at the Supreme Court to make their voices heard.
On Wednesday, Doyle and a crowd of eight activists stood holding signs for a few scattered reporters.
“Heterophobic activists will stop at nothing to attack ex-gays,” said speaker Chuck Peters. “They are anti-diversity and anti-pro-choice. Why can’t I choose whom I love?”
Doyle has complained in the past that LGBT activists have “shut us out” and that “because of all this homo-fascism and indoctrination in the media, ex-gays aren’t given a fair shake.”
He told Sandy Rios on Tuesday that the reason ex-gay events are so often sparsely attended is because LGBT people are so viciously militant that ex-gays are forced into hiding. “(T)ens of thousands” of ex-gays are out there waiting to tell their stories, he said, but they are “in the closet because of fear, shame and threats from gay activists.”
The ex-gay movement has taken some serious blows in recent months. Exodus, International, one of the main groups practicing so-called “reparative therapy” closed its doors earlier this summer. Exodus director Alan Chambers issued a personal apology to any LGBT people hurt by efforts to make them heterosexual.
“Please know that I am deeply sorry,” Chambers wrote at ExodusInternational.org. “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.”
A special American Psychological Association task force found in 2009 that not only is reparative or conversion therapy ineffective, but that it can inflict real damage on LGBT people’s self-image and long-term mental health. After-effects reportedly included, ”loss of sexual feeling, depression, suicidality and anxiety.”
In September of 2012, the state of California banned conversion therapy for minors statewide as a form of child abuse. Conservatives in that state have challenged the ban as a violation of their free speech.
“We’re ex-queers and we’re not going anywhere, so get used to us!” said Peters Wednesday. He stood backdropped by the painted tarp currently hiding the renovations to the Supreme Court building’s historic facade. “Hip hip hooray for ex-gays!” he shouted. “Hip hip hooray for ex-gays! Hip hip hooray for ex-gays!”
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[image via Tory Roberts at Right Wing Watch, reprinted by permission]