News, Wit & Commentary for Lesbians
JIC Post:By Ross von MetzkeGaywiredThe ex-gay organization Love in Action has been at the center of widespread media attention with recent weblog posts from 16-year-old Zach Stark who wrote that he feared being taken to the conversion camp by his fundamentalist parents. Now, LIA is facing further scrutiny after the organization's co-founder John Evans wrote a scathing letter condemning the organization to current director John Smid. Writing that LIA’s movement leads to "shattered lives", Evans, who founded LIA in 1973 along with heterosexual preacher Kent Philpott, later dropped out after his best friend committed suicide when his gay "conversion" failed. “In the past 30 years since leaving the 'ex-gay' ministry I have seen nothing but shattered lives, depression and even suicide among those connected with the 'ex-gay' movement," Evans told Smid in the letter. In the letter, which was posted at waynebesen.com, a blog published by author and activist Wayne Besen, Evans writes that he now understands how one can be gay and Christian, Evans encouraged Christians to “investigate all sides of the issue of being gay and Christian. The church has been wrong in the past regarding moral issues, and I'm sure there will be more before Christ returns.” Although Evans came out publicly years ago, this letter marks the first condemnation of the movement to a larger audience. “Having the founder of a movement he created say it doesn't work and is even harmful should send shockwaves through the 'ex-gay' ministry," Besen told the PlanetOut Network. "This is like Randall Terry saying Operation Rescue is bunk, or James Dobson repudiating Focus on the Family.” Conversion therapy has come under increased scrutiny for using disproved medical theories to “cure” LGBT adults and youth. LIA in particular has been the target of investigations by the Tennessee Department of Health and, as a result, has removed the word "therapy" from its Web site, since it doesn't have a state license to practice psychological counseling. Two rallies and a candlelight vigil were held over the weekend outside LIA's headquarters in Memphis, Tenn., to protest the "graduation" of Zach Stark and other new 'ex-gay' youth from Refuge. And, according to Planet Out Partners, Oprah Winfrey is now looking into LIA in preparation for an exploration about ex-gay ministries on her show.
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