Ex-Gays December 3, 2006

In light of the Ted Haggard situation, the question sometimes comes up from the Religious Right: Can a gay person become straight?

For some reason, some people think degayification is possible.

Tanya Erzen, author of Straight to Jesus, spent time with the people at New Hope Ministry, a San Francisco-based ministry that helps Christian men who are “struggling with homosexuality.”

According to this article from Salon, Erzen “made every effort to listen to and understand everyone at New Hope Ministry, whether or not she agreed with their beliefs (and it’s fairly clear that most of the time she didn’t).”

Surprisingly, many of the gay people interviewed were not fans of the Religious Right. These people were shunned by their churches and communities as if being gay was a disease. Former drug addicts received a warmer reception from churches, said one man.

A ministry “house leader” named Hank said that this book might make people wonder why anyone would ever succumb to this type of treatment. I wonder that myself, but I guess living in fear of their religious community’s teachings would push people to drastic lengths.

An interview with Erzen can be heard here, courtesy of NPR.

On a similar note, there was an article in the Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger (home of the wonderful Dan Savage) a few months ago about how to siphon away “anti-gay” books, movies, and CDs from Focus on the Family for free.

Why would anyone do this? To get the books out of the wrong hands (someone who might take the books seriously).

I had ordered my $100 worth of books a little after this article was published, but Focus on the Family had caught on by that time and stopped shipping the orders. I tried again yesterday and found out they no longer send books for free unless you call one of their representatives first and let them know why you want the books. You could still get the books, but it’s a little more work.

(Thanks to frequent commenter Logos for the Salon link)

[tags]Tanya Erzen, Straight to Jesus, Ted Haggard, degayification, New Hope Ministry, Religious Right, NPR, The Stranger, Dan Savage, Focus on the Family[/tags]

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