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Archives, June 15 to June 23, 2005

Thursday June 23, 2005

There Are Five Lights

John Smid, abuser of gay teenagers, has acknowledged in the past that his own homosexuality has not been erased in all the years he’s been associated with Love In Action. In his essay titled, Journey Out of Homosexuality, there is this sad, pathetic confession:

I am not totally healed from homosexuality. It is part of my emotional, physical and spiritual history. It will not be erased as though it did not exist. I still struggle at times, envying a guy who is better looking than I am. I still shut down with my wife at times. I periodically have sexual thoughts regarding men.

So the snake oil he is selling to frightened desperate parents nowadays, is that while he can’t cure someone of their homosexuality, he can at least make them not act on it. But if homosexuality is a self destructive behavior, as the reparative therapists claim it is, what John Smid is offering as salvation from it, is self destruction on a vastly greater scale. He is in effect, offering heroin as a cure for alcoholism. And you see it clearly in the article written about him the Memphis Flyer, during the protests over Zach’s initial two week incarceration:

How does God make a gay man straight?

In 1997, John Smid, the ex-gay director of Love in Action, a homosexual conversion center located in Memphis, tried to explain this mystery to a Memphis Flyer reporter:

"I'm looking at that wall and suddenly I say it's blue," Smid said, pointing to a yellow wall. "Someone else comes along and says, 'No, it's gold.' But I want to believe that wall is blue. Then God comes along and He says, 'You're right, John, [that yellow wall] _is_ blue.' That's the help I need. God can help me make that [yellow] wall blue."

You don't have to be a psychology major to recognize that Smid's metaphor for gay conversion is a dictionary definition of delusional: "a false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence." Love in Action, which received media attention this week as the result of ongoing protests over its youth camp, purports to help its clients recognize that their crayons have been lying to them. Adding insult to irony, LIA literature states that homosexuality is "a distortion of God's intent." As are paint chips, apparently.

So he understands perfectly well that his sexual orientation is an objective fact, like the yellow wall. But instead of accepting it, and living with it honorably, Smid has reduced himself to pleading with god to at least make him able to hallucinate heterosexuality. This is what Smid is pleased to call liberation from homosexuality, but if this is liberation then so are drugs. Smid’s treatment is a classic drug addict’s path away from reality into the disconnected and euphoric embrace of phantasms, slowly and surely stripping a person of their ability to cope with reality, digging them deeper and ever deeper into their addiction. The reparative therapists claim that homosexuality disconnects a person from life. What they offer as a cure is to renounce existence completely and spend the rest of your life confined to a hallucination. Zach’s parents, and the other parents who deliver their children into John Smid’s tender care, may as well give them a supply of heroin and needles.

You cannot believe a yellow wall blue. The wall remains yellow. Someone of a genuine spiritual bent, might see something of the Maker in that simplicity, and relentless indifference to our self deceptions. But there is no spirituality in fundamentalism, only a desperate flight from reality. And now the fundamentalists are demanding the rest of us accept that outright lies should be taken as articles of faith, and not as outright lies. And yet it moves… There are only four lights. The wall is yellow.

[Edited a tad…]

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Those Trivial Little Things You Happen Across…That Keep You Awake Nights

While scanning google for GLBT news items, I ran across this AP book blurb, with a disturbing little passage in it:

CHICAGO - Friendships blow up and fade out all the time. Sometimes it's a fight. And life changes - a move, a marriage, a baby - can get in the way. Then there are those times when you just look at your friend and realize you don't really have much in common anymore.

Some believe losing a friendship is a particularly traumatic event for women - a theory explored in a couple of recent books that have inspired wider discussion of a topic sometimes seen as taboo.

Women "have an expectation that romantic love might not last. But the idea is that friendship is made of much stronger stuff - that you're friends forever," says Elissa Schappell, co-editor and contributor to the new book "The Friend Who Got Away," a collection of essays written by 20 women who lost friends for various reasons. "There's almost no vocabulary for talking about it when it falls apart. That's where the shame of it comes from."

...

Kimberly Eberl, a 27-year-old Chicagoan, still wonders why her college roommate disappeared after coming out as a lesbian - something Eberl says she accepted easily. "I've tried calling her a million times just to say hello and see if we can reconnect," Eberl says. "But she's never answered any of my calls."

Oh god… Well after the events of the past couple of weeks, I can sure as hell think of one reason why she might have disappeared…

by Bruce Garrett | Link

How It Works…(continued)

The self proclaimed clearinghouse of anti-gay propoganda for the anti-gay right, Paul Cameron, is back with another example of why he was booted out of the American Psychological Association:

Pseudo-scientist Paul Cameron is at it again. According to the self-proclaimed 'Christian Wire Service,' Cameron now claims a CDC study proves that "homosexuals do not have a higher rate of illegal drug abuse than heterosexuals because they are the victims of discrimination."

Cameron, who is neither an epidemiologist nor recognized as an expert in that field, argues the CDC study also "demonstrates that Blacks - who have suffered greater discrimination -- if anything, are less apt than whites to engage in substance abuse." Based on that 'finding,' Cameron concludes: "Homosexuals blame the rest of us for their problems. Blacks are still discriminated against in our society, but that does not lead them to greater substance abuse."

Pretty damning isn’t it? But then it’s probably also true that black parents are somewhat unlikely to emotionally brutalize their children, after they tell mom and dad that they’re black. Actually, illegal drugs aside, you see a hell of a lot more cigarette smoking among gay youth too, and it’s discouraging because you know exactly why: they’re stressed. It doesn’t surprise me that this spills over into drugs and alcohol much too often. But you can’t say it’s because they are gay, until you’ve looked at gay kids who’ve grown up with otherwise the same basic life experiences of family and peer support as straight ones.

What Cameron is good at, is that subtle apples to oranges comparison that will completely fool the layman, if not any actual scientist. It’s his classic gay lifespan study all over again, where he compared the average ages in the obituaries of a couple gay community newspapers, verses that in mainstream newspapers like the New York Times, getting an average of only 42 for gay men, and never mind the fact that the older generation of gay men were more closeted then the younger. This kind of thing fools no one who has actually done scientific research, but they aren’t Cameron’s audience, and as Eric Hoffer once said, propaganda does not fool people, it merely allows them to fool themselves.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Wednesday June 22, 2005

In Their Own Words

I sorta wish I had time to travel to Memphis to see this:

FRIDAY JUNE 24TH 8pm, and SATURDAY JUNE 25TH 8pm

@ The MeDiA Co-op 1000 S. Cooper Memphis, TN

PETERSON TOSCANO, a former Love in Action client, will be coming to Memphis to perform his one-person play, "Doin' Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House".

THIS IS NOT TO BE MISSED! PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD!

See for yourself what happens behind the doors of America's zaniest ex-gay residential program! Through five characters Toscano takes you on a tour of the Homo No Mo Halfway House, a 12-Step Christian program that attempts to save men from the snares of homosexuality through bizarre rules, a masculine resuscitation regime and brain numbing reconditioning. Based on Toscano's real life experience floundering in various Ex-gay ministries, he weaves together humor, program jargon and outrageous eyewitness accounts to form a piece that is hilarious, poignant and inspirational.

SATURDAY JUNE 25TH @ 4pm

Perterson also will be doing "Talking Trash in the Homo No Mo' Halfway House --Language, Life and Lies in the Ex-Gay Movement", a more lecture-stylized piece.

For more info http://www.homonomo.com/ http://www.mediaco-op.org

Peterson’s blog has an interesting entry that adds some additional weight to my fears that Smid’s little camp is a child sexual abuse scandal just waiting to happen.

June 2, 2005, Altanta Airport

I saw John Smid walking in my direction. He recognized me from my two years in the program.

After some chit chat I questioned him about first-hand reports I heard in January about minors in his residential program placed their against their wills. Also I heard they teens attended sessions with adults. Some of these adults have been involved in bestiality and other extreme sexual practices.

Smid confirmed that minors attend the program and that although they are sometimes placed in the it unwillingly, they usually grow to respect the staff, even while they continue to have problems with their parents for forcing them to attend.

He also confirmed that adults and minors meet in sessions together, but that the conversation is controlled to only focus on feelings and not issues.

(I refrained from saying that any 16-year-old I know is clever enough to figure out pretty quickly what everyone is in for. They will also dicipher the unspoken message that their same-sex attractions are on the same level as a man screwing a pony. That is sick and in my opinion child abuse). Smid and I parted pleasantly enough after we discussed an upcoming BBC2 documentary (Sad to Be Gay). Smid allowed the BBC to bring cameras into the program in January to follow one of their reporters who was supposed to be there for two weeks. He lasted four days. The program airs in the UK in late August.

I can imagine either the BBC guy just got sick to death of what he was seeing, or that Smid finally grew the brain Michael Jackson didn’t when he was being interviewed about how he slept with children, and kicked the BBC the hell out. Do you really want somebody filming all this…? But this is extremely scary stuff. Somebody in Memphis local government needs to wake the hell up.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

False Images

How to count all the little ways the Ex-Gay ministries lie to the world about their success at treating what some of them call “Same Sex Attraction Disorder (or S.S.A.D….get it? They’re not Gay…they’re SSAD…) They periodically buy up advertising space in newspapers and magazines touting the message that YOU CAN CHANGE. And the message just keeps on dying the death of a thousand cuts. Wayne Besen blogs this one about a former Exodus client, who is pissed off that Exodus is still using his picture in their ads claiming that homosexuality can be cured.

O'Donnell is included in a group photo at the top of their web site www.exodus-international.org - a photo that has also been used in the group's ads to show that homosexuality can be cured. Exodus Executive Director Alan Chambers was recently contacted by O'Donnell, who politely asked him to remove or airbrush his likeness from the website. Chambers refused the request and continues to have O'Donnell's picture falsely representing the possibility of sexual orientation conversion.

What ninth commandment?

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Motivation

At the end of the post below I suggest one place to make a start at chipping away at John Smid’s private little hell for gay teens. As I can dig up more useful information I’ll post it here. In the meantime, here’s another wee dose of motivation, from someone who saw it with their own eyes…

Whilst in this centre he [Zach] had to spend the first three days in total silence unable to talk while he was talked to by their counsellors. An eye witness has reported "When we drove around to the front...we saw these men and trailing behind them--four young guys, all with their heads hung, staring at the ground as they walked. They are not allowed to make eyecontact with ANYONE for the first few days.so they are forced to fucking...i'm crying now...but...they have to look at the ground as they walk, for three days it's a walk of shame, their heads hanging for being themselves, for having the courage to stand up and say "this is who i am"...and now all these people are saying 'no you aren't and we will change it. and you will be punished for thinking such things.' I will NEVER get that picture out of my head. those four guys..."

This is what John Smid is pleased to call a “voluntary” program, and the child abuse enabler behind the pulpit of Christ United Methodist Church in Memphis, Bill Bouknight, is pleased to call Christian love. This is the “conservative pastor” I mentioned in the post below, and FYI, just to add insult to injury, in his letter he also wrote, with visibly little irony…

You claimed that LIA engages in emotional abuse. If you have evidence of that, send it to me. I will share it with John Smid and ask for an explanation.

Oh like fuck you will.

Over the years I have ministered to lots of homosexuals. I know that in most cases the lifestyle is the opposite of "gay."

Well maybe Bill…just maybe…the reason for that is piss ignorant jackasses like you who can’t see the person for the homosexual, and just can’t understand why ripping a gay person’s heart out of them, throwing it on the ground at their feet and then making them stomp it into a pulp while you watch is such a bad idea. You’re fucking telling gay kids that the only life they have to look forward to as homosexuals is one of sexual depravity and squalor, trying as hard as you fucking can to make them believe it, and then when the homosexual feelings don’t get cured by prayer, when they start acting like the only roll models they ever had in their Christian lives told them they had to act because they’re homosexual, you behave like it proves your point. But all it proves is that you’re a miserable failure as a man of god. But then look at what you’re excusing over at Refuge. John Smid is liberating people, like Jack The Ripper was loving women. And every time another “client” of his grows up and testifies to the world about the abuse they had to endure while in his care, enablers like you are looking less and less respectable yourselves, and more like a bunch moral degenerates with all the compassion for the welfare of children of southeast Asian child sex trade pimps. Or do you actually think all this isn’t sex abuse, so long as John keeps his hands to himself?

More details on the extension of Zach’s stay can be found here. And if you’re feeling in a godly mood, you can email Bill and ask him which verses in the Bible, are the ones where Jesus tells his followers to cut the hearts out of teenagers and eat them here.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Tuesday June 21, 2005

Fake Faith

The story of Zach, the gay teen in Memphis Tennessee who was placed into John Smid’s toxic Pray-Away-The-Gay camp is now officially in the world’s eye. The open comments section of his blog is now getting messages of support from Australia, Norway, Spain, England, The Netherlands, and so on. Teens and caring adults from all over the world are leaving messages of encouragement and strength. It is with mixed feelings also, that I hear the story has finally made it to at least one of the big news media outlets, CNN. The mainstream news media, and its pathetic he said/she said model of reportage these days, is actually probably not a great place for people to get informed on this story. My prayer is that it will at least encourage more people to dig a little deeper for themselves, and to finally get the goddamned national gay civil rights organizations to At Least Fucking Take Notice of the emotional rape of gay teens by the religious right.

I’ve always resisted the impulse to challenge their right to call themselves Christians, out of a notion that whether or not you are is between you and your maker and no one else. But this past couple of weeks has been a personal tipping point for me, and I can see clearly now that it is simply not worth extending a courtesy to someone who is utterly unwilling to extend the same to you. And there’s a more fundamental problem with the Standard Excuse they make, which is that Christian Love requires them to do everything in their power to save souls from the fires of hell, and that parents most of all, have a Christian duty to their children in this regard. Even on their own terms, even viewed by this light, the means they are employing on teens in these camps is starkly anti-Christian, and profoundly immoral.

One poster on the Queer Action Coalition Site forums recently engaged a conservative pastor of the one United Methodist Church that supports Love in Action. And this bastard piss ignorant pulpit thumper replied in part:

I support LIA for this reason. The Bible and the United Methodist Church are clear that the practice of homosexuality is a sin. But if one simply indicts someone for sin without offering help in overcoming the sin, that is something less than Christian love.

But there’s a problem with this. The fact that Love In Action accepts teenagers who are placed into the program under extreme parental duress proves that they are in the business not of cultivating, of encouraging an acceptance of God, but of forcing it. And in order to do that, you have to believe that God can be lied to. You have to believe that God actually cannot see into a teen’s heart and know whether or not their acceptance is being given wholeheartedly. You have to further believe that God cannot see into your own heart as well, and know that you put those words into that kid’s mouth. Ultimately, and here is where you really see the gutter these people are living in, you have to simply not care whether or not faith is real.

It is the forcible nature of these camps that changes everything. If a fundamentalist teen came to his pastor and said in all desperate honesty that he wanted help dealing with his homosexuality, regardless of how futile the rest of us think such a request is, regardless of how impotent the rest of us think such cures are, at least the situation is consistent with the bedrock doctrine that fundamentalism regards as its defining value: that in order to be saved, you must accept Christ as your personal savior. But a camp that drags in teens who are perfectly comfortable with their sexual nature, however sinful their church may hold that sexual nature to be, cannot be anything but unchristian in the fundamentalist sense, because they take away from kids their ability to wholeheartedly accept Christ into their hearts, in favor of a brute force confession of faith and acceptance that is spiritually empty.

Now…why would the people running these camps do that, if they believe in salvation so fervently? Wouldn’t the right course of action be to try to gain the teen’s willing participation through prayer, discussion and encouragement? Well…No…Not If You Hate Homosexuals So Much, All You Want Is To Fuck With Their Heads.

These camps put the lie to everything the fundamentalists say about their beliefs. Yes, as Bruce Bawer once wrote, they are a chuch of law as opposed to a church of love, but the law as they say it is, is clear: you must accept Christ in your heart. And there is simply no truth in a vow of acceptance that is forced. So, the anti-gay religious right are Christians in rhetoric only. Claiming to be defenders of God’s eternal word, yet perfectly willing piss on everything they profess without a second thought, when they need to stick a knife in a faggot’s heart.

These places need to be shut down. And when the religious right complains that we’re attacking their deeply held religious values, the only reply they deserve is a middle finger. We needn’t take their religious values any more seriously then they take them themselves.

Here’s a start at it. At their press conference last week, to bolster their claims of competency to treat adolescents in a therapeutic capacity, Love In Action presented one Doctor Steven Rice, of CNS Healthcare of Memphis. He is Board Certified in Geriatric Psychiatry, Adolescent Psychiatry, and General Adult Psychiatry, and his resume asserts at least a past membership in the American Psychiatric Association, as he was President of the West Tennessee Chapter from 1987 to 1988, and Secretary, from 1985 to 1986. Here is part of the APA’s 1998 statement regarding reparative therapy:

The potential risks of 'reparative therapy' are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient."

Many patients who have undergone 'reparative therapy' relate that they were inaccurately told that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction."

The possibility that the person might achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal relationships as a gay man or lesbian is not presented, nor are alternative approaches to dealing with the effects of societal stigmatization discussed."

Therefore, the American Psychiatric Association opposes any psychiatric treatment, such as 'reparative' or 'conversion' therapy which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon a prior assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation. The American Psychiatric Association recognizes that in the course of ongoing psychiatric treatment, there may be appropriate clinical indications for attempting to change sexual behaviors."

You can contact the fine folks at the APA here. You can contact the Tennessee Board of Health, at:

Tennessee Board of Health
Office of Investigations
Third Floor Cordell Hull Building,
425 Fifth Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37247

The website of the Tennessee Department of Health is here.

Be polite, but don’t let them blow you off with a canned response. And if they try to brush you off or to make you feel as if you’re butting into something that’s none of your business, remember the terrified gay teenager who cried out to the world for help:

I pray this blows over. I can't take this... noone can... not really, this kind of thing tears you apart emotionally. To introduce THIS subject... I'm not a suicidal person... really I'm not.. I think it's stupid - really. But.. I can't help it, no im not going to commit suicide, all I can think about is killing my mother and myself. It's so horrible. This is what it's doing to me... I have this horrible feeling all of the time... I wish this on no person...

Think of the look on his face while he was typing that, and keep pressing them, politely but firmly, for answers. And let them know the whole world is watching what happens to all the kids trapped in John Smid’s clutches.

I will gratefully accept any additional good contact points for medical and healthcare regulators, and child support advocates, that may be of help in this matter, and I will post that information here.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Solace In Knowing That Others Have Been Here Before Me

This place, this battlefield, this bombed out city, this wasteland, seems so lonely. And yet here and there you find writing on the rubble…

Though mild clear weather
Smile again on the shire of your esteem
And its colors come back, the storm has changed you:
You will not forget, ever,
The darkness blotting out hope, the gale
Prophesying your downfall.

You must live with your knowledge.
Way back, beyond, outside of you are others,
In moonless absences you never heard of,
Who have certainly heard of you,
Beings of unknown number and gender:
And they do not like you.

What have you done to them?
Nothing? Nothing is not an answer;
You will come to believe - how can you help it? -
That you did, you did do something;
You will find yourself wishing you could make them laugh,
You will long for their friendship.

There will be no peace.
Fight back, then, with such courage as you have
And every unchivalrous dodge you know of,
Clear in your conscience on this:
Their cause, if they had one, is nothing to them now;
They hate for hate's sake.

There Will Be No Peace, WH Auden

Oh who is that young sinner with the handcuffs on his wrists?
And what has he been after that they groan and shake their fists?
And wherefore is he wearing such a conscience-stricken air?
Oh theyíre taking him to prison for the color of his hair.

íTis a shame to human nature, such a head of hair as his;
In the good old time ítwas hanging for the color that it is;
Though hanging isnít bad enough and flaying would be fair
For the nameless and abominable color of his hair.

Oh a deal of pains heís taken and a pretty price heís paid
To hide his poll or dye it of a mentionable shade;
But theyíve pulled the beggarís hat off for the world to see and stare,
And theyíre taking him to justice for the color of his hair.

Now ítis oakum for his fingers and the treadmill for his feet,
And the quarry-gang on Portland in the cold and in the heat,
And between his spells of labor in the time he has to spare
He can curse the God that made him for the color of his hair.

Oh Who Is That Young Sinner, A. E. Housman

A grateful tip of the hat to SullyWatch for the Auden poem. It was one I hadn’t seen.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Not Exactly Elevator Music

Some changes to the stuff I’m listening/watching/reading list on the right. I know I’m in a state when I can’t stop listening to post Echos Pink Floyd. I’ll know I need to take a long vacation in the southwest deserts when The Final Cut makes my heavy rotation playlist.

I will Not start watching Invasion of the Body Snatchers! No. No I won’t.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Monday June 20, 2005

Church In The Living Room

Margaret Cho blogs about Zach and Love In Action and I learn something new I hadn’t known about her. She seems to have had it worse then even my last boyfriend did.

My grandfather was a Methodist minister and we had church right in our living room 7 days a week, so I understand a little about where you might be coming from.

Wow. My ex made it clear many times that he was well aware of the existence of these ex-gay camps, and the suggestion was always in the air, although he never said so outright, that he was threatened with it during his own teen years, the moment any hint of gayness escaped from him in manner or conversation. We were both raised Baptists, he of the SBC variety, and I of the Yankee, and I once worked for his father, so I knew how deep and crazy fundamentalism had put its roots into the man. As soon as my ex was able, my ex enlisted in the navy, as a means of escape. After serving a full tour of duty on a Los Angles class attack submarine, he came home knowing it was beyond his family’s ability to force him into any camp.

I don’t think he had forgotten how utterly relentless a family of hard core fundamentalists can be, but he probably thought that six years of the navy had given him enough inner stamina to stand up for himself. He came out to them, and they told him of course they loved him anyway. The next morning his father printed up a couple hundred three-fold brochures of the kind churches used to place in their lobby every Sunday, listing every biblical condemnation of homosexuals, fornication, and lust in King James, and adding a few of his own. Then he walked around the neighborhood and put one in the door of every house for blocks and blocks around.

My ex and I by then, had begun the first round of our tentative, on again off again affair. I was deeply in love…he was (and is) the sweetest, most decent and kind hearted person I have ever met. Within a couple weeks he broke it off. A month later I ran across him at a local grocery store, where he informed me somewhat sheepishly that he was getting married to another lady from his family’s church. It would be years before I heard from him again, calling me up from out of state, far away from his childhood home, saying he was divorced (there were no children), and trying once more to accept himself just as he is. I can still vividly recall it, and it sickens me beyond measure still how the voice of someone as sweet and kind and decent as him would be so tinged with that terrible struggle for self acceptance. I have never doubted since, how bottomless the hatred of fundamentalists is for simple, unaffected human decency.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Rewarding Things About Working On This Site

According to my logs, my political cartoons have a small group of readers, who actually start hitting on the page in the hour immediately after midnight on Sunday. At first I thought it was just a random phenomena, but it’s been going on pretty consistently now for the past couple of months. Wow. Thanks a lot people for the ego stroke, it is much appreciated, and my apologies for not getting this week’s cartoon posted until a little before 2am.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Sunday June 19, 2005

Band Of Brothers And Sisters

The messages of support posted on in the open comments sections of Zach’s blog continue to pile up. Among the many gay teens sending their love are those who have been through it too, or have parent’s who would do it to them in a heartbeat if they knew. And just this morning, Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry’s discarded gay son Jamiel left his own message of support.

My father has tried and continues to try get me to go to Love in Action. To be perfectly honest I have considered many times of going just to prove to him that I have done everything to "not be gay anymore", and that this is just the way that I am. And that is not evil. This story sickens me, and infuriates me to the point of distraction. I am going to do everything in my power to expose this group for who they are, and stop their hatefilled tactics. You know, it took me a while to realize that the only reason I wanted to change my feelings was because I was told they were wrong not because I actually wanted to or that they actually are. That is why we have to have things like "PRIDE", because we have to constantly reminded that we are not only ok for being who we are but to be anything else would be cowardly. We are torn down so much by these right wing conservatives. Who's lives themselves are filled with adultery, over drinking, and just down right "sin" in the real sense of the word. Our lives affect no one but our own, and those who engage in sexual acts with us. They need to attend to their own business and pick the logs out of their own eyes before they try to pick the sliver out of ours as Christ teaches. Stay strong...

And so another day in the long bitter American culture war drags itself to another miserable close, the bomb blasts stop, and for a while during the uneasy quiet, the children of war come out from beneath the rubble, take a few confused aimless steps, and eventually begin to find each other.

It is so hard some days not to let anger become hate. Hate is poison. Hate will rot your soul. I’ve seen it leave its mark on people in my own family. I know what it could do to me if I let it. I really need this coming week, to find something, someone, anything, to help me recover my belief in the human status. This whole thing is making my heart ache too much.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Saturday June 18, 2005

“Love” Isn’t The Only Fraudulent Thing We Peddle

Wayne Besen, author of Anything But Straight an in-depth look into the lies and scandals of the ex-gay movement, has a post on his blog about the Love In Action protests in Memphis, in which he notes a few of the group’s follies and failures:

** Love in Action was founded in 1973 by John Evans, a gay man, and Rev. Kent Philpott, a heterosexual preacher

** In 1974, Philpott wrote an influential ex-gay book called "The Third Sex?" featuring the testimonies of six people who said they had prayed away the gay. It later turned out that none of the people whose stories were featured had changed.

** Soon after The Third Sex? is published, key Love in Action participant Jack McIntyre commits suicide because he was unable to change from gay to straight. In his suicide note he writes, "To continually go before God and ask forgiveness and make promises you know you can't keep is more than I can take."

** After McIntyre's death, co-founder John Evans drops out and renounces the group as a sham. He dedicated his life to helping people escape the ex-gay trap.

** Love In Action's Director John Smid admits his group is useless. "I am not totally healed from homosexuality. It is part of my emotional, physical and spiritual history," Smid wrote. "It will not be erased as though it did not exist. I still struggle at times...I still shut down with my wife at times. I periodically have sexual thoughts regarding men."

** In 2000, Love In Action's youngest graduate and spokesman Wade Richards, comes out of the closet and condemns ministry as a fraud. Today, he is a gay activist today and appeared in the wonderful (Five Stars) movie, Fish Can't Fly.

** On Sept. 19, 2000, Love In Action's most famous graduate and ex-gay poster boy John Paulk is photographed in a gay bar in Washington, DC

So what we have here is another sickening glimpse into the open sewer that John Smid calls a conscience. He knows the program doesn’t work, he knows it has killed people in it, and yet he keeps taking big bucks from parents in exchange for a promise to cure their children of their same sex “addictions”. Nice guy. Would you leave him alone with your son or daughter?

Apparently, during last Thursday’s news conference, the only person they had to parade in front of the reporters who had the slightest shred of professional credentials, was a guy who is the head of the Christian Dentistry Association. He apparently said (I still don’t have transcripts) that he had “studied psychology and psychotherapy”. Swell.

I strongly encourage people to read Besen’s book. It is a descent-into-the-Pit account of the bizzare cult-like behaviors and beliefs of the ex-gay movement leaders and the emotional, and often sexual, abuse of the people trapped in them. You will never look at the placid, smiling, upright all-American faces they present to the media the same afterward.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

To A Gay Teen

I received an appeal in my emailbox last night, not so much for help as for some words of understanding, from a teen who is trying right now to come to grips with their own crisis of coming out to family and friends. Interestingly, it seems to have come to me not as a result of my blogging for the past couple of weeks about the situation with Zach and John Smid’s Love (sic) In Action camp, as my gay political cartoons, which my corespondent found and appreciated. The occasional response to my cartoons has been for me, one of the most rewarding things about working on this website.

It may seem for those of us of the Stonewall generation, who can remember a time when the only positive portrayals of homosexuals in popular culture were tucked away hidden in a few precious literary novels, such as those of Mary Renault, and poems such as Walt Whitman’s, while everywhere else we were universally despised, condemned and ridiculed, that young gays have it better now then we did. And so, thankfully, they mostly do. But in these days of George Bush’s America, when the religious right is furiously demonizing homosexuals in exactly the same terms jews were in 1930s Germany, gay teens present also, sickeningly, great targets of opportunity for fundamentalist hate. They are the most vulnerable members of our community. The Southern Baptists (sic), seem now on the verge of declaring all out war on schools that so much as offer a small measure of safety and comfort to gay kids within their walls, by way of gay straight alliances, or even simply teachers that will not tolerate homophobic abuse by peers. The chatter I’m hearing is that the only thing holding them back is fear in the upper echelons, that this would really make them look like a bunch of extremist fanatics in the eyes of America. I think they needn’t worry on that score. But never mind.

My corespondent is a young lesbian, and I hope she will not mind if I post some of my response back to her for others to see. I think this needs to be said to every gay kid in America right now.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation with your friends and family. I had it good compared to a lot of people. My friends stuck with me, and my mom, while insisting I never talk about my sexual orientation, made sure I never doubted that she loved me. It really makes me heartsick to see how hard it's been for other gay and lesbian people. There is no reason for it. We're human beings just like anyone else.

If your parents are worried about your sexual orientation, they're worrying about the wrong thing. The important stuff is that people can trust you, that your word is good, that you keep your promises, that your don't take advantage of others, that you do your share of the work, that you care about your community, and that the people you take into your arms are better for having been loved by you, and not worse. That's the important stuff in life. Everything else is detail. I know life can be very hard sometimes, but I tell you that if you take care of the important things, the detail will eventually work itself out.

The great thing about growing up these days is you have the Internet to reach out to other people with. When I was a teen (back in the 1960s/70s) the weren't any computer networks yet. I didn't get my first computer until the early 1980s, and in the mid 80s I found a small online group of gay friends, on a local computer bulletin board system. Many of the friends I made then, I still have.

Have you looked into some of the online gay and lesbian youth groups? There are lots of places it seems nowadays, where gay and lesbian kids can get together and chat in online safe spaces. I think it might be good for you to check some of those out. Understanding friends your own age would be really good for you, and I know there are places here on the net where you can find them.

The important thing for you to know is that there is nothing wrong with you. People who are attracted to their own sex are a natural part of this world, different from the others only in that one thing. There is nothing about being a lesbian that makes you a freak, nothing that means you have to live an immoral or squalid life. It sickens me to see gay and lesbian young people pushed into that, instead of given healthy examples for living by adults who ought to be more caring, and less judgmental. Everyone is different in some way. A decent society is one that gives people room to live and grow and find their own way as they must. All we have a right to expect of each other, is that we are honest, do our share of the work, and don't take advantage of or hurt others. The rest is our affair. Gay and Lesbian people make their own places in this world every day, and live decent, whole lives on their own terms. You can too. It may be a struggle for you, but life always seems to be a struggle in one way or another. But it is a worthwhile one. You have the same right everyone else has to a decent fulfilling life. People may tell you otherwise, but they need to mind their own lives, and let others get on with theirs. Your life belongs to you, and the good is to live it.

Take care. Be strong.

-Bruce

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Digging In

The chatter on Zach’s blog, and among his friends’ blogs, has been that he was “getting out” of Smid’s clutches yesterday, as the two weeks of ex-gay camp his parents had paid for (I hear ranges of between fifteen-hundred and two-thousand dollars for two weeks of “treatment” is Smid’s fee) ends this weekend. Zach, in his last blog entries, seemed to think it was Sunday. But I had my doubts about that too. I’m fifty-one years old, and I’ve seen enough of how fundamentalist creeps operate to know that any show of support would only make them more determined to permanently damage this kid, if for no other reason then as a show of strength. Oh…so gay kids actually have friends who love them nowadays do they…? Well…let’s see how well they love him when he has no heart left to love anyone or anything back…

The love and support I’ve seen on Zach’s blog from his friends has just been amazing, and at times it’s brought me to tears. All the horrible stories you hear, about gay kids being beaten and abused by their peers in school, and here is this one kid, trapped in a fundamentalist nightmare, and his friends have not only not turned against him, they’ve made the world take notice of his (and their) plight. It is amazing. I simply cannot despair for the future anymore, having watched this unfold. But that’s not to say it hasn’t made me nail spitting angry too. And I knew this wouldn’t be over, not by a long shot, at the end of Zach’s interment. I’m fifty-one years old, and I’ve been in this fight a while. I know the enemy, I’ve seen its face.

They’re all going to have to stay strong. One of Zach’s friends has just posted in the open comments section of his blog, to the effect that they’ve extended Zach’s “treatment” for another six weeks. That’s right. Six more weeks of it. You sense a kind of emotional ransom is being demanded here. Just shut the fuck up for a while and maybe we won’t do anything worse to him then we’ve already done. Maybe. But shutting up is the last thing his friends and supporters should do now.

The Queer Action Coalition site was already posting notices of plans for some post-Zach’s release events, to continue the fight against the assault on gay youth by the reparative therapy movement. Hopefully, this will make them redouble their efforts to spread the word about the harm these outfits do to youth, and to the risks they pose to kids who are at their mercy. Hopefully they’ll stay in John Smid’s face for a long, long time to come. Because John Smid is not going to stop abusing kids, until he’s forced to stop. None of these outfits are going to just pack up and go away. The people fighting them have to realize they’re in it for the long haul.

All along, this has been a wonderful, inspiring, grass roots youth movement. And maybe that’s what it always had to be. They’re the ones directly in the line of fire. They’re the ones who have to watch heartbroken, while their friends are taken from them and abused by predatory adults. They’re the ones who have to listen in horror to the words of gutter crawling child abusers like John Smid, who told one of his clients that he’d rather he killed himself then live a normal life as the person he is, and imagine day in and day out the kinds of things these bottom feeding asswipes are doing to their friends.

Think for a moment of one of your close friends from back in your school days. Think of the one whose companionship you remember most from that time, whose friendship still makes those days seem golden to you. I was blessed with my own close circle of friends back then. John, Bob, Glenn, Mike, Lon, Rich, Stuart… Those were amazing days. We saw each other through adolescence and into adulthood, and we were all better for that companionship. I was blessed to have straight friends back then who accepted, and stood by me. I loved them all dearly, and still do. Think of the friends from your life, who made that kind of difference to you.

Now imagine the shock and grief you’d have gone through, to see one of them snatched away by one of these fundamentalist brainwashing outfits. Think of how it would have been for you to know that people full of fundamentalist hate for everything wonderful and beautiful about life and living, are brutalizing that friend, and all you can do is watch helplessly. It would have been a nightmare for you. Not the nightmare your friend was experiencing, but damaging enough. Their world, and yours, would never be the same. Think of how it would have been to meet that friend one day, weeks, maybe years after the fundamentalists were done with them, and see an emptiness in their eyes, where once the heart within shined with the joy of life. How much of your world would have been taken from you?

Terrorists strike at defenseless human targets not only to demoralize and weaken their enemy’s ability to fight back, but also for the pleasure of watching people they hate living in pain. And the really depraved terrorists are the ones that deliberately target children. Like the degenerate thugs who took over that school in Russia last year, rigged it with explosives, and killed over three-hundred kids during the firefight with their rescuers. With these little camps for gay teens, the fundamentalists not only score hits on the teens themselves, but massive collateral damage to their communities. And they know it. So, count on it, they’re going to scorch the earth fighting to keep these camps going.

This is going to be a long and bitter struggle, right there with the struggle for same sex marriage. The fundamentalist war against homosexual people was never about sex. For all the rhetoric about how homosexuals engage in perverted sex, for all the slanders about how the “gay lifestyle” is nothing but one brief, barren assignation after another, this fight was never, never, about our right to have sex. It was always about our right to love, and be loved. It was always a fight for our hearts, always a fight for our human identity. The fight between fundamentalism and civilization is always that fight.

It is the human heart that the fundamentalist is at war with. Not sin. Not sinfulness. It is not depths to which humanity can sink that appall the fundamentalist, but the heights to which it can soar. It about resentment. Resentment toward those of us who are more fully human then they will ever be. An enemy who fights you from greed, who wants to take your land, or your country’s wealth, can be deterred through a show of resolve and strength. But an enemy that resents you for your joyful embrace of life can never be deterred. You have to get in their faces, and kick them in the ass until they stop looking at you that way, and go back into the gutter they crawled out of.

So where are our big national gay rights organizations, such as HRC, and the Gay Activists Alliance on this? As usual…nowhere to be seen. I’ve seen several national ad campaigns run by the ex gay ministries in the past few years. I’ve not seen one national ad campaign by the big civil rights groups, getting back in the ex-gay’s faces, and calling them for what they are. Not one. And while they’re busy wining and dining each other inside the Washington Beltway, gay kids are being systematically wrung through the fundamentalist hate machine, and spit back out empty shells of their former selves.

The next time one of the big gay groups asks me for money, I’m going to demand action. Action against the ex gay ministries. Action against the fundamentalist propaganda machine. Action Every Single Fucking Time One Of These Asswipes Raises Their Voice Against Homosexual People! That’s In Their Faces, jack…not a few polite words in opposition from behind the Washington beltway. From now on, my money is going only to grass roots organizations that are actually standing up and getting back in the face of the enemy. We’re in a knife fight with the anti-gay right. I will support from now on, only people that have some righteous fight in them, and who are hungry to engage the enemy. People who have seen for themselves the hope and joy gone from the faces of the innocents, and no longer have the stomach for politeness. We need warriors, not smoozing chit-chatting beltway partying lobbyists. I’ll lend my support to the warriors.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Friday June 17, 2005

Ouch!

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by Bruce Garrett | Link

The Ex-Gay Myth…

…is that they only want the right to choose for themselves. It’s the media line you hear from spokesdroids for the reparative therapy movement over and over again. Oh, we’re not trying to force anyone to change who doesn’t want to…we only want the right to try to change ourselves. We respect your choices, and all we’re asking is that you to respect our choices too… This myth is one of the tools in the rhetorical toolbox of the anti-gay fundamentalist right, which the reparative therapy movement is a wholly owned subsidiary of. Yesterday, “ex” gay John Smid availed himself of it, without any measurable irony, while trying to justify the forced incarceration of gay teens in his little camp:

Controversy over an individual's right to self-determination and choice in sexuality has recently been the subject of current debate.

The ex gays consistently present themselves in the media, as merely wanting the right to choose for themselves whether or not to be homosexual. They present the issue as being not one of civil rights, but of self determination, and themselves as defenders of self determination. But as events of the past two weeks have proven decisively, it’s a lie. They do believe in forcing change on people who are otherwise contented with who and what they are. The proof is here:

I pray this blows over. I can't take this... noone can... not really, this kind of thing tears you apart emotionally. To introduce THIS subject... I'm not a suicidal person... really I'm not.. I think it's stupid - really. But.. I can't help it, no im not going to commit suicide, all I can think about is killing my mother and myself. It's so horrible. This is what it's doing to me... I have this horrible feeling all of the time... I wish this on no person...

Until the ex-gay movement renounces coercive treatment, whether it’s against teens, young adults, or anyone, they cannot claim to be defenders of self determination. It is grotesquely Orwellian to listen to John Smid prattling about self determination, while he’s making money emotionally raping gay teenagers. For some time now, the ex-gay movement has been acting to disarm its critics with this self determinationist crap. But there can be no doubt now, about the sexual predator behind the mask. The gay community has every legitimate right now, to get back in their faces whenever and wherever they go on about their rights, and call them on their bullshit.

And to call them on the fundamental bullshit of the whole ex gay movement: this crap about there even being any such thing as an ex gay. There isn’t.

A good editorial by managing editor Kevin Naff in this week’s Washington Blade, makes a start. Titled Lock up the ‘ex-gays’, Naff argues forcefully:

Last month, the "ex-gay" crowd made headlines in Maryland, where they joined a lawsuit to block implementation of an updated sex education curriculum that included gay topics and a condom demonstration. The "ex-gays" are actually demanding that their views be included in health classes, which are ordinarily based on that quaint concept known as science.

The damage caused to young gays by the views of "ex-gays" should not be underestimated...

The ex-gay movement is part of a well orchestrated assault not just on the humanity of homosexual people, but to our very existence. These hard right fundamentalist organizations are eliminationist in their bedrock beliefs. Homosexuals are to them, as jews were to the nazis. That’s no hyperbole. Just this week Bill Banuchi, the executive director of the New York Christian Coalition, called for the outright labeling of gay people:

We put warning labels on cigarette packs because we know that smoking takes one to two years off the average life span, yet we 'celebrate' a lifestyle that we know spreads every kind of sexually transmitted disease and takes at least 20 years off the average life span according to the 2005 issue of the revered scientific journal Psychological Reports.

Never mind for a moment that this was another Paul Cameron report, and that Psychological Reports has utterly no respect at all in scientific circles, its publishers regularly accepting papers for print that other more rigorously peer reviewed journals wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole, as long as the authors pay a publication fee. As Billmon notes on the This Modern World blog, this directly harkens back to the pink triangles of the nazi era: the triangle shape of the badges concentration camp prisoners were made to wear, being deliberately patterned by the nazis after German traffic hazard signs.

The trademark ex-gay whine is that they only want to be respected for their own choices. The only answer it deserves is, Piss On You! As long as these so called ministries take in people who absolutely do not want to be there, they deserve contempt, and relentless opposition. They are not about encouraging self determination, but encouraging self hate. In particular, establishing self-hate where there may have been acceptance before: to gut a person’s heart of all the wonder and joy of life, and replace it with…nothing. It is all too often fatal for young gay people, and without a doubt, that is exactly the intent. It would be so easy otherwise, to simply refuse to take in people, and especially kids, who are unwilling. But those are exactly the ones they want most of all.

Once upon a time, Baptists believed that no profession of faith was valid, unless it was voluntary. That is why Baptists don’t (or didn’t used to) baptize children. Once upon a time, the steadfast belief was that we all had to make our way to God on our own, just as we are. But that seems like another age, long, long ago. The faith that has the bible belt by the nuts now isn’t the faith of the fathers, but of the dominionists, who are not at war with satan but with conscience. It is a throwback religion, not a faith, to a time before democracy was rediscovered in the west, to a time when church and state were one, the church you attended was dictated to you by law, and heretics, pagans, witches, and homosexuals were burned alive at the stake.

Now the bible belt has no need of faith. It has been usurped by a terrible militancy, that brooks no questions of faith, no doubts about its absolute righteousness, and above all, no awed humility in the presence of God. You have no right to awe, you must feel nothing but obedience to authority. Now, in the mega churches of the religious right, Jesus no longer teaches that the meek shall inherit the earth, but that might makes right, no longer says love thy neighbor, but hate the stranger. And especially, The only good gay, is a dead gay. Even if they are your neighbor. Even if they are your own child. Especially, if you are one of them.

This is why the ex-gay ministries exist. Not to help people make their own sexual choices, but to stigmatize homosexuals, to make our neighbors hate us, and more importantly, to make us hate ourselves. To legitimize violence against us. To push us to the brink of suicide, and over if possible. It is the message John Smid gave to at least one young gay man in his care. It may well have been the message Smid gave this week, to a gay teenager named Zach. God hates you. We hate you. The only good gay, is a dead gay…

The only people in the ex-gay movement that deserve respect, are the young inmates committed into them against their will, fighting, fighting to hold on to their human identity. They are prisoners of conscience, and in a just world, their keepers would be put behind bars, for very long terms as the child abusers they are. Kevin Naff concludes his editorial by saying:

...we must counter the damaging rhetoric of the "ex-gays" and ensure that young gays like Zach understand that they are perfectly normal as they are. Itís the "ex-gays" that belong in a reparative camp.

No. They belong in jail.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Thursday June 16, 2005

Some Developments

The story of how John Smid takes his own loathing out on gay teens, and the nightmare of one gay teen in his clutches, is gaining some traction now, finally, in the gay press. The New York Blade is running a story, as is Planet Out. Both of these are good articles.

The Queer Action Coalition site posted a brief message about the news conference called by Love (sic) In Action. They say they’ll have an mp3 of the conference posted later. I saw some chatter on the blogs that this news conference may have been called in response to a child endangerment charge filed on Zach’s behalf in Memphis, but I haven’t seen any confirmation of that. One can hope. The staff page of Love In Action is loaded with mostly ex-addicts and people with serious sexual issues of one sort or another. They’re very coy about it on the page, but I’m fairly certain the unnamed sexual issues revolve largely around homosexuality. Child endangerment is putting it mildly. Putting sexually at risk adolescents into this kind of environment, kids with self esteme issues, kids under great emotional stress, and forcing them to just completely submit to adults who have their own very real sexual issues, is dynamite that’s going to explode in somebody’s face. Somebody in local government down there needs to wake up.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

A Wee Controversy

John Smid shows us a little more of his devious, weaselly nature. If you think there’s a bottom to this man, think again. Regarding the impending (as I write this) Love (sic) In Action press conference today, Via The Flypaper Theory, I see some of John Smid’s press release

:

MEMPHIS, Tennessee, June 15, 2005: Love in Action International, a Christ-centered Memphis-based international recovery treatment center, is calling upon the community to extend open-minded consideration and tolerance towards young people with same-sex attraction who are currently undergoing the organizationís youth program called Refuge.

Controversy over an individual's right to self-determination and choice in sexuality has recently been the subject of current debate.

Controversy…did you say? Over an individual’s right to self-determination and choice in sexuality? No kidding…

Thank you for all of the comments and messages, they mean a lot. really. I was shocked to see all of this... of course I haven't been on a computer, phone, nor have I seen any friends in a week almost-- Soon. Soon, this will be all over. My mother has said the worst things to me for three days straight... three days. I went numb. That's the only way I can get through this. I agree, if you're thinking that these posts might be dramatized.. but the proof of the programs ideas are sitting in the rules. I pray this blows over. I can't take this... noone can... not really, this kind of thing tears you apart emotionally. To introduce THIS subject... I'm not a suicidal person... really I'm not.. I think it's stupid - really. But.. I can't help it, no im not going to commit suicide, all I can think about is killing my mother and myself. It's so horrible. This is what it's doing to me... I have this horrible feeling all of the time... I wish this on no person...

-Zach's Last Blog Entry Before Being Shipped Off To Love In Action

If there’s a controversy here, John Smid, over an individual’s right to self-determination and choice in sexuality, it’s one you’ve fucking created all on your very own, by taking into your program gay teens whose parents are forcing them into it. These kids are so terrified of you, and distraught over their fate, they are considering suicide. And at least one of your former clients says you once told him when he was in a suicidal state, that suicide would be preferable to living in pride and dignity, as a gay man.

I would rather you commit suicide than have you leave Love In Action wanting to return to the gay lifestyle. In a physical death you could still have a spiritual resurrection; whereas, returning to homosexuality you are yielding yourself to a spiritual death from which there is no recovery.

The Final Indoctrination from John Smid, Director, Love In Action

You believe in a right to self-determination and choice in sexuality Smid, like Al Capone believed in law and order.

Also under assault is the right of parents to determine appropriate therapeutic intervention for minor children according to social and personal conscience

Well Pesky Fly has exactly the right answer to that:

I don't think that's ever been the question. The question is, "is there something wrong with the kid?" Because if the answer is "no" (the medical and mental healthcare communities say no overwhelmingly) then this is an unnecessary surgery. It's like turning little John into little Jane because you always wanted a girl.

And "Therapy?" I think this could be the all important tell: Hey love in action, show us your academic bona fides!

Because-- and I might be wrong here but I don't think I am -- Love in Action is a ministry, not a clinic. John Smid's title is Reverend not Doctor.

Look, if you want to raise your kid to be a niggerjewfag-hating crackerass cracker, that's your business and there's not a thing anybody can do about it and that's how it should be, I fucking guess. But if you get breast implants for your 5-year-old, maybe there's something wrong with YOU. Our children aren't pets and they aren't toys to be neutered or broken for our pleasure.

Just so. There are limits to how much weight even a parent’s religious beliefs can be given, when it comes to the health and well being of their children. Parents have every right to instruct kids in whatever religious beliefs they themselves hold, but they can be held accountable in courts of law if they withhold necessary medical treatment out of those same religious beliefs, or if they abuse their kids in the name of those beliefs. A kid comes to school all bruised and withdrawn one day, with a tooth or two knocked out, and the kid’s parent’s can’t tell the judge the next day that they have the right to beat the steaming shit out of them when they sass back, because the bible says so.

What is under assault here is the right of gay kids to have the same chances in life, the same opportunities to grow up healthy, well adjusted and strong, as their heterosexual peers. John Smid, and others like him in the so-called reparative therapy movement, are parasites, preying on the anger and on the fears of parents, who have been taught by the religious right to hate homosexuals. Smid and his kind are hucksters at best, and gutter crawling ministers of bigotry and hate at worst, not bringing families in need closer together in mutual love, but teaching parents to hate their own children and those children, sometimes fatally, to hate themselves.

And Smid has said that if all else fails, death will do. There’s your love in action, John Smid style. So much for an individual’s right to self-determination and choice in sexuality. Somebody ask this unlicensed quack if he’s ever refunded the money of parents of kids who have killed themselves after being counciled by him.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

A Request From fightinghomophobia.blogspot.com

This came in my mailbox just a moment ago. If you are reading this and you’re in the Memphis Area please go and show your support. Even better, if you know of any Former “Love In Action” Clients, or licensed therapists who would be willing to attend, send this along to them. Thank you.

WE HAVE A VERY IMPORTANT REQUEST FOR ALL OF MEMPHIS. Tomorrow morning, Thursday June 16th, please spread the word and attend the protest in front of Love In Action, 4780 Yale Rd. Memphis, TN at 8:30 Am. Love In Action has called a press conference for 11:00am, and we need to be out there all morning showing our biggest display of TRUE LOVE IN ACTION.

IMPORTANT...since the press will be there, we'll have to also answer questions before and/or after the press conference. WE NEED ANY FORMER "LOVE IN ACTION" CLIENTS, AND LICENSED THERAPISTS who would be willing to talk to the media. If you have more info about, please call Morgan at 901-335-3740.

We ask that everyone all help spread the word about this protest and help make this the largest show of support possible. We encourage everyone to visit fightinghomophobia.blogspot.com for links to get more information about Love in Action, and organizations that work to expose the practices of the Ex-Gay movement. It is very important that we are all very knowledgeable about the practices of these organizations, so that we understand how to speak out against and further educate people about the stance we take in regard to what they're doing.

It is also very important that all messages, and signs are positive, and supportive.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS YOU CAN. SEE YOU IN THE MORNING!

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Wednesday June 15, 2005

If They Don’t Resist, It Means They Want It…

John Smid just continues to let the world see a little more, and a little more of that open sewer he calls a conscience every day. Today on the Queer Action Coalition site, they’ve posted a synopsis of a TV interview between Smid and Brandon Tidwell, who was once a participant in Smid’s little treatment program and now rejects their teachings and their methods.

Bear in mind that in the Memphis Commercial Appeal article that was just published the other day, Smid was saying that it’s not LIA’s goal “to make sure clients never act out in homosexual relationships.”

The mission, he says, is to help the teens make informed, honest decisions about their sexual choices, and to seek God's best for their life.

Oh how progressive. But he’s apparently got another version ready, for times when he’s confronted by someone who was actually in his program:

Brandon Tidwell lives his life as an openly gay man but years ago he wasn't as proud so he turned to Love In Action in hopes it would change his life...and it did, "They're representing the radical extreme element of evangelical faith." Tidwell says he soon realized the Love in Action program wasn't working for him, "There were rules, intimidation techniques, manipulation and poor counseling or inappropriate counseling techniques used to continue to shame and guilt and manipulate people." Program director John Smid disagrees, "People come out of being here stronger, better, more authentic, more real, more honest and more potentially able to lead a positive life than when they came." Smid says his program which is based in Memphis and currently has 19 members doesn't dispute some people are born gay instead it teaches not to act on those feelings, "It is a form of re-thinking, it is a form of therapeutic principals to help us think differently so that we respond differently with the choices we have."

So now it’s why yes…making sure clients never act out in homosexual relationships is Exactly what we try to do… Not bad, for a guy who expects his teenaged inmates to abide by this:

Group Norms

1. Be honest, authentic, and real.

Smid would also like to disabuse us of the idea that his little camp for gay teens is in any way a prison:

John Smid said he wants people to know the program is voluntary. The teens that take part are often sent by their parents but he says they can leave on their own and if they resist the program they are asked to leave.

But the question of how voluntary Smid’s little camp is for gay teens, is easily clarified by those teen’s own words on the matter…when that is, they’re allowed to speak their own words. Just last night, one of them posted this on the open comments section of Zach’s blog:

my parents threatened to kick me out if i went to the protests because their friend, john smidt, is the guy in charge or whatever and they agree with what he is doing. i am with you in spirit. they were going to send me too but can't afford the ridiculous amount of money to traumatize and psychologicall damage me.

And of course, there is always Zach’s own last post, before entering Smid’s little camp:

Thank you for all of the comments and messages, they mean a lot. really. I was shocked to see all of this... of course I haven't been on a computer, phone, nor have I seen any friends in a week almost-- Soon. Soon, this will be all over. My mother has said the worst things to me for three days straight... three days. I went numb. That's the only way I can get through this. I agree, if you're thinking that these posts might be dramatized.. but the proof of the programs ideas are sitting in the rules. I pray this blows over. I can't take this... noone can... not really, this kind of thing tears you apart emotionally. To introduce THIS subject... I'm not a suicidal person... really I'm not.. I think it's stupid - really. But.. I can't help it, no im not going to commit suicide, all I can think about is killing my mother and myself. It's so horrible. This is what it's doing to me... I have this horrible feeling all of the time... I wish this on no person...

In no sense of the word are these teens there in Smid’s secluded little camp ‘voluntarily’ unless the word ‘voluntary’ has simply lost all meaning. They may not be overtly resisting, but that does not mean they’re there voluntarily. It could simply mean they’re too terrified to resist, too afraid of what their parents will do to them if Smid decides to flunk them out. And there is no way Smid himself doesn’t understand this, no way he does not know perfectly well the circumstances by which these children are delivered to him. Sorry as it is, it’s one thing for a grown adult who has been taught all his life to hate his sexuality, to agree to let a witch doctor like Smid try and voodoo it out of them, and another for a parent to force a kid who seems perfectly happy with what they are into it. It isn’t voluntary, if the kid doesn’t want to be there. Once again, Smid is playing with words. Once again, Smid is being subtly deceptive. He’s a cunning little weasel. So are a lot of child abusers. Ask any cop, or any shrink, that deals with them on a regular basis.

And something else they’ll tell you, is that abusers often place the responsibility for what they did, on the kid….

...they can leave on their own and if they resist the program they are asked to leave.

They didn’t resist. That means they wanted it…

No John…it doesn’t.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

A Little Housekeeping

The blog archive’s page is back up to date. I had a backlog of pages to enter into it because I’m making the archive pages smaller now, out of bandwidth considerations. So instead of archiving everything for several months onto a single big page, it’ll just be a couple weeks worth at most to keep the pages smaller. That way my host isn’t feeding huge pages back at people who are only hitting my archive on random google searches…like…

windows boot screen lesbian

staff of peter brotherhood limited

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answers to the lotr plaza halls of knowledge tests

who discovered the frist pocket calculator (Yes…that spelling was in the search string. I wonder how many pages on Bill Frist this user got before they realized their mistake…)

payback heroin story

karla faye tucker carlson george bush impersonation

…and other topics I’ve written extensively about in the past.

by Bruce Garrett | Link

Visit The Woodward Class of '72 Reunion Website For Fun And Memories, WoodwardClassOf72.com


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