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Exodus head Alan Chambers: ex-gay therapy offers false hope

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Exodus head Alan Chambers: ex-gay therapy offers false hope

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI - Exodus International head Alan Chambers has been repeatedly distancing himself from his organization's "change is possible" mantra, much to the intense chagrin of those still devoted to the idea that all gay people need to rid themselves of homosexuality is a good dose of prayer and therapy.

“I would say the majority, meaning 99.9 percent of them, have not experienced a change in their orientation or have gotten to a place where they could say that they could never be tempted, or are not tempted in some way or experience some level of same-sex attraction,” Alan Chambers told a Gay Christian Network (GCN) conference on Jan 6.

“We’re not using change as a slogan anymore,” he said. “I’m very, very clear to say, we used ‘Change is possible’ for so many years, and it was used on me, and we used it, and the people who used it wanted it to mean something more than it did . . . but we don’t use that phrase anymore.”

“I am sorry that that is something we used,” he said when asked by a GCN conference panellist if Exodus had apologized for using the phrase over a 30-year period. “This is something we regret very much being ambiguous about, because I don’t think ambiguity with this subject is helpful, so that is something that we’re very, very sorry about.” 

Now, in a July 6 story, The New York Times quotes Chambers as saying there is no cure for homosexuality, and so-called reparative therapy is an exercise in false hope for gays, and might even be harmful. 

According to The Times, accusations of heresy have been levelled against Chambers for his reevaluation, seen as causing a rift in the ex-gay movement.  

Chambers is not the only prominent proponent of conversion therapy who has apologized. In May, none other than retired psychiatrist Robert Spitzer retracted claims in a controversial 2001 study he conducted that claimed "highly motivated" gays and lesbians could change their sexual orientation. "In retrospect, I have to admit I think the critiques are largely correct," Spitzer said.

And in a statement of apology on the site Beyond Ex-Gay, co-founder and former leader of Exodus Michael Bussee calls himself a proud gay man and says groups like Exodus will go out of business when people no longer feel that they must deny who they really are to attempt to become what they really are not.

Last year, John Smid, a former director of ex-gay ministry Love in Action, came out as gay, saying it's impossible to change one's sexual orientation.  


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