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Ex-gay leader admits changing sexuality is unlikely

Ex-gay leader admits changing sexuality is unlikely

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Alan Chambers apologizes for decades of saying 'change is possible'
The head of a Florida-based, ex-gay Christian organization, which for decades has promoted a message of “freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ,” told an Orlando conference that the majority of people he has met are still gay.

“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.

Chambers’ statement is a marked departure from one he made during an April 2004 University of California same-sex marriage debate, in which he claimed he was “one of tens of thousands of people whom have successfully changed their sexual orientation.” The statement is posted on the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) website.

“Change is possible and I am living proof. I used to be homosexual and today I am not,” Chambers said in that statement.

“To be clear,” he continued, “I did not choose my same-sex attractions nor did I willfully adopt a homosexual orientation, but my response to both, my behaviors, were a choice.”

At this month’s conference, however, Chambers clearly distanced himself from his organization’s longstanding “Change is possible” mantra.

“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.”

Wayne Besen, the founder and executive director of Truth Wins Out, a non-profit organization that challenges ex-gay ministries, is skeptical of Chambers’ sincerity.

“This is somebody who is so serially dishonest, and changes what he says so frequently, his words are essentially meaningless,” Besen alleges. “We’re gratified that he has confirmed what we’ve been saying since the founding of our group in 2006: that efforts to change are ineffective.”

Besen feels the big test that will determine if Chambers’ views have really evolved will come on Feb 18. That’s when Exodus will stage one of its signature Love Won Out conferences in Atlanta, Georgia.

“Will there be a change in the divisive rhetoric?" Besen asks. “If the message is exactly the same as all the other Love Won Outs, Mr Chambers was just, as he tends to do, morphing his message to fit his audience, rather than legitimate,” he alleges. “What happens when he gets in front of either a red-meat crowd of conservatives or parents who are paying his salary to help their kids try to change?”

Tailoring messages to specific groups is nearly impossible in the contemporary communications landscape, Besen points out. “The internet’s been invented,” he quips. “You can’t do that anymore. The whole world hears you.”

For Besen, there’s a larger question at play.

“If 99.9 percent of people don’t change — it’s probably 100 percent — why is Exodus still in business? It seems to me that if they’re not effective at praying the gay away, as they once promised . . . why?”

Chambers’ executive assistant, Chris Stump, told Xtra on Jan 19 that neither Chambers nor Exodus vice-president Jeff Buchanan were available for comment.

Stump says Chambers will be “writing something for our website on his experience [at GCN]. I’m just not sure when that’s going to be up, hopefully sometime next week. Honestly, that’s the best we can do right now.”

Stump says he doesn’t know if Chambers plans to repeat his remarks at the Love Won Out conference next month.

Exodus International’s website still promotes titles like Straight Answers: Exposing the Myths and Facts about Homosexuality from its Love Won Out series and purports to help young people “learn the truth to help either themselves or their friends who may be tempted by same-sex desires.”

Conference recordings, like “The Power of Praying for Your SSA Children,” are also available for purchase. Described as a workshop, it provides “steps on how to partner with God to see His will done in the lives of our children affected by same-sex attraction.”

And the mission of the organization’s student ministries still reads, “Mobilizing the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality.”

Besen isn’t taking any chances. He says his organization will partner with GetEqual, an American queer advocacy group, to counter Atlanta’s Love Won Out conference next month with a seminar and protests.

Comments

Stop Exgay Pseudo- "Therapy"
People have died as a result of these fundie mindfuckers intimidating vulnerable people and warping their attitudes toward their own sexuality. I know of two fatalities in New Zealand alone, and we have one of the world's weakest such movements.
"Reparative Therapy" is Dangerous
For over a decade the BC Teachers' Federation has had policy that is opposed to the false notion that sexual orientation can be changed. Groups like NARTH and EXODUS are lying when they say that people can change their sexual orientation. Students need more LGBTQ role models in schools and supportive heterosexual teachers who stand up to this kind of quackery which is still foisted upon LGBTQ students by their conservative families, church leaders and communities.
No Cure Needed
"Reparative therapy" is quack psychology at it worst. First of all, being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered is not an illness or sin, but a gift to be lived in ways that are healthy for the person and the community. As a Christian, I go even further, believing that our sexual orientation or gender identity is a gift from God and can be used to make the world better for everyone. There is nothing that needs repair. Secondly, so-called "ex-Gay" ministries or "reparative therapy has been the cause of great harm and hurt as people believe they are "cured" of their homosexuality and enter into heterosexual marriages – and then find themselves unable to give true love and intimacy to their partner. This hurts everyone involved, including children from such a union. Some men and women commit suicide when they try to change and can't. Others are rejected by their birth families for not changing or not completing so-called "treatment" by ex-Gay "therapists". People like Alan Chambers need to go much further than admitting it is unlikely to change a person's sexual orientation. They need to stop doing what they are doing and convert their energies to helping LGBT people live their sexuality in ways that are healthy and bring happiness to themselves and others.
Are there such people as Muslim ex-gays?
Hey Xtra, what's the position of Muslim organizations regarding why people are gay? It would be great if you could do a story about Muslim organizations in North America and around the world and the genesis of being gay.
Fraud........
Do the nasty pieces of work know how much damage they have done over the past 30 years? I wouldnt believe a word that came out of any of their mouths
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