Christopher Jay Hall, founder and executive director of Central Arizona Rainbow Education (CARE), infiltrated an "ex-gay" conference in Phoenix, Arizona on February 19th. The Love Won Out conference, hosted by Exodus International, promotes so-called "reparative therapy" under the assumption that homosexuality is a disorder that can be cured. Hall's account of the symposium has been posted at Raging Pride, and I encourage readers to check it out.
Hall summarizes some of the unhealthy messages he heard at the Love Won Out conference in his report. For example, he laments the lack of empathy that speakers exhibited toward transgender persons.
"It was hard for some of the speakers to grasp the concept of respect when it came to transgender issues. They said they were going to call a person by the way god intended them to be, not by what they wish. This really irked me especially the way it was presented and the audience laughed and agreed with every hateful word."Hall also questioned speakers' assumptions about LGBT people, addiction, and other psychopathologies.
"The gay gene is like any other gene that cause alcoholism, violent behavior, depression, etc. They are all unwanted genes that have a negative impact on our lives. Well, let me tell you, I am a happy homosexual who wants to be the way I am."On a positive note, Hall spent time among his supportive LGBT community afterwards, giving him an opportunity to offer supportive outreach to others.
"When I left the conference with the anti-homosexual philosophy behind me and our supporting LGBTQ community in front of us peacefully gathering to let these individuals know they are loved regardless of what they may have been forced to listen to, I felt as though I was going home."
Read the whole thing. I applaud Hall for observing Love Won Out and sharing his observations at Raging Pride. The more people who shine lights into Religious Right events, the easier it will be to hold Religious Right groups accountable.