Saturday, March 3, 2012

Steve Deace Interviews PFOX President Greg Quinlan

During the third hour of the February 7th episode of The Deace Show, Steve Deace interviewed Greg Quinlan, president of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX). PFOX is a prominent organization in the so-called "ex-gay" movement, and has drawn criticism from LGBT equality groups such as Truth Wins Out, SPLC, and GLSEN. PFOX created controversy in February when it sent home 8,000 flyers to students in five Maryland schools advertising so-called "reparative therapy" (see here and here). To boot, Truth Wins Out announced on February 22nd that it was filing a defamation lawsuit against PFOX and Greg Quinlan, after Quinlan reportedly made inflammatory comments about the organization on News-Plus with Mark Segraves.

Deace began the interview by describing Quinlan as "a man who doesn't exist, according to pop culture, the media, and the indoctrination you're getting in your government school." Lambasting the "politically correct mafia" on college campuses who claim that ex-gays do not exist, as well as alleged "propaganda tools" such as anti-bullying legislation, Deace legitimized Quinlan and the "ex-gay" movement.

Quinlan introduced himself at the 3:31 mark as a successful ex-gay man, insisting that there were many like him in the world.
"I'm an ex-gay. I'm someone who left the homosexual lifestyle. Since no one's born that way, and since people seem to be able to change and it's okay and politically correct and acceptable to change from straight to gay, why can't you change from gay to straight, which is exactly what I did? ... There are hundreds of thousands of people who've left the homosexual lifestyle, but few of us have the insanity to go public about it and let people know that change is possible."
First of all, homosexuality and bisexuality are not "lifestyles," but sexual orientations. One's sexual orientation does not automatically indicate how one will fashion one's life. Cross-country RVing is a lifestyle. Veganism is a lifestyle. Bodybuilding is a lifestyle. Being gay or lesbian is not. Second, where is the evidence that reparative therapy is successful at changing sexual orientation?

Quinlan claimed that those who promote the ex-gay movement face hostility. He claimed that he has been smeared, called named, and even "slugged" outside of a Chicago church where he spoke. This was
not the first time that Quinlan publicly claimed that his rivals have hurled vitriol at him.

Regarding same-sex marriage, Quinlan asserted at the 5:09 mark that "Marriage equality is just bogus. There's no such thing as equality with two men or two women." He argued that civil rights come into play when a minority is defined by something innate and immutable, and the group cannot protect itself. Same-sex marriage is not a civil right because homosexuality is supposedly not innate, but a choice. As SPLC's Sam Wolfe and Truth Wins Out's Wayne Besen said at a December 2011 talk, this is a common trope that the ex-gay movement uses to attack LGBT rights. Why grant the LGBT community a place at the table when they can just change into straight people? the flimsy argument goes.

At the 8:11 mark, Quinlan insisted that homosexuality was a choice, resorting to the discredited argument that childhood sexual abuse can allegedly turn someone gay.
"Many of the people you talk to individually without the press there, without the agenda, know they aren't born that way. They know it's a choice, but you see, the problem with choices is sometimes choices are sometimes made for you. I was sexually molested when I was ten years old. I was introduced to pornography when I was nine. Those were choices made for me and choices I continued to follow up on because I was interested."
Quinlan offensively claimed that gays and lesbians "recruit" young people, and that LGBT youth organizations such as GLSEN allegedly have this as their goal. At the 9:09 mark, he made this outrageous statement.
"So what do you do when [homosexuality is] not innate? You have to recruit. You have to find more people like you or that are vulnerable to be like you and bring them into the fold. This is why it is such an imperative with organizations like GLSEN with what your Republican governor is doing to educate children about their options sexually."
Deace made a somewhat convoluted argument at the 15:59 mark that acknowledging sexual orientation supposedly ignores the notion that people are made in the image of God. In a breathtaking reversal, he essentially argued that by denying LGBT people recognition, one is affirming their dignity.
DEACE: By affirming these phony -- and I just think it's pagan, frankly -- notions of sexual orientation, we are actually advancing the premise of the other side, and we're actually devaluing our own premise, which is that ... every human being is so much more than the sum parts of their choices and desires, that they are created in the image of God, and when we focus on orientation of behaviors we are devaluing their ... imago dei, and we're actually helping their own side cannibalize really their own, the value of their own lives. What are your thoughts on that?"

QUINLAN: You're absolutely right, and I like the word that you used here -- cannibalize -- because there is a scientific term that's called that. I want to have sex with that man so I can be like him, so I can become a part of him. It's a sexual, emotional cannibalization. That person has something I want. They look better than I do. They're more muscular than I am. They're more virile than I am, or whatever the reason is, they have something I want, and it's a type of what we call an emotional or sexual cannibalism ... We have lost our way because we denied we are made by a creator.
Predictably, Deace argued that acceptance of the LGBT community is a sign of societal decline. At the 18:11 mark, Deace insisted that no society, no matter how supposedly depraved, had ever "mainstreamed this level of immorality."

"Even in the darkest, most pagan cultures, like ancient Rome where Nero married a male slave inside the Roman Senate, never in human history have we had a human civilization, no matter how dark, how pagan, how unenlightened, that has mainstreamed this level of immorality to the point of  teaching its own children that it was okay at at young age, that they were willing to redefine their own cultural institutions and the basic framework of the rule of law in order to validate it. This has never happened anywhere ever in human history like it's happening in Western civilization right now."
I find it interesting that his watermark of a truly "dark" society was not slavery, genocide, tyranny, oppression of women, disease, or ignorance, but acceptance of LGBT people.

At the 18:50 mark, Quinlan told listeners that teaching children to accept LGBT people was a sign that parents and churches had abnegated their responsibilities. He alleged that society is encouraging children to "experiment," a dubious claim we've heard before.
"The real scare here is what we're doing to children. We are teaching children it's okay. We're teaching them to experiment. Parents have abrogated the responsibility to raising their children, to teaching them these fundamentals such as the birds and the bees of sexuality, and we've surrendered it to the schools. This is where we have got to stop this, and  parents have got to start being parents, and the church has to be the church."

For being the president of an organization that claims to care about homosexuals, Greg Quinlan showed great contempt for LGBT people and their rights on The Deace Show. By resorting to fear tactics and weak, outdated arguments, Quinlan demonstrated that he does not have the best interest of LGBT people at heart. In conclusion, Quinlan's interview reminds us that the so-called "ex-gay" movement is yet another strategy by the far right to undermine LGBT equality.

Hat tip to
Right Wing Watch. To listen to the episode, visit stevedeace[dot]com/news/national-politics/deace-show-podcast-02-07-12/


  1. We can't go backward. That is all.

  2. We have it all here; gay people choose to be gay, being gay/acceptance of being gay is "pagan" (and good, wholesome Christian society recognizes how wrong gay is), gay people "turn" gay because they were molested, gay people recruit and Teh Homosexual Agenda. The same tired BS being preached, yet they wonder why they're ignored by rational society.

  3. Nance -- We cannot. We must not. We've come too far as a society to go back now.

    As a side note, my apologies for the small font. I tried to change it to normal font, but it won't comply. Maybe something weird is going on with Blogger.

  4. Buffy -- It gives me great comfort that more and more people are rejecting the ex-gay nonsense.

  5. "I find it interesting that his watermark of a truly 'dark' society was not slavery, genocide, tyranny, oppression of women, disease, or ignorance, but acceptance of LGBT people."


    LGBT can't be ex- any more than I can be ex-Caucasian.

  6. Michelle -- People who left the ex-gay movement, and are still gay or lesbian, would agree!

  7. While Quinlan is clearly messed up and confused about his identity, the way he essentially advocates hate against the LGBT community is appalling.

    The harm caused by Quinlan's behavior is analogous to that caused by women who champion the anti-woman attitudes and policies of the religious right.

    What is wrong with these people?

  8. Cognitive Dissenter -- Interesting, how people like this can "affirm" the dignity of gay people and then demonize them moments later.

    Like right-wing women, he's an example of someone who has been turned against his own people through through self-hatred and internalized homophobia. Oppressors will often use them as tools against the oppressed.


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