What's the Opposite of Homosexuality? "Holysexuality," Says "Pray the Gay Away" Group

Categories: Spaced City, Texas

gay protest2.jpg
Photo by Mandy Oaklander
Protesters say you can't pray gay away.
Outside of the Sugar Creek Baptist Church on Saturday afternoon, about 70 protesters lined the service road waving rainbow signs. Cars honked along with their chants of "We are holy, we are queer!" A dozen protesters were students from the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts -- one of whom almost attended a similar convention, but instead decided to accept himself and come out. The rest of the crowd came with their churches or partners or spouses. They all waited for young Christians to file out of the church on their lunch break from the nine-hour, anti-gay "Love Won Out" seminar.

"Love Won Out" is an event hosted four times a year across the country by Exodus International, an organization founded in 1976 that claims to heal homosexuality through Christ. Sessions are taught by "ex-gays" -- men and women who were once homosexuals but who were able to change their sexual orientation through the power of Jesus Christ. Attendees chose from workshops like "Understanding Female Homosexuality and "Reaching IN to the Gay Community: What Would Jesus Do?" At $75 bucks a ticket, about 450 people attended the conference in Houston this year. According to Exodus, 40 percent of them are married.

Wayne Besen, who coordinated Saturday's protest, is the founder of Truth Wins Out, an organization that fights anti-gay religious extremism. He's been investigating Exodus International for years, and even photographed Exodus's chairman John Paulk at a gay bar in D.C., which led to Paulk's removal.

"That's something you won't have in the brochure, I'll tell you that," he said. Recently, Besen led the petition drive that caused Apple to remove Exodus's iPhone app. "It's a whole history of folly and failure that's not being told to the people here."

Research has proven ex-gay programs to be dangerous. According to a study released in 2009, the American Psychological Association found that ex-gay therapy could be destructive. When people try to change their sexual orientation and fail, they encounter depression, negative self-image and thoughts of suicide, the study says. "Acceptance is critical to the health and well-being of our LGBT youth," Besen said. "They've got it backwards."

yc pray2.jpg
Photo by Mandy Oaklander
This young couple is engaged to each other, despite the wife-to-be's gay thoughts.
One Christian couple, who declined to give their names, wanders out from the church among the protesters. They're both 19. Through tears, the girl says she struggles with homosexual feelings. She's engaged to the boy standing next to her, who's debating with the protesters.

"We just want you to know it's okay to be who you are," says a protester from the crowd. "God loves you as you are. He doesn't expect you to change."

"Yes, God loves us as we are," responds the boy. "No more, no less. But that doesn't mean he is not expecting us to change to have a relationship with us."

Besen jumps in. "They tell you you're on a journey, they tell you you're going somewhere, but you're really on a stationary bicycle," he says. "We're here to tell you that you can love God just the way you are. It's okay to be who you are, and not who they want you to be."

The boy challenges Besen to cite a supporting scripture, and it devolves into Biblical cherry picking. Still sobbing, the girl and her fiancé retreat back into the church for the afternoon session.

Inside, Exodus has transformed the church into a homophobic book fair. Men and women in their twenties browse selections like My Daddy's Secret and 101 Frequently Asked Questions about Homosexuality. No one looks overjoyed to be here.


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Manwhoisnotgoingtoburn
Manwhoisnotgoingtoburn

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Revelation 21:8

Jacobpressures
Jacobpressures

I don't like exodus. Nevertheless, this article is horrible and the author should be fired!

chef504
chef504

"Pray the Gay Away", that is pretty pretty ridiculous. I have had many and still have many gay friends, and they are gay. There is no question about what they would rather do on a weekend night. I also have gay friends that are married in non gay marriages. Thing is they are still gay, but just letting someone pinch hit for their desired partner, "sometimes". Frankly, I have no idea why people would want to pray the gay away. Their lives are filled with fun, rallies, parties, and festivals. All with lots of colors, and plenty of drinking. I can't believe these folks spent $75 on tickets to a show like the one at that church. Sounds very non "gay". Life is just too damn short to not geaux out, and be as happy as you can with whoever the fuck you want. 9 months to consummate the marriage huh. I'm sure thats what "god" had in mind as his plan. My final question is; who is this god person, and who gives a fuck what he thinks?

Travis
Travis

"At $75 bucks a ticket, about 450 people attended the conference in Houston this year."

Uh-huh

H_e_x
H_e_x

How depressing. People who are surrounded by family and so called loved ones who can't accept them for who they are.

Wyatt
Wyatt

"This young couple is engaged to each other, despite the wife-to-be's gay thoughts"

This is DEFINITELY going to work out

Allison
Allison

OK so I think events like this and "Praying away the gay" are complete bullshit and harmful to the people involved, and I can't speak towards that couples relationship (though I tend to agree with you) or even Chambers marriage.... but I do want to point out that it is entirely possible to have a successful heterosexual relationship when one or both partners has gay thoughts. Bisexuals, we do exist.

I'll now let you return to the justified snarking ;)

Gaff in a Head Act
Gaff in a Head Act

The human sex drive exists on a spectrum, with lots of branches (unlike some of the pious' family trees). Some dial it waaay down (to no urges towards either sex); some take it other directions.

So you go your road, President Perry; I'll go mine. I'm hetero (in this lifetime, anyway), but who am I to judge???

furioso ateo
furioso ateo

It's so sad how miserable everyone in that church must feel.

Intolerant of intolerance
Intolerant of intolerance

I used to work with someone who went to church there (probably still in its clutches); she kept trying to assure me that the Church of Christ has cleaned up its act and is not a monument to judgmental crap. All I remember is, when I used to visit one in West Texas, they told me over and over I was going to hell -- I was 15 and as yet had done nothing that would land me there! -- UNLESS I bought into their party line, told their way.

Hell is here on Earth, and "churches" like this foster it. Like the First Baptist Church? Their child care officially used corporal punishment (back in the day; who knows, now). It kept them from getting accredited by the state.

I pray for these pushy, obnoxious, baby-beating sinners!!

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