Can Ex-Gay Pride Month Match that of Gay Pride?

 

If you’re upset that June’s Gay Pride month has ended, you can change your tune and celebrate for another full month by revoking your gay status.

In response to the increasing acceptance and equal legal standing of lgbtq people in the United States, the Family Research Council is launching two new ex-gay organizations and sponsoring a dinner in Washington DC to cap what they are calling the first annual “Ex-Gay Pride Month.” The new organizations Voice of the Voiceless, a lobbying group whose work is “to defend the rights of former homosexuals, individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction, and their families,” and Equality and Justice for All, sought a Presidential Proclamation (that has not come) in June to acknowledge the month of July to “recognize the unique experiences of ex-gays and former homosexuals and celebrate their existence in American culture.”

While advertising as having events throughout, the main focus is a dinner being held in DC at the end of the month. The groups cite that since DC protects ex-gays under its non-discrimination laws pursuant to a 2009 district court case filed by Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays it is the only safe city to meet and celebrate. The invitation for the dinner bills the event “to celebrate the lives of former homosexuals and hear about their unique stories and achievements!” Those invited to speak include Representative Michele Bachmann, Representative Tim Huelskamp, former Senator Jim DeMint—all whom greatly oppose gay rights, board members of Voice of the Voiceless, and other ex-gay ministry organizations.

This event comes at a poor time in the ex-gay movement. Mid-June, Exodus International announced that they would be closing after 37 years of advising ex-gays and using conversion therapy. This Orlando-based group was the largest in ministry-based conversions and was situated worldwide.

The President of Exodus International Alan Chambers released an apology entitled “I Am Sorry”  aimed at the lgbtq community. He wanted to detail what he saw was wrong with the work his organization did and on what he would be working to change it. Acknowledging the highly-criticized methods rejected by the American Psychological Association, among others, Chambers said, “I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents.”

Many people have criticized the ex-gay movement as being harmful in the way it “cures” people of their homosexuality and by basing what they do on improper science. Others have criticized the notion of the ex-gay movement needing a pride month, stating that ex-gays are not denied rights and aren’t discriminated against, they are simply not accepted by the lgbtq community, whom they work against.

While the events of the “Ex-Gay Pride Month” are advertised as celebrating people, with those advertised to attend and speak it will most likely turn into a forum for denouncing and vilifying the lgbtq rights movement and to try to drum up support for a failing business model.