Every year, thousands of men and women with same-sex attraction make the personal decision to leave homosexuality. Unfortunately, many in society refuse to respect this decision. Consequently, formerly gay men and women are reviled simply because they exist. Without PFOX, former homosexuals would have no voice in this hostile environment. A support group provides a safe place for their voices to be heard.
PFOX believes that a program of public awareness, family support, education, and public policy advocacy are essential to achieving complete social acceptance of ex-gays. We also believe that active participation in PFOX activities is productive and therapeutic for the community.
Society will truly be free when all aspects of homosexuality are better understood—including ex-gays and their supporters. They should not be discriminated against or made to feel ashamed to speak out and give others hope. Ex-gays will know society completely embraces them when we love them enough to stand up and fight for their rights. PFOX welcomes all who wish to pursue this goal.
What is a PFOX Support Group?
No man is an island, and that is why a support group advances PFOX’s mission of helping ex-gays and parents and friends of gays who want help, hope and community.
We believe that every person seeking positive life change needs the love and support of friends, family, and the community. That’s why we offer a place for help and hope where ex-gays can honestly and freely talk about same-sex attraction.
- *Provides mutual support and encouragement in dealing with issues and concerns related to a loved one’s homosexuality
- *Provides a safe, confidential environment where individuals are free to share their thoughts and feelings
- *Provides an outlet for those who are going through similar experiences
- *Provides information, resources and personal testimonies (videos, speakers) that are not easily or publicly accessible
- *Provides opportunities to support the ex-gay community
Take this quiz to see if you are ready to start your own PFOX group. Answering, “Yes,” to the following will determine if you are up for the challenge:
1. Do you have an interest in helping the ex-gay community?
2. Do you have an understanding of homosexuality and its development, and believe that homosexuals deserve the right to choose change, and that change is possible?
3. Do you have the time to start and run a PFOX group? Are you prepared for this long-term commitment?
4. Are you a self-starter that does not mind humbly working behind the scenes to start and maintain a local group?
5. Are you willing to solely facilitate and manage your group even when there is no one else who can help?
Local groups are formed when the PFOX office approves the application form of a person or persons who want to start a group in his or her area. PFOX accepts group applications from ex-gays and their parents, family members, friends, and other supportive individuals of the ex-gay community.
Groups are started by ordinary people like you who decided to be proactive and help ex-gays and their family and friends in need. Remember, no one is expected to have all of the answers! A group can be started by anyone. All that is required is a little courage and a lot of commitment.
Although starting a group is free, we appreciate any donations to advance PFOX’s mission. All donations are tax-deductible.
Are you an existing ministry, support group, or ex-gay organization, wanting to join the PFOX network? If so, welcome! Please check the appropriate box on the PFOX group application.
Tips for Forming a Group
•Meetings should be held in a public place like a church or public library which offers ample parking. A room or building outside of a private home will be able to accommodate membership growth.
•Contact your pastor, ex-gay organizations, local churches, counselors, the YMCA or YWCA, public libraries, etc. for available space. Ask Alcoholics Anonymous where they meet.
•Meeting sites should be easily accessible by members. Groups should have their meetings in the same place so that members will always know where to go and what to expect. Having a familiar meeting place is comforting to members, especially if they just start attending, drop out and then later decide to return to the group.
•Once you have found a suitable place, set a time and date for your first meeting.
In the group’s initial stages, word of mouth will be an effective way to grow. The media is also a good way to reach potential members to maximize group growth.
Here are some savvy media tips:
• Contact the editors of the appropriate department of your local newspapers and explain the group’s activities. Given PFOX’s mission, some news outlets might consider it news worthy and may want to cover a new local group. Be sure to mention the time and place of your meetings and the group’s contact person.
• Call your local radio and TV stations to inquire if they run public service announcements of organization meetings in your area. If so, find out what details they require and the deadline to submit your group’s information.
• Write a press release and distribute it to both small and large community publications. Many churches also have bulletins announcing community meetings and other events. Local websites are also an option.
The PFOX office will serve as a clearinghouse for referrals received from potential members in a group’s area.
The PFOX Group Facilitator’s Tasks:
1. Promote the group (public service announcements, advertising, church bulletins, word of mouth, etc).
2. Establish a group contract/rules and agenda.
3. Arrange schedules for meetings.
4. Prepare agenda but be able to assess the needs of the group and restructure accordingly.
5. Bring any materials and copies as needed.
6. Bring refreshments and set up the room for each meeting.
7. Greet members and introduce new members to the group.
8. Be a facilitator. Observe every member’s involvement (i.e. notice those who are shy or are afraid to share, help draw out members, etc.).
9. Telephone prospective members and establish a rapport with new members.
A more detailed manual and list of resources will be sent to the PFOX Group Facilitator upon application approval.
If interested, please fill out the group application and return to PFOX.