Dear APA Member
March 13, 2007
Dear distinguished American Psychological Association member:
We are Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX), a non-profit organization supporting families and the ex-gay community. We write to you because of your decision to allow the Committee on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns to staff the new task force on therapeutic responses to sexual orientation.
Each year, thousands of men and women with unwanted same-sex attractions make the personal decision to leave homosexuality. Their decision is one only they can make. However, there are others who refuse to respect that decision, and endeavor to attack the ex-gay community. Media dealing with tolerance and hate issues generally fail to discuss the discrimination faced by ex-gays and their supporters. Consequently, you may be unaware of the widespread intolerance practiced against homosexuals who choose to leave homosexuality:
* The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Educational Network (GLSEN) spent thousands of dollars distributing a school booklet accusing ex-gays of “harassment” because ex-gays want the same access to schools that gay affirming groups like GLSEN currently enjoy. GLSEN’s opposition to sharing school access with ex-gay representatives and allowing ex-gay resources to be made available to schools demonstrates their own disregard for diversity.
* The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) demanded that a contributor reconsider her sizeable donation to a children’s school merely because it had indirect ties to an ex-gay ministry.
* After receiving complaints from gay activists, the Michigan State Medical Society abruptly revoked its grant of continuing education credits for an ex-gay conference sponsored by the Catholic Medical Association.
* After receiving “threats, insults and brutal letters” for running an advertisement for an ex-gay book, Psychology Today Editor Bob Epstein acknowledged the “dark, intolerant, abusive side of the gay community.”
* In his inaugural address, the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) national President stated that the lives of ex-gays served to “terrorize” gays and “deny them civil rights.”
* Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) filed a sexual orientation discrimination complaint against the National Education Association (NEA) for prohibiting ex-gays from exhibiting at NEA conventions. Although the NEA has condemned the Boy Scouts for excluding gays as scout leaders and urges public schools to refuse use of their facilities for Boy Scout meetings, it consistently discriminates against former gays. The NEA claims it can legally exclude ex-gays from its facilities because it is a private organization. Ironically, this is one of the same arguments used by the Boy Scouts in its successful Supreme Court case, Boy Scouts of America v. Dale. However, unlike the Boy Scouts, the NEA has issued resolutions calling for sexual orientation tolerance and diversity, so it cannot claim that it has asserted views opposing sexual orientation.
* Orlando Commissioner Patty Sheehan denounced her fellow commissioner for issuing a proclamation honoring an ex-gay organization even though she herself freely makes proclamations celebrating “Gay Days” every year at Disney World. Ms. Sheehan, an open lesbian, went so far as to compare the ex-gay organization to the KKK, thereby demeaning African-American ex-gays.
* Equality Virginia and other gay activist groups demanded that DC Metro remove PFOX’s subway billboards advocating tolerance for ex-gays. As a result, the District of Columbia Metro system voted to eliminate the non-profit billboard rate for all charities.
The list is endless because every day brings new hostile acts against the ex-gay community simply because we dare to exist. The demonization of ex-gays by gays themselves is a sad end to the long struggle for tolerance by the gay community. That ex-gays and their supporters are now oppressed by the same people who until recently were victimized themselves, demonstrates how far the gay rights movement has come. Indeed, a new chapter in the movement has begun – the right of homosexuals and lesbians to leave unwanted homosexuality.
Although gay organizations advocate for the rights of homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders, they do not add “ex-gay” to that list. Therefore, if it were not for ex-gay organizations like PFOX, former gay men and women would have no support in an increasingly hostile environment. Americans need to face the real issue of bigotry — oppression of ex-gays. Gay activists cannot claim sympathy as victims when they victimize their own. Therefore, we at PFOX are alarmed that gay members of your organization and “external organizations” have requested that you form a task force because of their concerns about the role of advocacy for reparative theory “to support an anti-gay activist role in legislative and judicial arenas.” It sounds like even more intolerance against the ex-gay community with the APA seal of approval to legitimize their prejudice.
The ex-gay movement is a civil rights movement to ensure the inclusion of former homosexuals in all realms of society and to support the ex-gay community’s equal access to schools on the same level as gays currently enjoy. Ex-gays and their supporters should not have to be closeted for fear of other’s negative reactions or disapproval. They do not think something is wrong with them because they decided to fulfill their heterosexual potential. Nor do they believe others should condemn them for the personal decision they have made for their lives. Because of the abuse heaped upon them by society, former homosexuals experience discrimination at every level. When a gay marries an opposite sex partner, that ex-gay is ridiculed by former friends. Ex-gays find heterosexuals also reject them if their past is known because “Once gay, always gay” is assumed. While gays can come out of the “closet,” ex-gays are forced to stay in theirs because of public prejudice. While gays gain sympathy as victims, ex-gays are criticized and face life-long intolerance for simply existing as living proof that homosexuality is not innate.
PFOX respectfully requests that you include ex-gays and their allies to your task force to ensure that science, and not bias, is the object of the task force’s mission. According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality. There is no test for a gay gene. There is no scientific or DNA test to determine if a person is homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual. Sexual orientation is a matter of self-affirmation and public declaration.
PFOX also requests that you issue a personal statement condemning prejudice against the ex-gay community. Too often gay activists have misused science in order to condone intolerance against the participation of former homosexuals in the public arena, whether it be equal access to public school forums or ex-gay speakers participating in diversity events. Being ex-gay is not a disease and seeking treatment for unwanted same-sex attractions is not a disease either. We have gay sons and daughters and gay friends. We love and respect both our gay children and our ex-gay friends. Tolerance should extend to everyone regardless of sexual orientation.
Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to your response.