Christopher Doyle and his ex-gay advocacy group PFOX insist conversion therapy would “save gay men from AIDS and suicide.”
This post originally appeared at ThinkProgress
By Zack Ford
The “Ex-Gay Pride” month that hasn’t really happened comes to a head this week, as members of ex-gay advocacy group PFOX lobby lawmakers on Capitol Hill for “protections” for ex-gays. One of the group’s talking points advocating for the harmful, ineffective therapy is that it would save gay men from AIDS and suicide:
Coming out of the closet as ex-gay or an ex-gay supporter will affect others because everyone has a family. But the alternative is worse – to stay in the closet and hide your light under a basket; to refuse to be the salt of this earth to others who are struggling in secret and think they’re the only ones who have this problem; to leave our comfort zone and take up the cross (coming out can be a sacrifice, no doubt about it); to have the courage to speak the truth even though we tremble. No one said it was going to be easy, but the alternative is worse because silence is death. How many gay men would still be alive today if someone had told them that there was a way out of homosexuality? AIDS and suicide took them away from us. It is up to each and every one of us to educate ourselves, our families, our politicians, our community, and our churches on the ex-gay issue. The more we talk about it the less shocked they and society will become, and healing will finally take place.
Neither AIDS nor suicide are the result of homosexuality. Arguably, both have instead been influenced by the stigma that shames gay men into the closet, ostracizes them from their families, and discourages them from having open, committed relationships.
Unsurprisingly, most of PFOX’s lobbying talking points are similarly confused. The group’s leader, Christopher Doyle, explains, “We want federal protection just as gays are given.” It’s unclear what kinds of protections he thinks the invisible community of ex-gays should have, but the very visible LGBT community still does not have protections under federal law anyway. Because the Employment Non-Discrimination Act has faltered in Congress for decades, people can be legally fired in 29 states just because of their sexual orientation and in 33 just because of their gender identity.
Doyle believes there are thousands of ex-gays who are “just too afraid to identify themselves” because LGBT activists will defame them as “liars and fakes.” Interestingly, the only ex-gays who do identify themselves in the public are those who profit from peddling the therapy, like Doyle, or who are otherwise celebrated by the anti-equality community and then make their living as an anti-gay pundit.