Thursday, June 20, 2013

Oprah's OWN airs "God and Gays", report by Lisa Lang on public "apology" by ex-gay Alan Chambers to former "clients"

On Thursday, June 20, 2013, Oprah’s OWN network aired an important episode of Lisa Lang’s “Our America” called “God and Gays”.
The program focused on the apology by former Exodus International chief Alan Chambers to survivors of the “ex-gay” movement.  The event was not a service, but a meeting in the basement of the Hollywood Lutheran Church. 
The episode started with the founding of EI, and the story of Michael Bussee, who preceded Alan.  It also gave the histories of some of the attendees at the meeting, such as Christian, from Minneapolis.  It gave the history of his connection to a group called “Pray the Gay Away”, which OWN had apparently covered in an earlier episode by Lang.
The Minneapolis scenes included a shot of the Gay 90s on Hennepin, familiar to me (The Saloon is about four blocks down the street and perhaps the best dance bar in the Twin Cities – at least it was 1997-2003 when I lived there.)
Another attendee told the story of being the star “ex-gay”.   But he says it was a lie.

Chambers did not promise to dissolve EI in the meeting.  The attendees wanted to know how he would characterize the reinvented organization’s focus.  He couldn’t give them a buzzword.  It sounded like it had something to do with abstinence or with strengthening marriages of gays who were in intact traditional marriages.  It wasn’t terribly convincing.

One of the former ex-gays said that Chambers needs simply to shut the group down, not reinvent it.  Admit that it was wrong. that it was over.

Some people were in debt for years of "therapy". 
Oprah’s own sneak preview of the episode is here
I still am left wondering, of people who invested so much energy in the idea of homosexuality as sin, and imposing their will on others.  What did they want?  A swindle?  Power?  Feelings of superiority? Social subordination?  I wondered, if a man really is converted to “straight”, what is expected of the woman who marries him?  Some sort of mutual sacrifice?  The Mormon Church had already spoken on that one  on 20-20 one time.  Okay, life does require socialization and sacrifice and going along with the needs of the group.  That’s easier for some people if they know that everyone else is going to tow the line.  The ex-gay movement keeps talking as if the “upward affiliation” that it sees in male homosexuality would be tempting to any man in harder times if allowed to be.  It seems like a bizarre, self-effacing admission.  

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