Earlier this week, ex-gay advocacy group Voice of the Voiceless hosted the First Annual “Ex-Gay” Awareness Dinner and Reception in Washington, D.C. An impressive 60 people turned out for the event. That’s more than triple the amount that turned out for their rally back in July, which attracted less than 15.
The event was held in an undisclosed location and was closed to all but a very select few reporters. (By our estimation, it appears only one media outlet was in attendance.)
“When gays come out of the closet they are celebrated in the movies and on TV,” Chris Doyle, co-founder and president of Voice of the Voiceless, told the roomful of supporters. “When an ‘ex-gay’ tells his story, he’s mocked, ridiculed, defamed – and ask Trace McNutt, he gets death threats.”
Trace McNutt is a former self-proclaimed “Satanic Drag Queen” who spent many years performing as a demonic gay rockstar named Coma. He has since abandoned his colorful wigs, dresses, and makeup and is now an “ex-gay” advocate. He was given the “Ex-Gay” Award for Courage at Monday night’s event.
Doyle called for the “ex-gay” movement to go on the offensive with their message that people can determine their sexual identity. He also emphasized youth outreach, particularly to young Christian men who suffer from same-sex attraction but who still want to maintain their faith.
“This is a battle of love, ladies and gentlemen,” he proclaimed before calling on fellow Christians to welcome young people who struggle with same-sex attractive, urging them “not to endorse their behavior, but to see their potential and look beyond the behavior to see into their hearts.”
In addition to Doyle, several other “ex-gays” took to the podium, including former prostitute Rev. Douglas McIntyre, former transgender Rev. J. Grace Harley, and Mathew D. Staver, founder and chief counsel of Liberty Counsel and winner of the “Ex-Gay” Freedom Award.
Staver talked about some of the clients he’s represented – “fourteen, fifteen-year-old boys” – who he claims have benefitted from Christian counselors. Upon discovering their same-sex attraction, many “began to cut themselves, hate themselves, question who they are,” and their relationships with family and friends became strained. After beginning counseling, however, Staver claims their self-esteem “improved”, their same-sex attractions “decreased”, and their friendships “improved.”
Another speaker, “ex-gay” and president of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays Greg Quinlan, told the crowd: “I have seen the change, I have to speak of these things. It is my obligation to do that! I will continue to declare that ‘ex-gay’ is okay, you can change!”
But the real highlight of the evening was an emotional performance by “ex-gay” singer-songwriter Dennis Jernigan, who performed the the “ex-gay” anthem “Rise Up” on his electric piano.
No word yet on if there will be another “Ex-Gay” Awareness Dinner and Reception next year, but Dennis Jernigan’s song is now available for download on his website for just $.99.
Photo credits: Christian Post.