Gays Protest Ex-Gays


You may have heard about the gay/ex-gay protest that happened this weekend. No? Well, here’s the deal: a gaggle of ex-gays gathered in Palm Springs for the “Love Won Out” conference. The event, sponsored in part by those lovely bigots at Focus on The Family, allowed ex-gays the chance to condemn their former gay brothers and, in the most diplomatic ways, we’re sure, offer their help in exorcising all shades of faggotry from the world. Among the illustrious speakers was Nancy Heche, good ol’ ex-gay Anne’s mother, who has previously called the AIDS related death of her closeted hubbie “the worst thing in the world.”

Meanwhile, proud gays (organized by EX-Gay Watch and Unity Rally, respectively) gathered with signs sporting such ra-ra messages as “Don’t psychologically torture your children!” Now that’s a cheer if we’ve ever heard one.

An ex-gay woman came out early in the day and greeted them graciously, a trait apparently found often in their kind.

Obviously, this is something people are really passionate about: we got an email from ex-gay watchman, Daniel Gonzales this morning saying, “If you plan on writing about the Love Won Out in Palm Springs I led a group of people from Ex-Gay Watch and wrote a first hand of the account here.” which at 8 o’clock in the morning can sound a bit abrasive. (A please wouldn’t hurt next time, young man.)

Still, we appreciate his enthusiasm, so here’s the link.

One thing worth mentioning is the split between Ex-Gay Watch and the Unity Rally protesters.

Because nothing helps a united front like splitting into smaller groups…

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  • XGW Dan

    Oh poor babies. If you want really fun stuff in your mailbox at 8am I highly recommend you sign up for the FRC’s email list. Nothin like a little Tony Perkins first thing in the morning.

  • Nick

    Get your facts straight, Anne Heche doesn’t consider herself ex-gay and speaks out against her mother (who likes to use her as an example). There’s a difference between happening to date two people of different sexes consecutively and being a card-carrying member of Exodus International.

    Anyway, gay-friendly or no, any interview with Anne reveals her as something of a kook. But I would be too if I’d had that kind of childhood.

  • Mike A

    According to the accounts that I’ve read, the Unity Rally folks were generally happy with the day, and so were the folks with XGW.

    The Unity Rally was a large coalition of groups that excelled at attracting and rallying progressive advocates for tolerance. XGW, on the other hand, is a small nonpartisan information resource that draws a politically independent crowd. Still, we offered our info and experience to the Rally organizers so that they could make the strongest possible case to the public and media. We’ll happily make the offer to coalitions in the future.

  • Mike A

    I should clarify that the Rally organizers did not take us up on our offers, but we remain eager to help out in the future.

  • Jim Burroway

    I was at the early-morning protest as part of Ex-gay Watch. And I attended the Unity Rally at 11:00 with the greater Palm Springs community.

    I think there is a huge difference between having different objectives and a “split”. I wouldn’t call it a “split”. At the early morning protest, we were all there on the same sidewalk together. We didn’t march in a circle with a bullhorn like they did, but nobody yelled at each other or broke out into any arguments either. We got along great with everyone there.

    And while I can’t speak for the Unity Rally organizers, I doubt they would call it a “split”. But perhaps someone should contact them for a comment.

    But that’s not to say we didn’t approached this in two different ways. We offered our assistance; they chose to follow a different direction. We disagreed with their direction, but neither of us “split” over anything.

    I recognize the huge amount of work that goes into organizing something like the Unity Rally. They did a great job with what they had — especially with logistics and mass organization, things we could never have pulled off.

    I do believe that with more input from our experience and knowledge, the whole thing could have been even more constructive. I also believe that there are things that we could have done differently to facilitate that better. (Based on this experience, we are discussing ways of improving our own processes should we do this in the future.)

    But our efforts, unfortunately, weren’t coordinated. We’re all volunteer, as were they. That’s the pitfalls of two loosely-organized groups trying to meet the same challenge.

    While we believe it could have been better, it was still a success by every measure. We were very happy to have been on hand in Indian Wells, to welcome each of the 1,400 Love Won Out participants with a cheery “Good Morning!” and bright smiles, an image that is very different from that painted by Love Won Out organizers. And we got many, cheerful smiles and waves in return. (Yeah, along with a few nasty shouts — but very, very few).

    And we were happy to be with the larger Palm Springs community at the Unity Rally later that morning.

    At the end of the day, we met our objectives and I’m sure the Unity Rally organizers are satisfied that they met theirs. And we’ll be happy to do it all again, whether we do it in direct cooperation with, or simply alongside, other groups in the future.

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