by Dan Savage
on Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 1:12 PM
It's also a scam. The head of Exodus, which promises to "change" gay people, has admitted more than once that his organization can't actually turn gay people into straight people. The head of Exodus admits that he's not straight after more than twenty years with the organization. What Exodus does is turn gay people into celibates by heaping on the guilt, Leviticus, and spiritual abuse. And once a gay person stops having gay sex—poof!—he's "ex-gay," according to Exodus. (I'm on the road—so, hey, I've been ex-gay for four days. Meeting up with Terry in NYC tomorrow for the It Gets Better book tour, so I should be "ex-ex-gay" sometime tomorrow night.)
The overwhelming majority of gay people see right through Exodus's lies and bullshit. But gay people aren't the organization's target demographic. Exodus doesn't exist to serve or save gay people. It exists to advance the religious right's lead argument against gay and lesbian civil rights. That argument goes something like this: "Since no one has to be gay—change is possible! look at these ex-gays over at Exodus!—there's no need for 'gay rights.' Indeed, protecting the civil rights of gay people—allowing them marry or adopt or hold jobs or visit each other in the hospital—ultimately harms gay people because it delays their exit from the homosexual lifestyle." (No one has to be Mormon either. So?)
Exodus's other target: the parents of young gays and lesbians who've just come out of the closet. The religious right advises parents to reject their gay and lesbian children, to withhold their approval, because, just like marriage rights or job protections or durable powers of attorney, the love and acceptance of family can delay a young gay person's exit from the homosexual lifestyle. The religious right encourages the families of young gay people to be hostile, to reject their gay children, and tells them that their rejection can turn their gay children straight and save them from the homosexual lifestyle. Exodus International and ex-gays like the lying faggot who runs it—that faggot is still attracted to men after 20 years with the group—are held up as proof that "change is possible," that rejecting your gay child can save him from the homosexual lifestyle (and save you from looking like a failure in front of your pastor and co-religionists), and that it's the only loving thing to do.
LGBT kids are four times likelier to attempt suicide. LGBT kids whose families are hostile are eight times likelier to attempt suicide. What the religious right promotes—what Exodus promotes—literally kills children.
You wouldn't think a company like Apple would want to help Exodus International kill gay teenagers.
More than 100,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Apple to remove an app from the iTunes store that was created by an anti-gay Christian organization. Exodus International, which according to its website has ministries that “provide support for individuals who want to recover from homosexuality,” released the app on February 15. The app has a 4+ approval rating from the Apple app store, and the organization is quick to point out that this rating is reserved for those apps that “contain no objectionable material.”