The Orange County Register newspaper (http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/news/local/irvine/article_1732269.php) has a story on competing conference that will take place on the merits (or lack there of) of ex-gay programs. One is the annual Exodus International "Freedom Conference" with professional ex-gay, Alan Chambers. A bike ride away, at UC Irvine, co-sponsored by the university, is scheduled "The Survivor's Conference: Beyond Ex-gay."
What is interesting is that one of the attendees at the Survivor event is one of the original founders of the Exodus movement who has changed his view on the legitimacy of "ex-gay" programs:
Michael Bussee, who co-founded Exodus at Anaheim's Melodyland Christian Center in 1976, said he quit counseling people to go straight when he realized he couldn't even "cure" himself. Bussee, who now lives in Riverside and is a licensed marriage and family therapist, said he knew he was gay since he was a boy. At age 12, he went to the public library looking for a book "about homosexuality so I could cure it, but the books said it was the result of mental illness."
Bussee became a born-again Christian, got married, studied anthropology and psychology at Cal State Fullerton, and hoped while involved with Melodyland that he could live as a straight man. "I loved my wife and we both thought over time God would create heterosexual feelings in me," Bussee said. "Instead, I fell in love with my wife's best friend's husband." By 1979, Bussee began to believe he was hurting the people he was trying to counsel in his ex-gay group. "There were suicide attempts," Bussee said. "I had a guy in my group who took a razor blade to his genitals because he felt so guilty."
Sadly, Alan Chambers, pictured with his wife, still has yet to recant. I am sure if it is because he cannot let go of the religious brainwashing that he received growing up and/or in the Exodus program, or if because the money he makes playing "ex-gay" is too attractive. Which ever the reason, I feel sorry for his wife in that she was suckered into marrying a guy who will never truly be the straight husband she deserved. Meanwhile, here's what the legitimate experts have to say on ex-gay therapy:
"Reparative therapy" is "based on an understanding of homosexuality that has been rejected by all the major health and mental health professions," according to the American Psychological Association.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reported in 2004 that "current literature and most scholars in the field state that one's sexual orientation is not a choice; that is, individuals do not choose to be homosexual or heterosexual."
"Therapy directed specifically at changing sexual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation," a position paper of the American Academy of Pediatrics states.
The American Psychiatric Association reported that the "potential risks of 'reparative therapy' are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient."