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Exodus to Nowhere - the quest to cure queers


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A personal and behind the scenes account of the history of ex-gay/reparative/conversion therapy. To be notified of the publication of this work please subscibe here
'Exodus to Nowhere - the quest to cure queers' tells the whole story about the rise and fall of ex-gay/reparative/conversion therapy. This will be a significant work for several reasons.
1. The author's lived experience - born in 1951 and in a gay conversion therapy residential program 4 years before Exodus was founded.
2. The author's unique insights - lived through the entire era. Worked extensively with ex-gay survivors and towards ending ex-gay organisations.
3. The previously unexplored foundations of conversion therapy
4. Untold stories of the damage the 'change is possible" message created.
5. Why gay conversion therapy began happening globally before Exodus was founded.
6. Where conversion therapy still exists
7. Crucial lessons learned from 7 decades of destruction.

Published in: News & Politics
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Exodus to Nowhere - the quest to cure queers

  1. 1. THE QUEST TO CURE QUEERS The history of gay conversion therapy © Anthony Venn-Brown
  2. 2. © Anthony Venn-Brown “Exodus to Nowhere - the quest to cure queers” began with a request from Sensoria to write about ex- gay/reparative/conversion therapy for their journal
  3. 3. The big question???? Why was I in an ex-gay program in Sydney 4 years before Exodus was founded in the US? © Anthony Venn-Brown
  4. 4. © Anthony Venn-Brown The research begins
  5. 5. THE QUEST TO CURE QUEERS Gay Conversion Therapy (GCT) What are we talking about? • One on one counselling • Personal prayer • Inner healing • Support groups • Exorcisms • Masculinisation/Feminisation • Online courses © Anthony Venn-Brown
  6. 6. © Anthony Venn-Brown A rose by any other name
  7. 7. The Evolution of the GCT movement and message • Phase 1 – miraculous • Phase 2 – therapeutic • Phase 3 – discipleship © Anthony Venn-Brown
  8. 8. Who gets involved in GCT • Young same sex oriented (SSO) people in churches who have never heard anything positive about being gay or the LGBTI community • SSO people with sexual addictions • Christians who have experienced same-sex sexual abuse/molestation • Gay men and lesbians in heterosexual marriages • Gay and lesbian people who have had bad experiences in the ‘gay scene’ or relationships • People pressured by family or culture © Anthony Venn-Brown
  9. 9. Factors & influences that created GCT • Patriarchal society • Mainstream media • Policing • Politics • Mental health professions • Jesus Revolution • Charismatic movement • Modern Bible translations • Christian publications • Personalities and egos © Anthony Venn-Brown
  10. 10. 1. Pre-WW1 and WW11 30 December 1819 – Morning post Last hanging in England was 29 August 1835 Last hanging in the British Empire was in Tasmania in 1867 © Anthony Venn-Brown
  11. 11. 1. Pre-WW1 and WW11 2. 1939-45 During the war – morality lapsed 3. Post WWll – moralists wanted to reel in all promiscuity and stamp out perversion • Hysteria – epidemic – “Wipe Out Perversion” • The law was changed to include intent. “Why Noel Shot himself Bert went to Goal” • Happened many parts of the world – Miami 1954 “Pervert Clean up Starts Tonight” 53 articles in 6 weeks • In New York between 1923 and 1967 more than 50,000 men had been arrested • Britain - In the 1950’s 49,000 individuals prosecuted for gross indecency • Gaol or institutionalised – Lobotomies, electric shock treatment, chemical castration © Anthony Venn-Brown
  12. 12. 4. Government crack down • US - Lavender scare - 5,000 government workers • 1962 Prime Minister Robert Menzies directed "no homosexual is to have access to classified documents" • Alan Turin, one of 100’s in the UK armed forces, Foreign Office and intelligence community who lost jobs 5. Mental health professionals look for cause and cure 6. Progressive protestants were supportive of gay rights in the 60’s 7. In the meantime David Wilkerson begins work in NYC and founds Teen Challenge. The Cross and the Switchblade was published. 16 million copies in over thirty languages. 50 million see the movie 8. 1964 – Hope for the homosexual © Anthony Venn-Brown
  13. 13. 9. Gay rights movement begins to evolve 10. 1960’s Charismatic movement 11. Late 60’s early 70’s The Jesus Revolution 12. 1967 – CBS Report “The Homosexuals” 13. 1969 – Stonewall riots becomes the Rosa Parks moment of the gay right movement. Time magazine “The Homosexual in America” © Anthony Venn-Brown
  14. 14. 14. 1969 – Time magazine “The Homosexual in America” 15. Modern translations of the Bible – ‘homosexual’ 16. 1969 AVB converted 17. 1971 – Counselling the untapped generation 18. 1972 AVB in ex-gay residential program 19. 1973 APA removes homosexuality as mental disorder 20. 1975 Kent Philpott – The Third Sex © Anthony Venn-Brown 1946 RSV Homosexuals 1965 Amplified Homosexuality 1966 TEV Homosexual perverts 1970 New American Boy prostitutes Practicing homosexuals 1971 Living Homosexuals 1974 Good News Homosexual perverts
  15. 15. © Anthony Venn-Brown Chick tracts
  16. 16. 21. 1976 Exodus founded in Los Angeles • Homosexuality is abnormal/unnatural • Homosexuality is against God’s chosen order i.e. Adam and Eve/man and woman • Homosexuality is caused by improper development or sexual abuse. You are broken. • Homosexuality can be cured through prayer, faith, therapy, personal will-power or a combination of these. Homosexuals can become heterosexual. 22. 1978 Peter Lane began working with homosexuals in Australia and spoke at Teen Challenge 23. 1987 Exodus commences in Australia. By 2000 there are over 40 ministries to homosexuals 24. 1988 John and Ann Paulk – Newsweek “Gay for Life?” © Anthony Venn-Brown
  17. 17. © Anthony Venn-Brown
  18. 18. 25. 2000 there are over 40 ex-gay ministries in Australia and New Zealand. Exodus claimed they had 105 worldwide. 26. 2000 Ex-gay survivor online group started by AVB 27. 2004 A Life of Unlearning brings more ex-gay survivors out of the closet 28. 2005 Freedom2b brings more ex-gay survivors out of the closet © Anthony Venn-Brown
  19. 19. 29. 2006 Goal - to see all ex-gay organisations close in Australia Strategy • Tell my story • Former ex-gays to tell their story • Former ex-gay leaders to tell their stories and apologise • Gay and mainstream media attention • Create dialogues with those who are questioning • Create spaces on the internet where people can access honest and realistic information. • Create and publish articles that closeted people in churches looking for answers can access on the internet • Encourage research © Anthony Venn-Brown
  20. 20. 30. Variety of groups now constantly speaking out against organisations. As well as academic research on the topic 31. 2007 Ex-gay survivors conference 32. 2012 California becomes the first state to ban conversion therapy for minors. Challenged twice but upheld by the supreme court. This continues in cities and states and countries © Anthony Venn-Brown
  21. 21. 2013 AVB attends final Exodus Conference © Anthony Venn-Brown
  22. 22. What Created the Tipping Point? 1. Scandals 2. Shift in society’s understanding of sexuality 3. The gulf made ex-gay extremism 4. The internet provided connections 5. Growth of gay Christian movement 6. Alan Chambers honesty 7. Bridge building 8. Willingness to listen 9. Evolving faith of Alan and Randy 10.Midlife of leaders © Anthony Venn-Brown
  23. 23. GCT Collateral Damage 1. Intense cognitive dissonance 2. Mental health issues 3. Self destructive behaviours 4. Obsessive behaviours and addictions 5. Trauma and grief 6. Internalised homophobia 7. Inability to connect 8. Higher risk of HIV and STI’s 9. Suicidality and self harm © Anthony Venn-Brown
  24. 24. “I just wanted you to know that you are an inspiration to me. Reading A Life of Unlearning assisted my mental health and acceptance for myself in a tangible way. I used to be on six antipsychotic drugs and now I'm only on one mild antidepressant. Thank you. It truly did help. I've always been taught that God hates me. I made a lot of friends in conversion therapy. Out of forty, only six are still alive (one died naturally, the rest suicide.) Your book gave me hope and let me see a truer Christ.” Matt © Anthony Venn-Brown
  25. 25. Where does this leave us now? A philosophy • Homosexuality is abnormal/unnatural • Homosexuality is against God’s chosen order i.e. Adam and Eve/man and woman • Homosexuality is caused by improper development or sexual abuse. You are broken. • Homosexuality can be cured through prayer, faith, therapy, personal will-power or a combination of these. Homosexuals can become heterosexual. © Anthony Venn-Brown
  26. 26. Where does this leave us now? •Young people growing up in churches with a sense of shame believing they are broken, can never fall in love or have a relationship. •Various small fringe groups •Individual counsellors and pastors •It ain’t over © Anthony Venn-Brown
  27. 27. More information on our site. Click on the resources or conversion therapy tabs Contact © Anthony Venn-Brown