Exploring Practices and Harm in Reparative Therapy
November 7-9, 2008; Denver, CO
During the weekend of November 7-9, NARTH, a national association of "gay conversion" therapists, is holding its annual conference in Denver. Two local survivors of ex-gay programs, Christine Bakke and Daniel Gonzales, along with Beyond Ex-Gay, and a coalition of local and other gay organizations, are forming a response to speak to the harm groups like NARTH can cause.
- Are you a concerned citizen? We need your enthusiasm and involvement.
- Are you an ex-gay survivor, someone who spent time trying to change or suppress your sexuality? We want to meet you and hear your story.
- Are you a mental health provider? We want to explore some best practices for treating those who have survived ex-gay experiences.
At Beyond Ex-Gay, we do more than simply protest. We partner with local, regional and national groups to offer a thoughtful response to counter the misinformation presented at conferences like NARTH's.
We're pleased to announce that for all of these events, Dr.Jallen Rix, a sex therapist with a private practice in San Francisco (he writes the Gay Sexpert column for gay.com) will be present. An ex-gay survivor, he is currently working on a book about ex-gay experiences, the harm they bring and how we can recover and claim a healthy sexuality.
Friday, Nov 7th
7pm: Doin' Time with Peterson Toscano. Well-known ex-gay survivor Peterson Toscano, as seen in The Advocate and LOGO's "Be Real," will be on hand to perform excerpts from several plays inspired by his years spent in the ex-gay movement. Location: Our Savior's Lutheran Church (915 E 9th Ave, Denver. An affirming congregation)
Saturday, Nov 8th
8:45-10am: Rally at NARTH Conference site, Renaissance Hotel (3801 Quebec St, Denver). Meet outside to the south of the hotel.
11-4pm: Ex-Gay Exposé Gathering. Gathering for ex-gay survivors as well as allies who wish to learn more about the ex-gay movement. We will have a chance to connect and socialize and food will be provided for lunch. We will have both whole grouo and small group activities. Location: Mountain View Friends Meeting. (2280 S Columbine St, Denver)
6-8pm: Mental Health Professionals workshop, part 1 (What is the ex-gay movement? What are common needs of ex-gay survivors?). Location: GLBT Community Center. (1050 Broadway, Denver)
Sunday, Nov 9th
9am-12pm: Mental Health Professionals workshop, part 2 (Exploring best practices for treating ex-gay survivors). Location: GLBT Community Center (1050 Broadway, Denver)
7 pm: Transfigurations: Transgressing Gender in the Bible. Written and performed by Peterson Toscano. Location: Our Savior's Lutheran Church (915 E 9th Ave, Denver. An affirming congregation).
If you're interested in attending any of these events, please fill out the information on this signup page and we'll email you as needed.
If you want to get a better idea of what the weekend may look like, check out our Memphis page.
Denver Media Contact: Daniel Gonzales
Comments from our last Beyond Ex-Gay meeting in Memphis:
Bob Loos, a gay man who is also a licensed therapist in Memphis met Christine and Daniel in February and attended many of the events they organized. “I was honored to be included as part of the “ally” contingent during BXG weekend, and as such had a very eye-opening experience,” Bob adds, “There was much sharing of life experiences by the participants, and it became obvious to me that there was a huge synergistic power which arose from the emotional energy filling the rooms.”
From John Holm, an ex-gay survivor:
"Patricipating with Beyond ExGay has been transformation for me in several ways. First and foremost, I have learned that I am not alone. While attending the ExGay Survivors' Conference in 2007, I met men and women from around the world who could relate to my experience of confusion, deception, and harm at the hands of ex-gay programs. I discovered that harmful experiences in ex-gay programs are the norm, not the exception--that the majority of us who entered the programs emerged in worse shape than when we entered.
Moreover, the community I found in Beyond ExGay offered a safe and helpful environment to dialog about the harms I had experienced and find positive ways to work through them. I learned ways others have tackled spiritual confusion and disillusionment, restoring self-respect, building healthy relationships, and learning how to tell our stories publicly as a warning to others who are considering going down the ex-gay path.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, it has been my honor to take public action with others from Beyond ExGay to educate the public about the harms of ex-gay ministries and warn others away from them. In Memphis, I gathered with others in Memphis, TN to cheerfully greet "Love Won Out" conference-goers, share our stories as witness of what happens in ex-gay programs, and offer a sympathetic ear to those who were considering "taking the plunge" into ex-gay ministry. I'll never forget talking with a young teenage woman who was brought to the conference against her will by her parents. As she related how encouraged she was that we had made the effort to be there, I realized how significant it was that we tell our stories publicly. An uncounted multitude of people enter ex-gay programs each year with no warning of the damage they are likely to experience. Our hope is that, by telling our stories openly and in as many places as possible, many of these people can be spared the harm we have endured and instead be welcomed into a community that affirms them and supports them."