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Anything but Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-1560234463 ISBN-10: 1560234466 Edition: 1st

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Anything but Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth + Bashing Back: Wayne Besen on Glbt People, Politics, and Culture
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (October 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560234466
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560234463
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,296,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A Groundbreaking Book ... Incredibly Informative Yet Wildly Entertaining. The pages burst with tantalizing facts, amusing anecdotes and fascinating revelations that shatter the ex-gay charade."

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Customer Reviews

I wish everyone could read this book.
Randy
Mr. Besen documents in chilling detail the cynical and harmful psychological manipulation of the so-called ex-gay movement.
Amazon Customer
Fiascos of this kind have continued since the book was published.
William Fisher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 101 people found the following review helpful By James Hiller VINE VOICE on November 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
For the past few years, the ex-gay movement has started to take it's hold on the United States. Several prominent people have lined up to say that under therapy, with a distinct desire to change, homosexuals can honestly wake up one day to find out they are straight. Wayne Besen disagrees with that thought. Besen loads up his ammunition and fires at pointblank range at the ex-gay movement with his powerhouse of a book called "Anything But Straight".
Besen, employed by the Human Rights Campaign, spent four years examining this strange turn of events in American politics, the end result being this book. Dividing up the topic into four distinct sections, Besen starts with a frontal assault on nationally t outed ex-gay John Paulk, and his infamous "bathroom break" at Mr. P's, a local gay dive in Washington, D.C. He uses that incident as a spring board into the ex-gay ministry movement itself, revealing all of its ugly flaws in the process. He then moves into the practice of reparative therapy, and how it developed with the support of psychiatrists in the field. Next, Besen bashes the political movement behind the ex-gay myths, ripping down the religious right as a primary motivator in bringing to light this fallacy. He ends the book talking about the future of this movement, writing both hopeful and frightening predictions.
Originally, I purchased this book wanting to get a more well-rounded viewpoint on the ex-gay theories. One way to combat them with your family, friends, and in society, is to be able to honestly understand where the other side is coming from. Besen's book is more of an assault on this movement, which at first turned me off, but then, as his rhetoric died down a bit, made for some interesting reading.
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60 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Duane Simolke on December 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Despite years of hearing, reading, and writing about this topic, I can't think of a better ex-gay resource than Wayne R. Besen's book Anything but Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth. Besen not only gives an accessible and easy-to-follow history of the sham's path of destruction but also makes it clear why so many gays and nongays choose to believe its obvious lies. He also exposes the many people who profit monetarily, politically, or even sexually from ensnaring more ex-gay followers.
Still, Besen also shows how most of the people who become involved with or lead these ministries probably mean well. More importantly, he shows how gays and their allies can expose these hurtful groups, which rely heavily on wild semantics, shaky statistics, pseudo psychology, and highly questionable science, all the while trying to appear Bible-based.
Besen also shows how gays can make their communities less vulnerable to ex-gay groups, while warning those communities about insidious new tactics that the increasingly media-savvy ex-gay leaders use to lure parents into forcing children to join the ex-gay circus. For groups that keep claiming that all of their members come there voluntarily, they certainly keep taking advantage of parental pressuring and other fears of rejection!
Best of all, Besen offers resources and alternatives for people who might want to join these groups. He even defends, to my satisfaction, his undercover efforts to capture all of the information that appears in this sometimes shocking but always fascinating volume. I suggest Besen's study for all gays, all of their allies, and anyone who thinks the ex-gay movement needs support or more recruits.
I also suggest Ronald L. Donaghe's scathing fictional treatment of the ex-gay movement, The Salvation Mongers, as well as the disturbing documentary One Nation Under God and-for some needed levity on the topic-the silly yet likable comedy But I'm A Cheerleader.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
WOW!!!! The author has hit a grand slam with this book! I have been waiting a very long time for someone to write a book about reparative therapy and the con people who run these organizations. Besen has exposed these people and the damage they do to thousands of people every year. I hope every Gay person who is being dragged to these seminars will make their parents or friends read this book first and then let them make an intelligent decision about these radical right wing zealot organizations who are not their to help you but their to take your money and your soul. This book is a great read, very factual, very informative, and very funnny. I could not put this book down!!!!.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Venn Brown on April 25, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm reading `Anything but Straight' for the second time. With my busy life......that's about the best vote of confidence I can give any book.

Wayne has done and excellent job researching the ex-gay movement, history, programs and connections. He's read the materials, interviewed people, gone to meetings undercover to make sure he has all the facts. His work is extremely valuable. The homosexual debate has become much more than a religious issue and is now more complex since it has been politicized; often the key players being men with multi-million $$$$$ ministries with hidden agendas. Wayne helps us shift through the maze and get some clarity on what is really going on.

Having spent 22 years unsuccessfully trying to change my sexual orientation I know first hand, much of what he writes about. Therapy, counselling, exorcisms, 40 day fasts, months in an live-in ex-gay program and 16 years of marriage were just some of things I was told would help make me heterosexual. The result.......I'm still gay.......but at last happy about it....and realise that same sex attraction is no different to left handedness or red hair. It's just the way we are.......different but not abnormal.

In Australia, the ex-gay ministries lack funds, success stories, charismatic leaders and political connections so are not the threat experienced in the extremist/fundamentalist/Judaeo/Christian culture of some parts the US. this work is still valuable to us however to ensure we don't follow America down the Golden Arches Road into a country constantly harassed by Christian extremists whose worldview has not moved past Genesis. The wise have learnt by your mistakes.
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