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Anything but Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In this well-written account of the history of the ex-gay movement and its many scandals, author Wayne Besen hits hard. And there is much for him to attack. Read morePublished 2 months ago by WriterJF
Excellent! Must have for anyone studying LGBT history. Well-researched and well-written. Couldn't put it down.Published 13 months ago by Tim Rymel
I had never heard of the ex-gay, conversion reparative therapy movement until reading this book. It is highly unfortunate that people who have no clinical expertise at performing... Read morePublished on May 7, 2014 by CrownMetro
Excellent expose of the ex-gay movement. You can tell the author did a great deal of research, interviewing many many ex-gay leaders as well as rank and file ex-gays and... Read morePublished on March 2, 2014 by Melanie Z.
I've read many books by writers on both sides of the homosexuality causality debate but I found this one to be the fairest and most truthful of them all. Read morePublished on June 15, 2013 by Randy
This is a great book. Having gone through 13 years of trying to be ex-gay, this book was helpful in my continued recovery from that time. Read morePublished on April 29, 2013 by Angela Shelby
This book shows reparative therapy pseudoscience for what it is:quackery of the worst kind, preying on insecurities and suffering. Read morePublished on August 24, 2012 by Ventura Angelo
I think that the whole issue here can be summarized in 1st Corinthians 6:19-20, where Paul tells us that we must not fornicate because we are not our own, we are bought with a... Read morePublished on November 22, 2011 by othoniaboys
Perhaps you are gay and the message has been drummed into you that God intends EVERYONE (not just most people) to be heterosexual; that your sexual orientation is an illness or... Read morePublished on April 23, 2011 by William Fisher