On Monday, February 21st, Truth Wins Out director Wayne Besen will speak at Rhodes College on the psychological damage caused by ex-gay ministries that seek to turn gay people into straight people.
“The message of this tour is that you can’t ‘pray away the gay’ and LGBT people are fine just the way they are,” said Besen. “Organizations that claim they can change one’s sexual orientation are committing consumer fraud and harming a great number of people.”
Besen's organization Truth Wins Out aims to counter misinformation spread by so-called ex-gay reparative therapies, like Memphis' own Love In Action (LIA). LIA made national headlines in 2005 when its Refuge youth program was investigated by the state of Tennessee for operating a mental health facility without a license. LIA has since closed that youth program, but it still operates various ex-gay programs.
"It's highly appropriate that the last date of the Pray Away the Gay tour is in Memphis since we hold the unfortunate distinction of being one of the epicenters of the fraudulent 'ex-gay' industry," said Evan Hurst, Truth Wins Our social media director. "It's our hope that this event will help to engender a greater discussion about the harm being done to people right here in our own backyard, all under the guise of 'Christian love.'"
The Truth Wins Out tour was launched in response to an announcement by the nation's largest ex-gay ministry Exodus International that the organization would focus on youth in 2011. The lecture begins in Room FJ-B in the Frazier-Jelke Science Center at Rhodes College at 7 p.m.
For more on the event, check out the Facebook page.