carly jane (starsoohpretty) wrote in gsh_04,
carly jane

Under this cut is a bit of information about how a national "ex-gay"
Christian based organization is running a program in Memphis, TN for
gay teens to be sent against their will, by their parents, to become

Hello, this is an extremely important notification from the Queer
Action Coalition (QAC) informing you of a violation of queer youth
civil rights happening in Memphis, TN. Some of you may be familiar
with the ex-gay movement that originated in the 1970's. The premise of
this movement was that homosexual people could become straight
(usually through heavy prayer and fundamentalist christian scripture
rhetoric) and several organizations such as Exodus Int. and Love in
Action sprung up quickly to offer support and help to make this

Happy and Gay?

Exodus and Love in Action operate under the assumption that there is
no such thing as a homosexual person, only homosexual behaviour, and
that in order for a person to live a full, truly happy life, he or she
must abstain from any homosexual desires or behavior. Without doing
so, they claim, a person may experience temporary happiness but
ultimately will live a sad and lonely life full of despair simply from
being gay.
They claim that they want to help those who are struggling with their
homosexuality and wish to be heterosexual. They state that these
people have the right to change their sexual orientation, but then
later admit that most of them have rarely met a truly happy gay person
and that they believe these people do not exist.

Gay youth?

Though many people in the gay community may see people who willingly
put themselves through this treatment as being severely misguided, it
is true that these people do have every right to make that choice.
However, two years ago Love in Action (currently located in Memphis,
TN) started a program called Refuge. Refuge is a 2 to 6 week program
for teens, many of whom are sent against their will with the threat of
being disowned or kicked out by their family. Because teenagers only
have the option of either becoming emancipated (or "divorcing" their
parents) or complying with their will, many teens attend this program
for as long as their parents see fit.

About a month ago a young man age 16 came out to his parents and was
told that he would be sent to Love in Action's Refuge program. He
wrote in his blog about his experience which, whether he realized it
or not, alerted many local teens and adults to what was happening in
Memphis. In his blog he goes into great detail about the rules of Love
in Action, how oppressive they are, and how scared and depressed he is
because of his parents reaction. The way that his parents described
his homosexuality to him made it clear that they view it as a sinful
mental illness. After reading this, the Queer Action Coalition
organized protests every morning for two weeks in front of Love in
Action's facility.

The Queer Action Coalition of Memphis TN came into existence
immediately after this young man was sent to Refuge and our goal is to
alert people to the dangers of "reparative therapy" and the
inconsistency of the ex-gay movement. This option is unfortunately
taken seriously all too often by parents who are having a difficult
time accepting their gay child, and groups like PFLAG are overlooked
and even hard to find. We aim to show the public that the practices of
LIA are dangerous and damaging when used on youth so impressionable,
especially when it was not their desire to go into such a program.
We have already received an amazing amount of local media attention,
as well as national media attention and we have been mentioned on many
of the most popular blogs. Many articles have been written in some of
the largest gay publications and this has already made international
news. Be looking out for spots in the New York Times and other
national magazines in the next month.

Good news: Because of all the negative media attention Love in Action
has received, the State of Tennessee is doing an official
investigation on the legality of their operation. This may be the
first step in a huge civil rights victory simply by giving gay youth
their rights to be gay!

For more information on QAC or Love in Action and Refuge, please visit
our website at or our blog at

How can you help?

QAC is run by volunteers who have been offsetting the costs of running
the organization out of pocket. We now have an option on our site for
people to donate money via PayPal. We strongly encourage people who
are not in the Mid-South area to try and give a small donation if this
is possible.

If you would like QAC to do a workshop at your school, church, GLBT
organization or youth group, we have set up a speakers bureau and can
offer workshops to be done on queer youth, reparative therapy or ways
to combat homophobia. We would love to speak at any opportunity or be

If you have any information that you feel may be helpful, or if you
just want to know more, please contact us at

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this email. We thank you
so much for your support.

Cale LeFevre
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