Thursday, January 22, 2009
Who's that Queer?
Brought to you by Pistol Pete
Through his efforts to combat the ex-gay movement, Wayne Besen is paving the way to dignity for LGBT individuals of faith. Besen has written books and started a non-profit organization aimed at revealing the lies promulgated by Focus on the Family, Exodus International and the rest of the ex-gay movement.
In September 2000, Beson photographed ex-gay activist John Paulk in a Washington D.C. gay bar called Mr. P's, where Paulk had been drinking and flirting with men. Besen went public with the story, and wrote about it in his book Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth. The book was nominated for two Lambda Literary Awards in 2003.
Besen's photograph of Paulk (and subsequent release of the story) was instrumental in the ultimate removal of Paulk as Chair of Exodus International, a major organization in the "Ex-gay movement." As noted by The Washington Post in October 2002: "John Paulk had been the most famous success story of the Christian ex-gay movement, which seeks to persuade gay men and lesbians to accept Jesus and renounce homosexuality.”
In addition to Besen’s Paulk revelations, he helped uncover Rev. Jerry Falwell’s personal HIV+ ex-gay leader, Michael Johnston, picking up men on the internet and having unsafe sexual relations with them. Besen also mentored and assisted in the public “coming out” of ex-gay poster boy Wade Richards, who was working with right wing activist Peter LaBarbera, Love In Action and Saviors Alliance for Lifting the Truth (SALT).
In June 2006, Besen founded Truth Wins Out, a non-profit organization to counter the ex-gay movement. He also launched www.RespectMyResearch.org, to document what he views as distortions of science, particularly by Focus on the Family.
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