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Parents of Ex-Gays Seek to Put Va Universities in the ’Time Out Chair’

Thursday Oct 24, 2013
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The religious right had another fit this week when an ex-gay support group called on Virginia lawmakers to stop funding what they call "gay-transvestite centers.

"Virginia taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to fund hatred and discrimination against ex-gays and people of faith," said Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) in a statement released by her organization on Wednesday. "These biased and discriminatory lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (sic)/questioning centers hide ex-gay resources and insist that students adopt a ’gay-only’ mentality that rejects those who have changed their orientation from gay to straight while celebrating those who have changed their gender identity."

The call to action by PFOX comes in response to an "undercover investigation" conducted last month by noted ex-gay advocacy group Voice of the Voiceless (VoV). The investigation which occurred as part of VoV’s "Ex-Gay Awareness Month," involved two VoV ex-gay identified members posing as graduate students seeking counseling for same-sex attraction at LGBT student resource centers located in seven of Virginia’s fifteen state funded universities. The investigation alleges that resources such as ex-gay information pamphlets and faith-based counseling services are being withheld.

"State-funded universities are required to provide value-neutral, medically-accurate information to all students in need of guidance. What we uncovered was a deliberate withholding of potentially life-saving information for students who may desire counseling to overcome unwanted homosexual feelings,"stated VoV co-founder Christopher Doyle in a statement released by the group last month, further alleging, "A counselor at George Mason University told me that if I sought therapy to change, I would likely become psychologically-damaged, depressed, and even commit suicide."

The conversation with the GMU counselor was secretly recorded by Doyle and posted on the VoV website. According to the recording, the counselor asks Doyle directly if he is part of an ex-gay group. Doyle denied his affiliation and asked for ex-gay literature, which the counselor had difficulty locating at the bottom of a drawer. The recording also reveals the counselor referring Doyle to the gay-friendly Metropolitan Church. Based upon this and other alleged interactions at LGBT centers at six other Virginia Universities, VoV asserts institutionalized ex-gay discrimination.

"Virginia’s LGBTQ Centers deny that change is possible, and therefore deny that ex-gays exist," said PFOX’s Griggs. "They believe in exclusion, censorship, and allowing only one side of the story to be told. Virginia taxpayers don’t want their money funding non-educational activities that endanger youth, treat ex-gay minorities as outcasts, and promote government-approved religions."

According to their boilerplate, "Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) is the nation’s leading advocacy organization for love, support, and positive life change for the ex-gay community, their families, and individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions."

Truth Wins Out reports that in recent years, PFOX has turned its efforts to getting its materials or speakers into public schools. Backed by right wing legal groups, PFOX has taken legal action against school systems in Maryland and Virginia. This strategy has had a degree of success, as PFOX was able to get its flyers distributed in Montgomery County Maryland schools and Arlington County Virginia schools.

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