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Headlines: At the week’s end

A re-cap of the last week at InterstateQ.com and around the blogosphere.

Royal Queen
Prince Harry’s antics continue to raise eyebrows, being called racist one day and enlightened the next. Either way, it’s hot.

And the winner is…
On Tuesday, I urged you to vote your conscience for Best LGBT Blog in this year’s Weblog Awards. While I contribute to both Bilerico.com and PamsHouseBlend.com, and rooted for them the whole time, Towleroad shone through as the winner. Congrats!

Campus crusading
A Campus Crusade group wants to work with a campus LGBT group on HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness. I still can’t figure out how that’s going to work out.

‘Ex-gay’ lies
Exodus International’s Randy Thomas continues the legacy of the group’s long-standing disingenuousness, claiming no one is ever forced into “ex-gay” therapies. The stories from the long list of gay youth victimized by such therapies call such claims into question.

A model for the nation
Florida LGBT groups are teaming up in a united coalition to fight regional and statewide threats to equality. On Wednesday, I said such a coalition could serve as a model for countless regions around the nation, as well as our national LGBT community.

Secretary of the Gay
A Boston, Mass.-based grassroots group wants a “Secretary of GLBT Affairs.” The U.S. Department of Queerdom will have fabulous office furniture and impeccable interior design for sure.

Lavender Folder
A Charlotte talk show host took shots at several North Carolina and Charlotte LGBT organizations in his Jan. 15 broadcast. Audio included.

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Randy Thomas and ex-gay disingenuousness

In response to a recent Dan Savage column, ex-gay Randy Thomas, an official with Exodus International, wrote (h/t Ex-Gay Watch):

For the most part, we are intelligent, balanced, stable, tolerant of what we may not personally accept and loving. We looked at what identifying as gay and all of the predetermined relational options of what that means and said, “no thanks.” Some of us have experienced orientation shift and others haven’t … and we are all living out our faith and life as we see fit. I and everyone I know, have no desire to force others into our line of thinking.

Except that last line is a lie. Time and time again, ex-gay ministries or their supporters have forced gay teenagers at ages 16 or 17 into residential treatment centers.

Zach Stark

Zach Stark

Back in Summer 2005, teenager Zach Stark was forced into an Exodus International-affiliated treatment center. The late Jerry Falwell, an Exodus supporter, “dismissed psychologists’ claims that consent is fundamental to a healthy counseling relationship and that parents should not force their gay kids into therapy.”

And we can’t forget about Lance Carroll, who was forced to attend the same residential treatment center as Stark. He says the “therapy” included isolation and group shaming sessions where one participant would be singled out and shamed for the personal occurrences in their life.

There’s also this gem, the story of Jeff Williamson, a young man whose parents made an appointment for him to go to an ex-gay therapist referred by Focus on the Family, an Exodus supporter. He says he wasn’t “exactly forced,” but felt “an intense pressure” from his parents. What else is a teenager supposed to do?

It’s situations like Williamson’s that might just be the most dangerous. Teenagers and other young people who feel so pressured to go into these therapies that they keep all of their emotion, grief or anger bottled up inside. For LGBT youth, who are already more susceptible to suicide, these factors are all a dangerous combination.