I would like to thank the citizens of Boston for their support during a difficult time in my life. I recently attended a Love Won Out “ex-gay” conference there. My mother wanted me to go, and to show her that I loved her, I did. I told her I wasn’t going to change but would listen to the conservatives’ point of view.
As I walked into the conference, there were gay protesters outside, chanting, “Hate is not a Boston value.” As a 20-year-old gay man, I felt embarrassed and ashamed going into this church while my fellow LGBT people were protesting outside.
He is scheduled to be executed by the state of California TUESDAY DECEMBER 13.
YOUR EMERGENCY ACTION IS NEEDED NOW!
Send emails to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, President Bush, Congressional leaders and Senators and Representatives from Texas, U.N. Secy General Kofi Anan and your senators and representative, DEMANDING that Tookie's execution be stopped IMMEDIATELY
to send your own message or have the following email sent in your name:
Governor Schwartzenegger, President Bush, Secretary-General Annan, Senators and Representatives:
On Tuesday, Dec 13, 2005, Stan Tookie Williams, an innocent man convicted by prejudicial prosecutorial misconduct, is scheduled to be executed by the State of California.
I appeal to you to grant clemency to Stan Tookie Williams and to take immediate action to reverse the miscarriage of justice in his case.
Stan Tookie Williams is innocent. No physical evidence tied him to the crimes. Blatantly discriminatory conduct by the prosecutor barred all 3 prospective African Americans from the jury. The same prosecutor has been censured twice by the California State Supreme Court for unconstitutionally striking Black prosective jurors in two other capital cases. Major witnesses against him were themselves criminals who had charges dropped or received lesser sentences in exchange for their testimony, according to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Stan Tookie Williams has devoted his time while on death row to writing books aimed at ending gang violence and helping youth avoid gang involvement. He has been nominated multiple times for the Nobel Peace and Literature prizes. This summer he received a service award from President Bush for his work with youth.
Stan Tookie Williams execution would be a continuation of the war on African American youth that can be seen in the government's negligent response to Hurricane Katrina, and the overwhelming numbers of African American youth in jail around the country. His conviction was the product of racist discriminatory prosecutorial misconduct. His execution would be a crime against justice, African Americans and African American youth in particular, and all justice-loving people everywhere.
- QueerToday.com Letters To Editor of Bay Windows
- Bay Windows
- Boston Herald "Cops let picketers disrupt..."
- Boston Globe Coverage of Anti-war Protest passing by Love Won Out
- Workers World Coverage
- MassResistance Hate Blog
- Bay Windows
- InNews Weekly Coverage (most accurate)
- Focus On The Family
- Article Hate's Protest Photos
- Gay Friendly Christian Church Directory for MA
- Gay Friendly Jewish Directory
From bad environmental policies that destroy our earth to trade agreements that hurt the working class: we must stand in solidarity with the world as they say NO to the Bush Administration and right-wing politics.
Just how many people have died as a result of this administration? Thousands due to bad hurricane relief efforts and the increasing size of storms due to global warming as a result of bad energy policies. Thousands due to a war based upon lies. Thousands without adequate healthcare. The list goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on......
Whether or not the people inside the so-called "Love Won Out" conference that visited Boston were actually scared of the protest outside is questionable. According to the Article Hate Alliance's over the top coverage of the protest, there was a "near riot" outside. As someone who has been to many demonstrations (a couple where riots did actually take place), I have to just laugh at Article Hate's overactive imagination. But we did, certainly, have an effect on the conference. They sure heard us.
We know at least one person inside was a little frazzled. According to this person, one of our chants "frightened" Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International (who incidentally testified at the Massachusetts State House against same-sex marriage--nope, no politics here). He heard "shut it down" from the crowd and claimed that their "freedom of speech and religion" was at stake! And I have one message for Chambers and everyone else on the Christian Right: There's more where that came from!
We will neither mince words nor obfuscate the fact that Love Won Out and "ex-gay" groups are a part of the Christian Right, an insidious political machine that reinforces the dominance of right-wing politics in American society. The leaders of this conference have gone through backflips to try to explain away their politics. But it's kind of hard to say, "Don't pay attention to the man behind the curtain" (i.e. James Dobson) when the leaders of this conference are up to their eyeballs in Focus on the Family money and support--which no doubt provided the emergency bag lunches. It's hard to say they're just "helping" unhappy gay people when their leaders testify in state houses and on Capitol Hill against civil rights. It's kind of hard to say, "We're not political," when they have workshops on stopping same-sex marriage and anti-bullying/harrassment programs in public schools. And it's hard to say all of this when they are presenting the false of queer people as sick, pathological, diseased, and unhappy.
With the Bush Administration's poll numbers in the gutter and Americans turning against the war in Iraq, the American Right should be scared. People are mad as hell and they're beginning to stand up. They're standing up to military recruiters on our campuses and in our high schools. They're standing up to anti-abortion fanatics. And they're standing up to anti-gay bigots. The days of attacking American Girl, Spongebob Squarepants and Letters from Buster are almost over. The twighlight of the Right's twenty-five year reign of terror is quickly approaching. This protest is probably the largest confrontation LWO has experienced, and hopefully our example will inspire others to take similar stands against them.
We will continue to hold homophobes accountable for their actions, regardless of what kind of sugary, sing-songy voices they say "God loves you" in. Yes, God loves us, but they don't. Love isn't about what you say. Love means justice. Using the State to punish gay and lesbian people for not conforming to their Neo-Victorian values is not justice. Spreading lies so that people will see queer people as sick is not justice.
QueerToday.com facilitated the largest protest the Love Won Out Conference has encountered since its inception eight years ago.
Boston Globe Coverage of Anti-war Protest passing by Love Won Out
Workers World Coverage
MassResistance Hate Blog
Bay Windows Coverage
InNews Weekly Coverage (most accurate)
Focus On The Family's Coverage
Article Hate's Protest Photos
A right-wing hate group writes about the day from the inside...
"Boston police barricaded church doors and would not allow people in church to leave, as homosexual activist demonstrators block street, scream, intimidate, and threaten. Sound truck blaring "Shut it down" was parked in front of church (truck's loudspeakers visible just to left of 'Homophobia Kills' sign). Police made no effort to disperse crowd or stop sound truck, even though city has confirmed that they had no permit. The police department told us later that no arrests were made......
The demonstrators definitely affected the conference. As one attendee related:
"Joe Dallas (LoveWonOut speaker, former gay activist, former head of Exodus Intl) wrapped up the day w a statement about wanting the demonstrators to have their freedom of speech about their feelings and beliefs. But he said ONE THING FRIGHTENED HIM, & that was when they started yelling SHUT IT DOWN! He did send out the alarm that our freedom of speech and religion are seriously at risk. He recounted stories of ministers shut down in other countries..." - From the Article Hate Alliance
The young activists of QueerToday.com express our utmost gratitude for the support we have received for our recent protesting efforts.
I want to personally thank Gerry of the StoneWall Warriors/International Action Center, and Karen, Christine, and the other leaders of the October 29th Coalition. We could never have pulled off a successful protest against Focus On The Family without you!!
I am sorry that QueerToday.com is not a larger more established and organized group so that we could have offered more support and marchers in the anti-war efforts - but we are a new young group so very grateful for the support we have received from you. As QueerToday.com grows we will not forget the support you have given us and we promise to work together on future initiatives.
I would also like to thank the Bisexual Resource Center, who endorsed our protest last week.
In addition to our official endorsements we have received support from many individuals in our community. Most people in our community are glad we are asking the gay establishment to broaden their agendas to create a truly queer social justice movement. Thank you to all of you who showed up at the protests and sent us e-mail. I would especially like to thank the queer adults out there who showed up to support the young activists of QueerToday.com.
There are others in our community who do not understand why we are not single-issue focused. They send us emails complaining that we show up at pro-choice rallies, anti-war marches, etc. I hope that after they saw the awesome protest we created with the October 29th Coalition they will see the importance and effectiveness of true coalition building.
Still there are others in the gay community who sent us emails and complaints about being too radical, too outraged, too in-your-face. They are mostly adults who are worried we will seem too bizarre or angry in the news, thus ruining the "mainstream" image they wish the gay community would show the world.
Let me be very clear to the gay community of Boston: QueerToday will continue to express our outrage against all forms of injustice. We do not care if the news captures us in drag protesting on the streets in the spirit of Stonewall. We do not care if we threaten your obsession with presenting the gay community as "mainstream." We know that being queer is innately NOT mainstream, and it never will be. - Mark Snyder
We had about 50 protestors in front of the Love Won Out Conference throughout the snowy afternoon. QueerToday.com supplied 2 lifesized coffins to represent queer youth suicides caused by Focus On The Family's homophobic attitudes and their refusal to support gay straight alliances in high schools. We also had a large banner that read Focus On The Family: Racist Sexist Anti-gay. In the afternoon about a thousand people joined us from the anti-war march. QueerToday led the anti-war protestors in chants against the Love Won Out Conference. Our spies tell us you could hear it in the main room of the conference. We have also learned that Love Won Out cancelled their lunch break and had lunch catered because of our protest!
Please use our comments feature to post feedback!
When QueerToday.com and Stonewall Warriors protest the Focus on the Family's "Love Won Out" conference in Boston on Oct. 29 we will be doing so in concert with the massive regional Anti-War March happening at the same time on Boston Common. For us, Focus on the Family and the Bush war machine march in lockstep every day against the LGBT community and all oppressed people of the world.
We are committed to shutting down both of these twin evils, and we call on all of our brothers and sisters to join us.
Bush and the far right depend on the ideology of "God, Family, and Country" to shore up support for the war at home - at the same time those "family values" are used to dehumanize our community and separate us from those that should be our natural allies. Pat Robertson and Donald Rumsfeld drink from the same poisoned well of war, racism and poverty.
Three-hundred billion dollars for the war in Iraq steals desperately needed resources from HIV services for LGBT youth, school-based youth programs, victims of Katrina and social programs for us all. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has slammed thousands of us with dishonorable discharges, while trying to degrade our very humanity at the same time. We oppose the recruitment of gay youth - and all youth - into the military to fight and die for this immoral war!
We as a community cannot afford to be silent on this war. We certainly weren't silent during the Vietnam War. Our movement's history with the Gay Liberation Front and the Stonewall Riots sprang out of counter-cultural opposition to that war. Thirty-five years later the Iraq war is very much our issue too, and we cannot give it a pass. We must unite with other movements and forsake the divide and conquer disaster of single-issue politics.
Nothing makes Bush and Romney happier than seeing 16 social justice movements each separately working on just its own issue. Nothing worries them so much than to see all of our communities marching together. Look for our contingent on Boston Common at noon on Saturday, Oct. 29 and march with us past the Tremont Temple where the Love Won Out conference will take place. Join us to oppose the Ex-Gay Movement. We must build a movement that fights for all the issues!
But sometimes, actually more often than one would think, "ex-gay" leaders will let the cat out of the bag. Everytime they do it is an opportunity to expose these charlatans for what they really are: right-wing ideologues who just want to delegitimize same-sex relationships.
Joe Dallas, former president of Exodus International (the largest "ex-gay" group), who will speak at the "Love Won Out" conference in Boston is a case-in-point. Very recently, Dallas showed that "Love Won Out" is not about "helping" same-sex attracted people who are unhappy (which is what they desperately want people to buy), but about a political agenda of delegitimizing same-sex relationships. While those comments by Dallas are illuminating, it was another one of Dallas' statements that actually caught my attention. According to the recent report on "Love Won Out" by the NGLTF, at a 2004 "Love Won Out" conference in Minneapolis, Dallas disparaged gay rights activism by comparing it to the LA riots of 1991. The NGLTF report states:
"Dallas made comparisons, for example, between gay activism and the 1991 LA riots/uprising. This is an exemplary example of how references to race--here, to perceptions of inner city African-Americans as symbolic of decay and immorality--are a code to reinforce ideas regarding LGBT activism as productive of social disorder."
I don't know the specific content of the comments, but a transcript is not necessary. The fact that Dallas could use the LA riots in such a cavalier way shows how he views the riots.
People who understand the issues behind the LA riots have a different perspective on this critical event in American history. The roots of the riots were legitimate and understandable rage and anger at repeated police brutality, poverty and racism in Los Angeles. In addition, despite the portrayal of the riot as a "black" riot, it was a multiracial uprising--even queers participated. In fact, Hollywood was a major center of riot activity. Though not everything that went down in the riots was politically acceptable (e.g. attacks on Korean grocery owners, the one attack on a white truck driver), most of the riot was an expression of understandable fury. And despite assertions to the contrary, most Americans, who lived through the same recession that the blacks and Latinos of LA did, sympathized with the rioters and viewed the acquittal of the white officers who beat Rodney King as illegitimate. This shows, also contrary to the assertions of conservatives in the LGBT civil rights movment, that the American people will not necessarily run away scared when radical action is taken--if they clearly see that the issues behind the radical acts are legitimate (I am not suggesting that queer people should riot!).
Racism and the Christian Right are two peas in a pod. The Christian Right supported Reagan and Bush, two Presidents who used subtle racist imagery such as the image of the (black) welfare queen to further their neoliberal, militaristic plans. But you don't need to go to the '80's to see the Christian Right's racism. This week, darling of the right-wing William Bennett said on his radio program: "If you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose -- you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down...That would be an impossibly ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down..." Bennett tried to defend his comments by pointing to the fact that he said aborting black pregnancies would be "morally reprehensible." Actually, what's morally reprehensible are the racist assumptions behind Bennett's "example." Without the assumption that black people are the main reason for crime in this country (which is just plain wrong), the "example" would not have worked.
Dallas may not acknowledge the racism and poverty that sparked the riot, but we should see the LA rebellion, like the Stonewall rebellion, as a necessary wake-up call and expression of legitimate rage at a cruel and vicious political order that has it in for people of color, the poor, and queers. We should also remind the black and Latino communities that the "ex-gays" and the Christian Right are not on their side. They are on the side of those who oversee and manage this political order. Black and Latino queers need to demand that their ministers and leaders clarify whose side they are on. Are they squarely on the side of anti-racism, or are they flirting with the Christian Right?
Upon returning from the anti-war march in DC I thought it would be a good idea to do something artistic to get our messages into the media. Although humorous, it worked! We were the only group to point out that women's rights are queer rights too, and that the same people bused in to the Cathedral on Sunday were the folks who attended the pro-life rally.
``Shame on you, Sean O'Malley!'' a man in a black hood, holding a scythe, bellowed at the Boston archbishop, who joined the largely peaceful afternoon procession. - Boston Herald Hmm... wonder who that was!?
Two activists were dressed as the grim reaper with black hoods, scythes, and placards that read, ''Homophobia + Sexism = Death." - Boston Globe
Read the report.
Protest Love Won Out on October 29th in Boston!
E-mail your phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Action Endorsement: October 29th Coalition, Stonewall Warriors, International Action Center
More Information: Mark D. Snyder email@example.com 617.416.0552
E-mail This Flyer To Your Friends!
"This Nonsense about my mother praying for me is really making me angry. My mother never approved of my relationship with Ellen. Her hatred for our relationship is one of the many things that ultimately led to my breaking off all communication with her. (My mother, that is, not Ellen.)"
The actress also attacks the so-called 'ex-gay' movement.
"The "Ex-gay" events that are going on right now make me sick," she writes on her site.
"The fact that my mother is using my name to promote this movement makes me even sicker. I could not disagree more adamantly with what she and her group of unloving, unaccepting, Bible preaching hate mongers are doing. I do not believe that homosexuality is something that should be brainwashed out of someone. I do not believe that homosexuality should be anything but celebrated if that is the thing that makes an individual feel good about their life. I believe, as I have always said, that people should love who they want to love."
There is NO debate within the mainstream scientific community. Conversion/reparative therapy is junk science.
Focus On The Family regularly refers youth to Love In Action and Exodus International.
On October 29th Focus On The Family will be holding a large anti-gay conference in Boston with the purpose of informing the public about "curing" and "preventing" homosexuality.
Protest Focus On The Family!
On Sunday Sept. 18th QueerToday.com demonstrated in front of the Tremont Baptist Church to publicly ask them not to host the anti-gay conference produced by Focus On The Family.
Unfortunately we were unable to have our usual meaningful loving conversations with the congregation because about 5 Article Hate Alliance members came with cameras/video cameras and stood in front of us in an effort to intimidate us.
The members of Article Hate snapped photos and videotaped us non-stop. A member from Article Hate asked me why were harassing the church. I calmly informed her that holding signs was not harassment but getting in my face with cameras was.
Article Hate would like you to believe that queer people are obsessed with sex. They were fascinated and obsessed with our sex lives.
One woman from Article Hate insisted that I must be attracted to women because so many men in our community want to be women. She also insisted that I was sexist if I was not attracted to women. After stating these two comments to me, she ran like a little school girl over to her leader Brian Camenker to tell him that she had won an argument with me. Earlier I overheard her telling Brian Camenker that it was obvious the homosexuals in schools were doing this - "just look how young they are!"
A man, who may not have been with Article Hate but was there to protest our presence, reminded me several times that it was a shame that I could not enjoy vaginal sex. He used a c word that I keep forgetting that means vaginal sex...? I had to ask him what it meant! He then informed me that he enjoys anal sex with his wife, and that he is glad he gets to enjoy more kinds of sex than I do.
Yet another man insisted on asking me about my sexual relations with my boyfriend. He asked us repeatedly if we were monogamous, if we planned on getting married, etc. The same man then informed me that I was trying to be my own god by picking and choosing beliefs that fit my lifestyle. I have no idea what that meant. I wish I could be god so I could poof him into a drag queen.
Jesse Sullivan of QueerToday.com brought up another good point: "Brian Camenker is also known to compare queer activists to the Nazi’s. I have to wonder what version of history Brian has been taught and what he is teaching to his children. Thankfully his children are able to receive a public education where they will learn what the Nazi’s were really like, that GLBT people were also massacred in the camps."
The members of Article Hate are so crazy you could videotape them and produce a Saturday Night Live Skit without the need for actors.
The more Article Hate is exposed the more people can see how insane and misguided they are, which can only be good for us.
We will continue to protest Focus On The Family and the Love Won Out Conference.
Please join us and the anti-war Oct. 29th Coalition on October 29th for our MASSIVE Protest against Focus On The Family & The Radical Right-Wing Agenda.
Photo Credit: Article Hate Alliance
Aren't we a terrifying bunch? We look like we are intimidating and harassing people. We look frighteningly "hard core."
"On Sunday, the Boston homosexual community continued its campaign of harassment and intimidation Sunday against the Tremont Temple Baptist Church in Boston. At noon, as churchgoers walked out from services, they were met with about a dozen hard-core homosexual activists. " - Article Hate Alliance
On Thursday Sept. 15 history was made once again in the fight for equal marriage rights. As representative Byron Rushing said, we must continue fighting but we can't just stop at gay marriage. We must all support every civil rights movement of today.
To us that means being politically queer. That means standing up against sexism, racism, senseless wars, imperialism, classism, adultism, ableism, etc. etc. etc.
Join us on September 18th at 2pm at 14 Beacon St Boston to begin some important coalition building!
Our friends over at knowthyneighbor.org have set up a rad web-site exposing the people who sign the anti-gay marriage petition. Help them out if you can.
The 65,825 + names and addresses of those who would attempt to stop legal same-sex marriages are part of the public record and are available to the general public as soon as they are certified by the Secretary of the Commonwealth. This is where www.KnowThyNeighbor.org , its group of passionate volunteers and YOU come in. This website has been created to give the public streamlined access to public information connected with the Initiative Petition to "Define" Marriage. KnowThyNeighbor.org will be enlisting a group of concerned volunteers to enter the names and addresses of the 65,825 + signers and will be providing easy access to all of these names and addresses on our website www.KnowThyNeighbor.org.
Amidst the widespread devastation a handful of queer French Quarter residents who refused to evacuate marched through the streets in celebration of Southern Decadence - the world famous gay pride celebration held in New Orleans.
Their parade should serve as a wakeup call to the gay community. The bar tenders, activists, performers and drag queens are the heart and soul of our community. Not corporations. Not rich politicians.
It is time for us to evaluate how our community has evolved. The divide between the gays and the queers will shatter our support system if it continues to grow.
This is what happens when our government spends all of our money on senseless wars, tax cuts to the rich, ruining social security, and upholding institutionalized racism and classism.
Although it is difficult in this time of sorrow, now is the time to speak out against the Bush Administration. Take a moment to make a donation to the rescue efforts. I recommend donating through the NAACP web site. Then take another moment to write a letter, make a phone call, or talk to your friends about the failures of this administration. There is no reason why our elders should be dying on the side of the road.
It is appalling that during such devastation some bigoted preachers are able to spew homophobia from their mouths. But they are:
(New Orleans, Louisiana) An evangelical Christian group that regularly demonstrates at LGBT events is blaming gays for hurricane Katrina.
Another thing I find ridiculous is all of the uproar over the looting going on in New Orleans. If I had nothing left and the stores were basically destroyed, you'd better believe I would be breaking into the RiteAid for medical supplies and food. Hell, I might pick up a new stereo while I'm at it. Those big corporations have plenty of insurance, and most of their merchandise is destroyed anyway.
I read that the Mayor had diverted the attention of the police force to stopping the looting instead of rescuing people. Now, isn't saving people's lives more important that preventing people from stealing stereos? I hope he ordered them to stop violence instead of arrest people who are stealing to survive.
Also, who is allowing this to happen? Sick. Total lack of leadership.
If the troops weren't fighting a senseless war maybe they could be saving the lives of storm victims.
Here is an excellent article !
It was a "perfect storm" of a different kind that put that great city underwater: Bush-era neglect of our national infrastructure, combined with runaway global warming and a deep contempt for poor African-Americans. - Van Jones
Learn more now so that you can be prepared for our large-scale demonstrations on October 29th.
Now, he's launching a grassroots campaign against homophobia.
Use this space to post your ideas for our protest against the "Love Won Out" conference to be held October 29th at 88 Tremont Street. A planning meeting will be announced in the near future.
Some of my ideas: Picketing, Non-Violent Direct Action, Interfaith Prayer Circle, Flyering/Outreach, Speeches.
Pastor Roberto Miranda of Congregacion Leon de Juda in Roxbury is a threat to Boston’s welcoming culture. In Wednesday's Globe Miranda boasted of his meetings on how to "market" right-wing Christianity to people as a "product." Since when is Christianity a product that should be marketed? Is Miranda admitting that his version Christianity does not stand on its own? Is he calling for a well-funded campaign of deceitfulness?
It is disgusting when radical pastors like Miranda spend millions of dollars building mega-churches in lower-income neighborhoods while promising to have the answers to life's difficulties. They tirelessly utilize their well-rehearsed dynamic personalities to recruit more followers and instill their congregations with a fear of the unknown. And their Karl Rove style campaigns are a tricky combination of lies and fear mongering.
Marc Solomon of MassEquality said, ''…beneath a gentle exterior is someone who holds truly extremist views about being gay. His views are so out of the mainstream that they would be laughable if they weren't so hurtful toward gay people."
Solomon is correct, but the troubling fact is that Miranda does not just hold extremist views on gayness. His entire worldview is a dangerous violent attack on our diverse humanity. He wishes to "reclaim" Massachusetts and “give it back” to “true Christians.” What about the Mainstream Christians, Jewish People, Buddhists and Muslims who reside here?
Miranda should focus on living in the example of Christ’s compassion instead of angrily proclaiming judgment throughout our communities. Those of us in the true mainstream of political thought must not allow the right-wing views of people like Miranda to gain momentum. We need to be equally loud and proud of our more tolerant worldview.
I am the first to admit that I am ignorant to the politics of President Hugo Chavez and the current political climate of Venezuela. I hope that some of you will join me in learning more!
From what I have read so far, I couldn't agree with his socialist ideas more. But do his ideas and his actions correlate?
Who is protesting Chavez?
Who is Chavez - encyclopedia Bio.
Another viewpoint here!
Gay activism goes too far
The homosexual movement's outrageous attempts to intimidate the Tremont Temple Baptist Church expose the brutal nature of gay activism ("Anti-gay conference draws fire," Aug. 16).
The conference in question has a message that homosexual activists vehemently want to stop: People can be healed from the pain of homosexual behavior by embracing God. A prominent lesbian like Anne Heche is now happily married to a man. Gay activism can't stand that discussion.
Now even religious programs in churches are targets. Is this the "civil rights" they keep talking about?
Brian Camenker, Newton
Learn more about Mr. Camenker.
I do have a slight disagreement with the tone of Reilly’s last paragraph, though. He writes, “Take a deep breath everybody. If that’s the best Love Won Out can do, Massachusetts has nothing to worry about.” I get the impression that he’s suggesting “ex-gay” groups are so clearly nutty that no one will take them seriously. Actually, these anti-gay bigots will give us "something to worry about" if everyone treats them like harmless kooks and quacks.
“Ex-gay” groups have been getting a lot of unwarranted media attention and many of the claims they have made on the air have gone unchallenged. Several times, spokespeople for these groups pulled statistics out of thin air. For example, a few representatives of “Love in Action” claimed on CNN that “hundreds of thousands” of people are “ex-gay.” That it took Robert Spitzer, who did a very controversial study of “ex-gays,” sixteen months to find just two hundred people who claimed “change” shows how absurd and unscientific this claim of “hundreds of thousands” is. But don’t expect the mainstream media, which doesn't have a good track record when it comes to critically assessing right-wing claims (e.g. WMDs in Iraq), to point that out.
Furthermore, these “ex-gay” groups are targeting public schools to use as soapboxes for their anti-gay propaganda. See here and here, for instance. Because queer youth have such a difficult time with harassment and intimidation in secondary schools, for “ex-gay” groups to be stoking the fires of homophobia in public schools is beyond disgusting. These groups are becoming more and more confident and they will only stop when they are stopped. We must work to expose their lies and, especially, their right-wing political connections.
If you are looking at gay rights issues from a lobbyist, legislative perspective you may not see the importance of taking action against homophobes. If you are looking at it from an activist perspective, and as someone who wants to change the social and political climate in this country, the importance of standing up to “ex-gay” bigots is a little clearer.
Group clarifies mission
As a member of QueerToday and participant in the demonstration, I am pleased to see media coverage ("Anti-gay conference draws fire," Aug. 16). However, the Herald's interpretation of the event, and QueerToday, is inaccurate.
QueerToday is an organization founded to advocate for the equality of all LGBT people, specifically queer youth, an often overlooked segment. Instead of speaking with our organization, the Herald quoted a direct of the Freedom to Marry Coalition, who has nothing to do with our group and was not even at our demonstration. Nor were there any Herald reporters present.
Focus on the Family's "Love Won Out" is a direct attack on queer youth, designed to suppress their voices and rights.
--Andrea Garvey, Boston
As the congregation poured out of Bostons Tremont Temple Baptist Church after services Aug. 14, decked out in their Sunday best, they were met by a group of 10 young activists who urged them to close the church doors to Focus on the Family (FOTF), which is set to hold a 1000-person ex-gay conference at the church Oct. 29.
The activists, members of an LGBT activist group called QueerToday.com, spent an hour in conversation with parishioners and church officials about the Love Won Out conference in hopes that they could persuade parishioners to rescind their agreement with FOTF to use the church for the fall conference.
Continue reading Bay Windows>
Read Jenn's reflections on the event >
Read Mark's reflections on the event >
There is an overwhelming amount of evidence connecting James Dobson with people who were against repealing segregationist language from Alabama's constitution and who have spoken at white supremacist rallies.
Gil Alexander-Moegerle was a co-founder and for ten years was senior vice-president of Focus on the Family. He is now speaking out about James Dobson's racism in his book "Dobson's War On America." Alexander-Moegerle says that he overheard Dobson say, "You know, that's the very same thing about the fact that blacks are genetically intellectually inferior to whites and we could document that if anybody would do that research. But you can't get that research done because that is politically incorrect."
James Dobson founded the Family Research Council. The president of that organization, Tony Perkins was fined for paying a KKK leader for their mailing list and spoke in front of a white supremacist group. - The Nation Magazine
Dobson is a loud vocal supporter of Roy Moore (the Alabama 10 Commandments judge), and Moore's aide, Tom Parker (Dobson's former State Director). Roy Moore and Tom Parker were both against removing segregationist language from the Alabama Constitution.
Parker (Dobson's former State Director) is seen here wearing a confederate flag next to white supremacists. He has been known to distribute confederate flags at rallies.
"Giles was aided by a virtually unparalleled Alabama celebrity in his battle against the amendment, distributing testimonials from former chief justice Roy Moore, whose fame was sealed in 2003 when he defied a federal court order to remove a two-ton granite Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court. They were joined by former Moore aide Tom Parker, who handed out miniature Confederate flags this fall during his successful campaign for a seat on the Alabama Supreme Court. " - Washington Post
On an evening when Jews were celebrating the second night of Passover, Dobson claimed, "The biggest Holocaust in world history came out of the Supreme Court" with the Roe v. Wade decision. On his syndicated radio show nearly two weeks earlier, on April 11, Dobson compared the "black robed men" on the Supreme Court to "the men in white robes, the Ku Klux Klan." - The Nation Magazine
"Tolerance is a kind of watchword of those who reject right and wrong... It's a kind of desensitization to evil of all varieties. Everything has become acceptable to those who are tolerant." -James Dobson
About 250 people of all races, ages, classes, and sexual orientations gathered at Park Street in Boston last night to honor Cindy Sheehan and her call for an end to the occupation of Iraq. There were over 1600 such vigils & rallies promoted by moveon.org and organized by local hosts throughout the nation. The Park Street vigil was hosted by QueerToday.com founder Mark Snyder.
I am writing in response to “Anti-Gay conference draws fire,” August 16, by Jessica Fargen. As a member of QueerToday since its inception, and as a participant in Sunday’s demonstration, I am pleased to see coverage of our cause in the media. However, I feel that Fargen’s interpretation of Sunday’s event, and QueerToday’s cause, are inaccurate.
QueerToday is an organization founded to advocate for the equality of all LGBT people, specifically queer youth, which is an often overlooked segment of the queer community. According to the Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by our state government, LGBT Youth in Massachusetts are 5 times more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth. However, in schools with Gay Straight Alliances, the risk drops to the same level of straight youth. Research proves that letting LGBT youth know they are welcome, accepted, and protected saves their lives.
Instead of speaking with our organization, the reporter of Tuesday’s article quoted a director of the Freedom to Marry Coalition, who has nothing to do with our group and was not even present at our demonstration on Sunday afternoon. Nor were there any Herald reporters present—the only media who showed up were from Bay Windows.
Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out” conference is a direct attack on queer youth, designed to suppress the voices and rights of young people throughout this country. Let’s focus our attention on the youth, who have been overshadowed far too long.
I was not troubled by the members of the congregation that were nervous or fearful of our presence. I was not hurt by those who walked by and ignored my smile and my extended handshake. The people who I found most hurtful were those who tried to explain that Tremont Baptist Church was merely renting space to Focus on the Family.
Many assured me not to confuse FOF with their church and their congregation. They wanted to make it clear that the church was not anti-gay and that they truly welcome everyone. It is difficult for me to understand that some church members can live with the contradiction of welcoming all people into their church, while simultaneously hosting the Love Won Out conference. LWO is detrimental to the queer community. Lies, hate, and bigotry are spread because of this group and their national conferences.
• How can Tremont Baptist Church stand by idly and detach themselves from the situation by inviting the enemy into our community?
• How can this loving, positive church disassociate itself from the hate it has brought into our neighborhood?
While the pastors and congregation all loudly proclaim their love of others they support Focus on the Family through passively hosting their LWO conference.I am hoping that in the upcoming weeks I will have a greater understanding of the Tremont Baptist Church and the people who worship there. It is difficult for me to struggle with the contradiction of feeling so embraced and welcomed by so many, while the same people who value diversity ignore the hurt and harm Focus on the Family is bringing to their church and our community.
Q & A with the blogger
Why do you identify as queer?
My politics, my lifestyle, my culture, my friends, my relationship ( my boyfriend is FTM trans) are all counterculture, and I love it.
They have accused us of terrorizing the Baptist Church. I think if you speak to any of the loving congregation members of that church they will tell you that our conversations were far from terrorist in nature. In fact I recall a hug and many handshakes from the congregation that day.
The real terrorists are the crazies who spread lies about LGBT people on their "blogs."
QueerToday has been and always will be nothing but loving and respectful.
Where are these thousands of ex-gays Article 8 speaks of? Is there a secret ex-gay registry?
I've only heard of a few ex-gays and most of them including members of Exodus end up getting caught in gay bars.
Our next meet & greet with the church is on Sept. 18th.
Our large-scale protest is on October 29th.
Take a moment to register if you plan on coming.
Bring your own candles. This is a silent vigil, but you may bring signs against the war / pro peace.
They were all very kind and loving except for one man who murmured "You'll burn in hell."
Some members of the church didn't know the conference was coming. The younger members of the church were shocked that a conference that tried to change gays to straights was coming. "That can't be done," yelled one girl and her boyfriend.
Another woman gripped my arm tightly and kept repeating "Jesus loves you, you can change, follow his word." I told her I knew that Jesus loved me the way I was and I didn't need to change.
Another woman proclaimed her support for Focus On The Family, "I listen to them every day I love them. Jesus loves you. He's not anti-gay! No we're not anti-gay," she said. When I tried to inform her that James Dobson thinks gays are sick, she refused to listen.
Several members of the congregation said they did not support the conference but Focus On The Family was renting the space, and they let anyone rent the space. "Free Speech," they said.
The Secretary of the church said she prayed for us because she knows our lifestyle is difficult. I said, "Over there is my boyfriend and we are very happy and healthy together." She informed me that she has received many of our calls and she prays for us, and she does NOT support the conference. She also said she was not that informed about our cause. But in the next breath she defended the church for renting the space to FOTF.
Some members of the congregation said they were told just before today's service was over that the conference was an evangelical Christian conference. They were intrigued when they discovered the true reason for the conference through our flyers and conversations.
It was a good day. We were able to see what the sentiments in the congregation are - and wow do they vary! The congregation has the supporters, the misinformed, and the anti-gays. Let's hope our supporters start to speak up in the next few weeks. Let's hope people start expressing concern to Interim Pastor Ray!
Our next official meet & greet with the congregation will be on September 18th at noon.
Sunday's demonstration has been getting a lot of attention. The editors of BayWindows and InNewsWeekly have encouraged folks to join us. Be sure to thank them!
I want to remind everyone that our first demonstration is not about protesting the Baptist Church. This Sunday is about kindly asking them not to hold this conference, and exposing the hateful lies spread by Focus On The Family.
I urge all of you who attend to be warm and kind to the congregation of the Tremont Temple Baptist Church.
Ask them to hear your personal story. Tell them how much you appreciate the history of their church. Ask them what they know about "Love Won Out" and FOTF.
All of that said, I assure you our tone and actions will change on October 29th, when Focus On The Family rolls into town.
In the spirit of compassion,
Mark D. Snyder
"If you can, join QueerToday outside the church. Those engaging in "religious terrorism," as organizer Mark Snyder describes reparative therapy, need to be called out. - Susan Ryan-Vollmar (Editor, Bay Windows)
According to my father, we will probably lose this vote. However, there is hope within the Lutheran Church and evidence that things are changing.
Thanks Dad for being an ally and fighting homophobia from within the church!
Let's take a look at number 6.
6. A tendency to walk, talk, dress and even “think” effeminately.
ALL ARE WELCOME! Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim: Stand Up Against Hate.
Ex-gay movement plans Boston confab
LGBT youth group organizing a series of protests
By Ethan Jacobs
Published: Thursday, August 11, 2005
Media Credit: Marilyn Humphries
QueerToday.com founder Mark Snyder stands outside Tremont Temple Baptist Church, where the ex-gays will gather this October.
The ex-gay movement is coming to Boston this fall, and a group of young LGBT activists plans to start protesting early. On Oct. 29, the Tremont Temple Baptist Church will welcome Focus on the Family's Love Won Out conference, which is expected to draw a crowd of about 1000 people seeking information on the ex-gay movement. In response, QueerToday.com, a long-dormant group of youth activists that made headlines in June 2003 with a protest outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, will begin demonstrating outside Tremont Temple Baptist Church Aug. 14 in anticipation of the October conference. QueerToday founder Mark Snyder said he hopes to hold several protests between now and October, leading up to a larger protest the day of the event, and he hopes the community turns out to voice their disapproval."Of course we would love it if the church would cancel the conference, but that looks unlikely, so now we want to voice our concern and let people know that this is happening in Boston," said Snyder.Love Won Out, which holds six conferences in North America each year, promises to bring the heavyweights of the ex-gay movement to Boston. Speakers slated to attend include Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, the largest ex-gay resource and referral organization; Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, president of the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), and Nancy Heche, the mother of actress Anne Heche and a crusader in the ex-gay movement. The elder Heche's husband was a gay man who died from complications of AIDS and Anne Heche had a highly publicized relationship with Ellen DeGeneres before marrying a man.Wayne Besen, an activist against the ex-gay movement and author of the 2003 book Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth, described the Love Won Out conferences as the most respectful face of the ex-gay movement, due in large part to the slick production values and funding supplied by Focus on the Family to stage the conferences."Love Won Out conferences are the anchor for the ex-gay movement. They're important because the people running them are a lot more PR-savvy than the rest of the ex-gay movement," said Besen, who has attended one conference and protested outside two others. "This is Broadway, the others are Off Off Broadway. This is a slick production, very well put together and designed."As a result, he said, Love Won Out conferences usually attract more media coverage than other ex-gay functions.Melissa Fryrear, an ex-gay speaker at the conference and gender issues analyst for Focus on the Family, said the conference workshops are designed to give people information on how to "cure" homosexuality, either in themselves or in loved ones."The largest group of people who come are parents who have a son or daughter living homosexually. The next largest group are pastors and church leaders. And we also have educators and counselors attend, certainly lay people from churches, others from the community. We have people certainly themselves who are struggling with homosexuality and are considering, wanting to come out of homosexuality," explained Fryrear.Snyder said QueerToday targeted the Love Won Out conference in large part because the group, which he said comprises 10-15 active members in their 20s, believes the ex-gay movement is particularly damaging to LGBT youth. He said the message that homosexuality can be prevented and cured drives LGBT youth to commit suicide and accused Love in Action of "religious terrorism.""[Focus on the Family] uses their interpretation of the Bible to attack our community, spread lies about our community and encourage people to hate us.... These people do inflict terror in our community. They make us feel unsafe. They make us afraid. That's terrorism in my opinion," argued Snyder. QueerToday's only previous protest at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross garnered headlines as activists disrupted a Sunday service to protest the anti-gay rhetoric of the state's Catholic bishops.Snyder's argument, if not his rhetoric, is supported by the mainstream medical community. The American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all agree that there is no medical benefit to reparative therapy, which those in the ex-gay movement use to try to "cure" people of homosexuality. The latter two groups concur that reparative therapy can actually have a negative impact on the mental health of those who undergo it.The impact of the ex-gay movement on LGBT youth became particularly visible recently through the case of Zach Stark, a 16-year-old gay blogger from Tennessee sent to an ex-gay facility called Refuge against his will last June for eight weeks. Prior to entering the program, Stark caught the attention of other bloggers, posting information about his story and about Refuge on his blog, and the story garnered the attention of the gay press and, to a lesser extent, the mainstream media. Although many LGBT activists used Stark's case as a rallying point against the ex-gay movement, Stark posted a statement on his blog Aug. 1 defending the program following his release.Snyder said QueerToday will gather at Tremont Temple Baptist Church Aug. 14 at noon to protest the church's decision to hold the conference, and they have invited likeminded members of the community to join them. The group hopes support from the community will be strong enough to carry out several more protests leading up to October, but no other protests have yet been scheduled.Snyder said his group asked the church to pull their sponsorship of the conference but the church has remained steadfast. Representatives of the church did not return a call from Bay Windows seeking comment for this story.Besen said QueerToday is taking the right approach in publicly opposing the conference, which he accused of swindling the public with false claims of curing homosexuality. He argued that the only "success stories" in the movement who attend the conferences are professional ex-gays who have a financial stake in selling the movement."It's heartbreaking because the majority of people [at the conference] are friends and family members of someone who recently came out, and they're incredibly sad and vulnerable and desperate for answers, and what they're going to get is only going to drive their family and friends further apart. What you don't see is most important of all is ex-gays, because ex-gays don't exist," said Besen.Fryrear disputed Besen's claim, saying that there are plenty of success stories, but that those people often keep quiet to avoid intimidation by the gay community. "Literally thousands of men and women have successfully overcome homosexuality. Not everyone feels safe to share their story publicly because to be honest, in my own life, I have to have personal security when I travel. I could never repeat to my mother the things that are said to me," said Fryrear. "There's a lot of hatred directed towards former homosexuals, and people don't want to share that publicly."Bostonians will have the opportunity firsthand to decide whether they believe the rhetoric of the ex-gay movement when the conference comes to town, although it will cost them $60 at the door to attend. In the meantime, Snyder said anyone hoping to protest the event is welcome to join QueerToday outside the Tremont Temple Baptist Church on Aug. 14."We think it's time to be on offense. We're sick of being attacked and being on defense, and we want to get our message out now," said Snyder.
Ethan Jacobs is a staff writer at Bay Windows. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the Tremont Temple Baptist Church web site you proudly proclaim the ideals your church was founded upon. Your church has always stood up for the rights of those who were silenced. Your church has always been open to all - as the sign on the temple still reads.
In your letter you promise your congregation will "stand against all of those forces that cause pain, loneliness and alienation." Focus On The Family is the most powerful right-wing organization in the world. It is one of the strongest forces to cause pain, loneliness, and alienation among the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Community.
Tremont Temple Baptist Church would better serve LGBT people by welcoming them to worship without the onslaught of lies and misinformation distributed by the "experts" who lead Focus On The Family.
There are many churches in the Boston Area who identify as welcoming and affirming congregations. Those churches are fighting against the true forces that cause pain and alienation. I urge you and your congregation to follow their lead.
However, we are committed to conducting non-violent protests against Focus On The Family and the "Love Won Out" Conference in front of your church until you open your hearts to our community and cancel this event.
Mark D. Snyder
LIES & DENIAL
Focus On The Family, the organization presenting the anti-gay “Love Won Out Conference” in Boston, has a radical interpretation of the Bible that contradicts science and encourages discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.
The American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, and American Medical Association agree:
Sexual orientation is not a choice.
Scientific evidence does not show that conversion therapy works and that it can do more harm than good.
Gays have not been found to differ markedly either in their overall mental health or in their approaches to child rearing nor have their romantic and sexual relationships been found to detract from their ability to care for their children.
Gay Marriage & Adoption can provide families with the care and benefits they need to stay healthy and protected.
According to the Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by our state government, LGBT Youth in Massachusetts are 5 times more likely to attempt suicide. However, in schools with Gay Straight Alliances they are of equal risk to their straight peers to attempt suicide. Science proves letting LGBT youth know they are welcome, accepted and protected saves their lives.
Keep Focus On The Family out of your churches and schools. Their lies are deadly.
They are the ones obsessed with sex. They also consistently ignore science. Abstinence only education has been proven not to be effective in preventing pregnancy, HIV & STDs among teens. Focus On The Family is a radical right wing powerhouse that must be shut down!
Finally there are other LGBT people brave enough to openly criticize the gay marriage movement in print. We must always question our opposition and ourselves.
"Beyond Gay Marriage"
Please keep him in your thoughts!
"(Orlando, Florida) Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America expressed anger, hurt and confusion about what role gays should have in their denomination at a hearing Tuesday on an upcoming vote at their national convention." - 365gay.com
Sunday Aug. 14 at noon, join us as we make a public plea to the Tremont Temple Baptist Church not to host the anti-gay "Love Won Out" Conference produced by Focus On The Family.
We will offer to tell our stories to the congregation at Tremont Temple. We will ask them what they know about "Love Won Out" and share our reasons for why it is wrong.
We will offer our support to those members of the congregation who are against Focus On The Family.
We will hand out flyers that expose lies perpetrated by Focus On The Family. We will also distribute our "Letter To Pastor Ray."
We will call for a larger louder rally and demonstration to occur on Oct. 29th when the enemy (Focus On The Family) rolls into town.