If you were to ask anyone in our Russian group, they would tell you that Joel 2:25 has been a source of support and encouragement for them. Everything we do is about improving self-esteem and self-worth and reducing or eliminating shame. We fight hard against bigotry, intolerance, and violence and we have been able to help a few men and women escape from family situations that were as you described.
An investigative reporter who initially had the same view interviewed several of our guys from Eastern Europe and the Middle East. She originally thought she would prove that we were causing "harm." After she interviewed them though, she contacted me and said she had changed her mind. Everyone she talked to said that Joel 2:25 was one of the best things that had ever happened to them. She is still critical of our views, but when she published her article, she was fair in sharing what these men had actually said about their experiences in Joel 2:25: LINK: Gay Men in Homophobic Countries Turn to Controversial U.S. Groups for HelpI gave an hour long television interview which was broadcast via satelite to Iran. My entire focus was on helping the viewers understand that Same-Sex Attraction was NOT a choice and that it was no one's "fault." I also got a few minutes at the end to speak directly to anyone watching who was experiencing SSA themselves. Here is what I said in those last few minutes: VIDEO LINK: Message to Iranians with Same-Sex Attraction (SSA) - Farsi
I read Joshua Alcorn's post and am as devastated by his suicide as you are. It is a horrific tragedy. I cannot imagine the pain that he must have gone through which led to his Gender Identity Disorder and then to his suicide. This young man needed unconditional love - not to have his genitals surgically mutilated at the age of 16. There was nothing wrong with him or his male body. It is a tragedy that the "transgender" propaganda convinced him that the only way he could be happy would be change who he is.
I do not know what kind of church his family went to or what kind of counselor they talked to. I do know that IF he had gone for real Reparative Therapy it would have helped him to heal and accept himself as a man. I have three friends in Joel 2:25 who are Ex-"Transgendered." They would also encourage anyone in Joshua's position to seek out healing. I do not know what other emotional wounds he had though so I do not know whether that would have prevented this suicide. This kind of tragedy goes much deeper than politics.
I've known Randy for several years. He's never really been an "ex-gay poster boy." He never went for Reparative Therapy nor attempted to address any of the underlying issues he had. During his time at Exodus, he was proud to be a "celibate gay christian" and fought against everything anyone tried to do to bring real healing and address the real issues (rather than "pray away" or "white knuckling"). His recent "coming out" is not a change. He never left the "gay" identity in the first place. That is his choice and I respect his right to make his own decisions, but he and Alan Chambers have never been spokespersons for the rest of us.
I can understand your anger toward fundamentalists who have judged and shamed people like us. I am angry at them too. I fight alongside you against that bigotry. I am saddened that my work and that of RT has been in any way associated with that in many people's minds. Everything we do in Joel 2:25 and everything about Reparative Therapy is focused on improving self-esteem, self-worth, and self-acceptance while eliminating shame.
Do you not find it ironic that you argued above that Joshua Alcorn should have had his genitals surgically mutilated at the age of 16 to CHANGE his entire gender and yet you want to ban counseling for anyone that age who wants to change their sexual behavior? Which is more invasive and likely to cause lifelong harm? Why not encourage young men like Joshua to accept themselves as they were BORN instead of forcing 16 year olds who do not want the gay life to embrace your "gay" label?
Just like Randy, these 9 self-proclaimed "leaders" never went for Reparative Therapy. None of what they describe has anything to do with what we promote. They fought against the idea of emotional healing from the beginning. They went from being fundamentalist "pray it away" to the opposite extreme. Neither of which is healthy. They have nothing to say on the topic because they have participated in or experienced any of what they now claim to be experts on.
Yes, I have seen a massive decrease in my SSA, but that's not really the main focus of Reparative Therapy. The focus is on removing shame and healing emotional wounds. It is not expected to be a "cure" becuase the SSA is not a disease. It is a normal need that must be met in healthy ways. The therapy has helped me (and everyone I know who has ever actually tried it) to find peace, self-acceptance, and healing.
So, yes, I'm angry and fed up with you and your cohorts -- and you have a fight, and a very public one on your hands, as you will hear on The Del & Emerson Show today (if you choose to listen) as long as you keep spouting that which disputes those authorities who I promise use their brains (American Medical Association, American Psychological Association and most leading professional medical and social science organizations) instead of holding on to an archaic book that promotes slavery, stoning adulterers and rebellious children AND equates eating shellfish as the same abomination as men lying with me.
The AMA and others have all copied from the one general statement issued by the APA Council on LGBT which consisted of 7 therapists. 6 of these 7 are openly gay (a strong bias) and none of these 7 ever practiced SOCE (Reparative Therapy) nor spoke to anyone who had.
They re-stated the general "warning" given for ALL therapies but said on page 87 of their report that they had not found any specific evidence of anyone being harmed by Reparative Therapy itself. Even if I took their biased political stunt as authoritative, it provides no indication that RT has ever actually harmed anyone.
Everything we do in Joel 2:25 and everything about Reparative Therapy is focused on improving self-esteem, self-worth, and self-acceptance while eliminating shame. Those are all good things regardless of what choices a person makes in the future.
I acutally heard from a lady last night who has been in our Joel 2:25 women's group for the past year who said finding our group saved her life. I have heard from many guys in our other groups that every aspect of their lives have improved from being a part of this community. I hear this feedback all the time from all over the world.
Jeremy SchwabPax Christi,