Queer Action Coalition

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Voices Encouraged

As we take a stand on Monday, June 5th(8:30-10:00/4:00-5:30) to emanate love in action through a peaceful demonstration outside "Love In Action", we highly encourage former clients to tell their stories. We feel it is important for those who are able and willing to speak up and share their truths, in order to help those who may need to hear them. Your stories are important. Your experience is something we can all learn and benefit from as we stand for those who've been silenced by homophobia, misinformation, and shame. We have an already long list of individuals whose testimonials we've compiled over the past year, and if you wish to be apart of this voice...please contact us by email(fighting.homophobia@gmail.com) in advace of the June 5th demonstration. All correspondance is strictly confidential.

**Several former clients of both REFUGE(the teen program), and LIA's adult program will be attending the demonstration...

We are very concerned for the any individuals who may be forced into Love In Action's summer youth program, REFUGE, and with respect to anyone willfully choosing to attend, we merely hope to offer a positive reflection...an embrace...images, and sounds of love and support...to let any willing ears to hear...that it's ok to be who you are, and if someone is forcing you to be otherwise...we're here to let you know that there's another side. We are concerned that misleading information, manipulated facts, and tactics of shame and fear can lead to people making misinformed choices. It is our hope that those who've been personally affected, and those who wish to show support, will speak out, stand up, and offer a voice for those whos voices have been dimmed.

More soon on the demonstration.

With love,

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Love In Action launching expanded "ammunition" on youth...QAC asks concerned citizens to show true Love In Action.

In May/June of 2005, a 16yo teenager, named Zach, in the outskirts of Memphis, TN wrote some chilling words in his myspace.com blog that would spark outrage and protest amongst both the local community, and around the globe. Anyone currently reading this blog entry is undoubtedly familliar with this story which eventually led to headlines in the NewYork Times, on CNN, Good Morning America, and just about anywhere imaginable. There were also many state investigations, and a lawsuit, in which LIA claimed, amongst other things, that they had lost half of their business, resulting in the selling of one of their two live in houses.

Many of LIA's former adult clients, such as the incredibly gifted, and generous Peterson Toscano, and the amazingly kind and courageous Brandon Tidwell(to name only a few) offered their first hand experiences of the program. John Evans, one of the original founders of Love In Action back in 1973 in California also spoke up/out about the danger of reparative therapy during this last year.

Not too long after this, another teenager, named DJ Butler spoke out about his experience of being forced into LIA's REFUGE program, and more teens have followed, prompting the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to compile the massive report, Youth in the Crosshairs: The Third Wave of Ex-Gay Activism.

As the one year anniversary of last summer's protests nears, an un-publicized/somewhat hidden document on Love In Action's REFUGE website outlines a new plan to expand their targetting of youth.

From LIA's document: REFUGE International BOOK/Summer 2006:

Although we have seen success in our ministry, we see the culture relentlessly fighting back. So, we are expanding our ammunition to battle for young people and their families. Our experienced counselors and staff will offer a whole new array of options starting during the summer of 2006:

• Residential recovery for young adults (ages 18-25)
• College campus outreach
• Revamped summer program for youth (ages 13-17)
• Seminars to equip church and community youth leaders
• Conferences to heal wounds within families
• Creative support for parents and families

It appears, in this 8 page document, that LIA will launch a 3-month pilot program this summer for youth ages 13-17, and have begun to request funds for its operation. They have also launched a MYSPACE.COM blog in an attempt to further target youth by adopting main-stream/pop-cultural avenues of communication/outreach....these tactics seem to be the stepping stones towards a much larger front in an attack on youth, and their vunerable parents...

The Queer Action Coalition is rather concerned about these actions on LIA's behalf, simply because WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE WELL BEING OF OUR FELLOW CITIZENS.

Our concerns continue to be as follows:

  • Love In Action holds biased, homophobic views, equating homosexuality with mental health issues such as drug and alcohol addiction, and this, at its very root promotes manipulated shame and judgement.
  • Love In Action does not present that GBLT people can, and do live happy, productive, whole lives. They refer to homosexuals as inherently broken and lonely people, which is, at is base, misleading and therfore a manipulation of facts that both parents, and their children are wrecklessly mislead by.
  • Love In Action enforces many pervasive myths and stereotypes that are unfounded in research, and they back these stereotypes with slanted statistics, and false information disguised as “truths”, endangering the well-being of those seeking their help.
  • Love In Action blatantly negates valid research that warns of the possible harmful effects of their practices.
  • Love In Action ignores and discredits numerous former clients suggestions that their practices are deceiving, rooted in bias, misguided, and potentially harmful.
  • At the very least, we feel that Love In Action should offer a disclaimer to what they do, noting that all major mental health and medical associations warn that their practices may further shame, self hatred, isolation and suicidal ideation.
  • We feel that due to the promotion of the idea that GBLT people are sinful, broken, and in need of changing, Love In Action is in fact contributing to the very brokenness, isolation, and self hatred that they claim to treat, and that their view encourages hate, and stigmatization that GBLT people may already face on a daily basis.

With our knowledge of LIA's attempt to further their attack on youth, and the one-year anniversary of our first protest at their facility nearly one year ago, the Queer Action Coalition calls the local, national, and international community to raise their voices, and open their hearts....to make a stand and continue to show what LOVE IN ACTION looks like.

  • On MONDAY, June 5th, from 8:30am until 10:00am, and then again from 4:00pm until 5:30pm, we will hold a peaceful, loving demonstration of Love In Action, at 4780 Yale Road-Memphis, TN 38128.

More info soon.