Queer Action Coalition

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.


  • good luck, kids. wish I could be there. xoxo

    By Blogger sue, at 4:23 PM  

  • you all have taken this successfully so much farther than i could have imagined when it began with one protest almost a year ago. i am so proud i was involved in the beginning and i only wish i could be there for the continuation. much love to you all. keep up the excellent work!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:00 AM  

  • I'll be there. Thank you all, for keeping up the good fight.

    By Blogger Bruce Garrett, at 8:41 AM  

  • Good Luck to all of you that are going. I want to be there.. Just remember, to let them get under your skin.

    Peace my Darlings!

    By Anonymous Yvette, at 8:56 AM  

  • My name is Lance, and I attended refuge at the same time as Zach. This year I will be attending the protest and bringing a small group of people from Missouri with me. Can't wait!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:01 PM  

  • My 18 year old son chose to leave homosexuality after finding it to be an unsatisfying way to live his life. He chose on his own to attend LIA and is pursuing a life of freedom from the bondage of homosexuality. I am proud of him and respect him. LIA is there for those who choose to change. You should respect others' right to choose the way they want to live their lives. No one is telling you how to live yours.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:54 AM  

  • Dear Anonymous...
    We respect you and your son's choices. We're not telling how to live your life, we're just asking for an end to the messages of shame, and bias that exist out there in the world which so many of us have had to suffer through...and obviously many continue to suffer through. Look at the entry just above yours...a child who was forced into the program just last year against his will, now has a safe place to come and voice his own opinions, not those of shame, and forced identity. The concerned citiziens who came out last summer to demonstrate, and who will come out this summer are of all walks of life...as God would love to see...encouraging love, acceptance, and the embracing of our fellow humans. The well being of those who may be forced into this sort of treatment is our first and foremost concern, and countless individuals who've both been forced into LIA, and those who've put themselves through it "volluntarily" have spoken out about their time there. We hope to offer hope for similar individuals. We come not to tell anyone how to live...but merely to show love...in action.

    By Anonymous QAC, at 12:07 AM  

  • This is MENTAL CHILD ABUSE and nothing less! These children should be taken from parents who allow quacks like Smid to mind-screw their children. It's bad/sad enough that adults are conned into subjecting themselves to this horrible terrorist-like abuse, but when you FORCE your child into one of these satanic camps, it's child abuse!!!

    By Anonymous Walt, at 8:43 AM  

  • He chose on his own to attend LIA...

    Swell. Choice is a big issue here. The fact is the LIA/R also takes in gay teens against their will. That needs to stop.

    You should respect others' right to choose the way they want to live their lives. No one is telling you how to live yours.

    Pot. Kettle. You. As a matter of fact, LIA/R is telling gay teens who don't want to be there, how to live their lives. I think the respect you're looking for is a one way street that only goes in your direction. That's not respect at all actually. It's contempt.

    If they would just tell parents that they will not take in any teen who isn't wholeheartedly willing to be there, then a lot of their problems with the protesters would go away. But they won't. And that says it all. The only choice they feel obliged to respect, is the one they want everyone else to make.

    And so the protests go on...until everyone is free to choose the way they want to live their lives.

    By Blogger Bruce Garrett, at 6:21 PM  

  • The notion that no body has a right to tell someone how to live their life is extremely foolish.

    Parents certainly have that right and responsibility. The god you reference is not the God who gave us the Bible as the standard of how to live our lives.

    It is a convenient "religion" that allows whatever behavior you see as okay.

    Read 1 Cor 6:9-11

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:43 AM  

  • The notion that no body has a right to tell someone how to live their life is extremely foolish.

    You ever hear of something called "female circumcision"? Its a practice in some cultures, among parents who hold certain religious values, of mutilating their daughter's genitals when they're children, so they won't experience sexual pleasure as adults. The idea, so some of them say, is that it preserves the chastity of young girls by reducing their desire for sexual intercourse. Others simply assert that their religion requires it.

    Question: do parents, in the service of their deeply held religious values, have the right to mutilate their children's genitals?

    You said: You should respect others' right to choose the way they want to live their lives. Now however, you're saying that people actually can tell others how to live their lives. What part of being a follower of Christ is it, that makes it so easy for you to talk out of both sides of your mouth?

    It's a convenient religion that demands that everyone live their lives, as you happen to want to live yours. It's an even more convenient religion that allows the majority to condemn a minority for a "sin" that does not tempt the majority. But I don't think I'd use the word "convenient" to describe a religion that allows, let alone demands that grown adults mutilate their children's bodies...or their hearts...so that when they're adults they will never know the joy of human intimacy, let alone the awe and wonder of intimate body and soul love.

    "Child" and "Abuse" are two words that come to mind...

    By Blogger Bruce Garrett, at 4:47 PM  

  • Thank you Queer Action Coalition for all you have done and all you continue to do! You are needed, please know that! Much Love your way:-) See you Monday!

    By Anonymous Rohbi Yow, at 3:15 PM  

  • To Bruce:

    Are you a Christian?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:26 AM  

  • Are you a Christian?

    No. I was raised a Baptist. But I have always loved the God I saw in nature. I'd be a Unitarian now, probably, save for one thing: forgiveness.

    I have seen so much pointless, careless, venomous heartbreak and pain viciously directed at the lives of Gay people. Lovers torn apart. Lovers left in agony outside the hospital door while their beloved slowly dies behind a door they are not allowed to pass through, because as far as the law is concerned they are strangers. Kids, adults, beaten to bloody pulps if not killed outright with just about every weapon you can name. They say the police can tell if it's a gay bashing, by the wildly excessive force used on the victims.

    And I have watched while one man of God after another, pounds their pulpit to incite religious passions against homosexuals. The other day I discovered that Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, authors of the Left Behind stories, have made their Antichrist character literally the spawn of a gay male couple. There are days I find myself wondering if this was how it felt to be a Jew in 1920s Germany, watching the horror brewing on the horizon. Perhaps someday someone will take a baseball bat to my head, or blow my brains out with a gun, convinced that gay people are going to deliver the world to the Antichrist.

    I know what Jesus would tell me. He would say I have to forgive them. (I know a certain Quaker survivor of Love In Action who would tell me the same thing...)

    And...I just can't.

    That is why I am not a Christian. But I love God. With all my heart. How could I not love the creator of this wonderful, beautiful cosmos? How could I not love that which gave me this good life? You think homosexuality is a sin? I tell you that the times I spent in the arms of a man I was deeply in love with, were times I could not have thanked my maker enough. I'd as soon spit in God's face, as call it sin.

    You should lift your eyes from that Bible a time or two, and look at what God made.

    By Blogger Bruce Garrett, at 6:19 PM  

  • you are going to die and live in hell you low-life scum. If you ever get a ride in an ambulance you had better hope that it is not me taking care of you or you will certainly die sooner.

    By Anonymous eric-gunther;oberhauser, at 3:46 AM  

  • Thank you, Eric, for helping to prove a point...

    By Blogger Bob Painter, at 5:12 AM  

  • To Bruce:

    I feel your pain, believe it or not. Before I became a Christian,
    I had many of doubts yo have about God. Because I believe you need to make Jesus Lord of your life, I make the comments I do.

    I do not have any hate for people,
    whether "straight" or otherwise. What we do now with Jesus determines our eternity. It is another sin to worship the creation and not worship the creator.

    God Bless You

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:21 PM  

  • If you ever get a ride in an ambulance you had better hope that it is not me taking care of you...

    EMT are ya? So...how many of your patients have you actually killed? And if I'm a low life scum for loving other men, then what does that make you, for killing them?

    By Blogger Bruce Garrett, at 8:16 PM  

  • I feel your pain...

    That's really swell of you Bill, but...no, you don't:

    Before I became a Christian, I had many of doubts yo have about God.

    I don't have any doubts about God. My certainties about God are probably a good deal deeper in my bedrock then in yours. The difference between us is that I would never consider forcing someone else to my beliefs, no matter how rock solid certain of them I am, because I know the difference between having a belief in God and being God.

    Do you understand why Baptists don't baptize infants, or very small children? Or have the lords of the megachurches finally starting doing that now?

    Because I believe you need to make Jesus Lord of your life, I make the comments I do.

    Jesus can speak for himself, I can listen for myself, and you are making the comments you do because you don't seem to understand those two facts.

    By Blogger Bruce Garrett, at 8:34 PM  

  • To: Bruce

    You said you were not a Christian.

    Do you believe there is life after this life?

    By the way, Jesus has spoken for himself. It is called the Bible.

    The "anonymous" preacher

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:40 AM  

  • I think this protest is great and thank you all so much for what you are doing. I really wish I could be there too. You have all of my heart and support.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:49 PM  

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