(Photo: Screengrab/Voice of the Voiceless)
Members of the ex-gay community are celebrating the first-ever "Ex-Gay Pride Month" and have asked President Obama to issue a proclamation to recognize the rights of the ex-gay community and to commemorate their month, just as he's done for the LGBT community with "Gay Pride Month" in June.
In a letter sent to Obama on June 18 to request his action and acknowledgement of the tens of thousands of Americans who are seeking equality, Christopher Doyle, the co-founder of Voice of the Voiceless (VoV), requested a meeting with the president or a senior member of his civil rights staff to "discuss tolerance for the ex-gay community and how the White House can ensure equal access for ex-gays in the nation's capital, which is the only jurisdiction that recognizes ex-gays as a legally protected class."
Doyle told The Christian Post that the VoV has contacted the White House Office of Public Engagement several times to request a meeting, but said they've been "given the run-around."
"They're very interested in protecting the LGBT rights organizations and the LGBT community because they're getting a lot of money from them," he said. "We're not going to wait for any president or any Congress to give us our rights. We're declaring July as the first Ex-Gay Pride month. If they want to support us, and get in this century and understand that people leave homosexuality and change every day, then they can do that. If they want to continue to live in the Stone Age and claim that people were born gay and they can't change, well, that's their choice, too, we're not going to wait for them."
Ex-gay Americans are going to be on Capitol Hill on July 31 in celebration of Ex-Gay Pride month, and will be meeting with their representatives in Congress to bring awareness to this segment of the population that Doyle believes are mischaracterized by the media and pro-gay activists. "Former homosexuals and ex-gays and persons with unwanted same-sex attraction that don't identify as lesbian and gay and are seeking a different path are going to come together and let our voices be heard."
The two issues that Doyle said VoV and Equality and Justice for All.org are hoping to bring awareness to are tolerance for members of the ex-gay community, and to ensure that Americans who are struggling with same-sex attraction have the right to seek therapy in their state.
"If you're not aware, the media and gay activists are extremely intolerant of our views," Doyle said, "they just label us as homophobic bigots, or we're just people who are denying their true sexual orientation, which is not true at all. Thousands of us have experienced change, and we're living happy, married heterosexual lives. The other thing is that we're trying to lobby for people with unwanted same-sex attractions to pursue therapy. And we're supporting their right to self-determination. There's an active anti-ex-gay lobby among some of the gay rights organizations and gay activist community to try to take the rights away from ex-gays."
Doyle told CP that Washington, D.C. is the only jurisdiction in the United States that recognizes former homosexuals as a legally protected class, and said that he's testified in New Jersey and has been part of the efforts to fight legislation in California that takes away the rights of those who want to pursue therapy.
"There are six states that have introduced legislation to try to take away the rights of people to pursue therapy, and we're actively fighting against that. We're tired of being on the defense, and so we're going on the offense and we're claiming our rights. We're going to get our voices heard without anti-ex-gay activists coming around with bullhorns and screaming obscenities at us, and telling us that we're liars and fakes."
According to Doyle, it's of vital importance that pastors and their congregations support organizations like VoV that help men and women who are struggling to combat same-sex attraction.
"The reason why they need to rally around groups like us is because we're providing real solutions to people who are in the church that are struggling with this issue," he said. "They're being told on multiple fronts that they're born gay and they can't change, and that's simply scientifically incorrect.
He continued, "the church has, unfortunately, not been a very good ally in the past to anyone struggling with this issue and trying to find solutions. They used simplistic notions of sin paradigm and deliverance paradigm, which really don't work. It's not that God can't do anything, but God uses great psychology, therapy and counselors to help people understand the root causes of their same-sex attraction, and to put them in places where they can resolve these issues and experience healing. So the church really needs to rally around people with solutions to this issue, and not just say, 'well, you were born this way, and let's just love and accept you the way that you are.' Of course we love and accept everyone regardless of whether or not they want to pursue change or holiness or whatever you want to call it."
Doyle told CP that conservative family groups and politicians have been invited to attend the VoV's July 31 reception that will be held in Washington, D.C. to recognize the struggles and achievements of leaders in the ex-gay community, and tickets and tables are still available for those who want to attend.
"We've invited Reps. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), former Sen. Jim DeMint, who's now the president of Heritage Foundation, and Matthew Staver of Liberty Counsel. And we're going to be hearing from a number of individuals, including myself, who are prominent former homosexuals and leaders in the ex-gay community. We're going to tell our stories, and talk about the work that we do and what we're doing to fight for the rights of ex-gays," Doyle said.
To increase awareness and interest in the July 31 event the VoV will be announcing this week a contest where people can create and submit a music video that represents the struggles and achievements of ex-gays.