I’ve noticed lately that the “ex-gay” movement has started adopting the language of civil rights advocates, claiming to be a minority grout that is persecuted and discriminated against. Most of the major anti-gay organizations and the right wing media have gladly adopted this dishonest bit of framing, as the Worldnutdaily does in this article complaining about the fact that the CDC does not recommend their nonsense:
A team of legal experts at the United States Justice Foundation is calling on the U.S. government to quit discriminating based on sexual orientation.
They have sent a letter to Kevin Fenton of the National Center for HIV/AIDS in the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was written on behalf of PFOX, Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays, which pointedly noted that the groups and resources cited by the federal government fall short of a scientific standard.
The letter explains that the CDC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health Youth Sources website links to homosexual activist organizations and homosexual resources. It also includes links to sites that “warn others against the use of therapy for diminishing unwanted same-sex attractions.”
For example, it links to the GSANetwork, which is described as “empowering youth activists to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools” as well as “campaigns to …. empower youth activists to create changes that will transform schools.”…
“The website also contains links to anti-heterosexual publications and organizations, such as PFLAG, which openly denigrates former homosexuals, and the infamous anti-ex-gay publication ‘Just the Facts,’ which advocates against Christian ex-gay ministries and lists only those religious organizations that affirm homosexual behavior,” the letter says.
“Why is the federal government spreading intolerance against the ex-gay community and Christians who support the religious testimony of former homosexuals?” the letter asks. “The promotion of these negative anti-heterosexual comments spreads hate towards the ex-gay community. Is the federal government singling out a certain class of people to denigrate?”
A very clever bit of framing, but completely dishonest. First of all, let us be blunt: there is no such thing as someone who is “ex-gay.” Even Alan Chambers of Exodus International, the largest and most influential “ex-gay” group in the world, has said as much (and got hammered for it by his fundie allies). Though he now considers himself to no longer be gay, he openly acknowledges that he continues to be sexually attracted to men but he chooses not to act on it. But homosexuality is an orientation, not an act; one can be gay and have straight sex (lots of gay people have done so, often to hide their orientation) and one can be straight and have gay sex (as many porn stars, male and female, do).
Secondly, this claim that because the CDC doesn’t list ex-gay ministries as resources on their website is not some insidious form of discrimination, it is a perfectly reasonable decision. There simply is no evidence that anyone can change their sexual orientation and much evidence that trying to do so can be psychologically devastating. It would be incredibly irresponsible for the government to promote such quackery.
This is just a little subset of the much larger attempt by the Christian right in America to misuse the language of civil rights and to claim persecution where none exists.