Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hong Kong LGBT Seminar: 8 problems at the core of the 'ex-gay' movement

HONG KONG. Thursday, July 22, 2010, 1:50pm, from the Internet at Pacific Coffee, Nathan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong. By Rev. Steve Parelli. reporter Nigel Collett reports on Steve and Jose's seminar on the fallacies of the evangelical "ex-gay" movement held Saturday, July 17, 2010, at the Blessed Minority Christian Fellowship, Hong Kong

The following is an excerpt from the article Is there such a thing as an ex-gay? by Nigel Collett who is's Hong Kong correspondent. Nigel Collett attended the seminar Rev. Steve Parelli and Jose Ortiz presented here in Hong Kong on the fallecies of the 'ex-gay' movement .  The following is his summary of the material they gave.  The seminar was hosted by the Blessed Minority Christian Fellowship of Hong Kong on Saturday afternoon, July 17, 2010.  You can read Nigel Collett's complete article by clicking here

The full paper Steve and Jose presented can be linked to from their Other Sheep website by going to this webpage.  You can also link to the paper "Is There Such a Thing as 'Ex-gay'" by going to the Blessed Minority Christian Fellowship website.  The paper is in English and Chinese.

8 problems at the core of the 'ex-gay' movement (excerpt from Nigel Collett's article)
They [Rev. Steve Parelli and Jose Ortiz] see eight problems at the core of the ‘ex-gay’ movement. Number one: it is a movement rooted in traditional cultural norms and not in good religious interpretation (biblical exegesis) or modern science. It arose in 1975 as a reaction to the growth of gay and other liberation in the USA in the late sixties and early seventies and has its origins in the evangelical culture of religion, country and flag. The tying of religion – and religion of an evangelical hue – to patriotism makes for a particularly heady brew and accounts for a lot of the vitriol of the opposition to gay liberation. This leads the movement to try to justify its tenets in mis-interpreted religious ‘clobber texts’, which are used out of context to beat the believer. Number two: the movement’s use of psychology is out of date and highly selective. Its science is spurious and discredited in the mainstream, and its practitioners are held in little respect in their profession. Ideas of smothering mothers, distant fathers and childhood abuse litter their literature. Number three: whilst the movement promises ‘change’, it can only deliver behavioural modification, something its leaders admit (though usually only in the small print). It is inevitable that it will disappoint ‘those who want to arrive at a destination but find themselves alone on the train not knowing where they are going’, as Steve puts it.
Number four: the movement attempts to alter behaviour into stereotypical male and female gender roles, ignoring the reality of diversity and the cultural base for these stereotypes. By behaving like a man, by playing ball, by dressing conservatively, by avoiding anything effeminate, it says, you will be ‘healed’; an idea, of course, which would be ludicrous if it were not so sad, but an attractive one to those who have been damaged by the ostracism that their differences have attracted all their lives. Number five: the movement is riven by dishonesty. Personal failings have to be glossed over in order to conform to a God-ordained success, so the inevitable failures are brushed under the carpet. The enthusiasm of new adherents is touted as success while the failure of older members is ignored; the movement’s poster boy or girl is always the new face.
Number six: the claims of success used in the movement’s propaganda are not substantiated. No statistics are kept and wild statements are made. There is never any attempt to follow up on people who exit the movement. Number seven: the movement is tied to certain types of religious experience and sees being ‘ex-gay’ as a walk with a personal Jesus who will be with you in ‘an unending process of overcoming’ in the service of God. Not much help, here, for the skeptic, the Buddhist, the Hindu, the agnostic or atheist or even the middle of the road Anglican. Number eight: the movement views non-sexual close male relationships as essential for ‘healing’, a claim as unsubstantiated and dubiously based as it is positively inimical to resisting temptation (as Steve and Jose so luckily found!).
Why, then, does this movement persist? Steve and José believe that it will not do so in the long term, as it is based upon a negativity which will destroy it, but in the mean time it survives because of the sincere enthusiasm of many of those within it and the never-ending succession of young men and women it attracts as they come to adulthood and who wish to follow the religion in which they have been brought up. Though many of the movement’s leading practitioners seem to be unscrupulous, the mass of its membership consists of deeply troubled men and women who are seeking help or trying to give help to others. Those who undergo the experience of ‘reparative therapy’ therefore often have nothing but affection for those who mislead them through the process. I found this phenomenon amongst the audience at the talk and it is something noted by many researchers (see, for instance, Tanya Erzen’s 2006 account, Straight to Jesus). That is at least one reason why it is so difficult to find people prepared to speak out.
Speak out they must, though, if the continuing psychological damage endured by those seeking to be ‘ex-gay’ is to be stopped. The Hong Kong medical establishment has yet to have the courage to stand up for the truth and to make any statement about ‘reparative therapy’ and its dangers. Eventually, they will have to be pushed into doing so. Steve Parelli and José Ortiz have left Hong Kong now, but they have planted a seed here which the LGBT movement in Hong Kong should tend to full growth.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Over the Hong Kong airwavies, Rev. Steve Parelli spoke live on RTHK radio (Radio-TV Hong Kong) on the fallacies of the evangelical ex-gay movement, Tuesday, July 20

HONG KONG.  Thursday, July 22, 2010, 11:15am, from the Internet at Pacific Coffee, Nathan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong. By Rev. Steve Parelli.

Rev. Steve Parelli, Executive Director of Other Sheep, spoke live on RTHK radio (Radio-TV Hong Kong) on the fallacies of the evangelical ex-gay movement, Tuesday, July 20.

You may hear the interview from the following link. It starts at around 48:40.

Many thanks to Fergus Lo and Nigel Collett of for their networking which brought about this opportunity for Other Sheep to address live over the Hong Kong airwaves the fallacies of the ex-gay movement.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sunil Pant of Blue Diamond Society reports, "Your [Other Sheep] visit [to Nepal] got things going"

The Other Sheep Pastors' Seminar of 2009 in Nepal opens doors of opportunity for Sunil Pant to obtain four speaking opportunities within Christian circles in Nepal over the past 12 months
by Jose Ortiz, writing July 4, 2010, in Acapulco, Mexico, Fiesta Inn

A small window of opportunity to visit with Sunil Pant in New York City
Last week on Gay Pride Sunday, June 27, 2010, I was home and Steve was flying to Mexico to attend the MCC General Conference. I would join him there on Tuesday. It was around 3:30 PM and I was watching the World Cup game of Mexico vs. Argentina. I was rooting for Mexico and, unfortunately, Argentina was ahead by 3 goals. Suddenly, the phone rang and on the other end of the line I heard a familiar voice saying, "Guess who this is?" I immediately recognized the voice of Nraj, a dear gay friend from India who lives in New York City. He was calling to invite Steve and me to grab a bite to eat with him and none other than Sunil Pant, first openly gay member of the parliament of Nepal and founder of Blue Diamond Society (the LGBT activist group in that country).

Sunil Pant and SALGA (the South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association) in the NYC Gay Pride Parade
Sunil had just finished marching with Nraj and other members of SALGA (the South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association) in the New York City gay pride parade. For a second I was torn between rooting for Mexico and meeting with my South Asian friends --- it was just a second's hesitation. Mexico was losing miserably and it was close to the end of the first half of the game.

Remembering our visit to Nepal in the summer of 2009 – and the Pastors' Seminar
When Nraj told me where they were in Manhattan and that Sunil had to leave at 5PM for another engagement, I thought I wouldn't make it from the Bronx in time to have any quality time with Sunil so I sadly declined. I continued to watch the game and could find no peace. My team was losing AND I had lost the opportunity to meet up again with Sunil whom I had last seen in July of last year when Steve and I visited his country, met him for dinner to learn more about his organization and discuss our collaboration. It would have been great to have seen him once again and see how things had progressed in Nepal since that summer where Other Sheep hosted 25 Christian pastors at a seminar we gave on the Bible and homosexuality. Some members of Blue Diamond Society had participated by telling their stories to the pastors of how they experienced being gay and attending some of the churches these pastors represented.

Making a run for it – to visit Sunil Pant in Manhattan
After a few more minutes of watching my team flounder, I said to myself, "Well, better a few minutes with Sunil than to watch my team get thrashed. So, I called Nraj back telling him to stay put at the restaurant and that I would reach them by a quarter to 5PM. I took off like a rocket to my local subway station.

Learning that the Other Sheep Pastors' Seminar had opened doors of opportunity for Sunil Pant to subsequently speak in four churches in Nepal
I am so glad I decided to take the few minutes with Sunil because, during our visit, Sunil discovered that the engagement he was heading to next was an hour later than they had thought. We were able to visit for over an hour. In our conversation I was to discover that Other Sheep's visit to Nepal had aroused a real interest on the part of many pastors and Sunil and his society had been invited to give seminars on topics relating to homosexuality. Sunil reported that he had four speaking opportunities within Christian circles in Nepal thanks to Other Sheep's visit to his country last year.

What a great Gay Pride Sunday for Other Sheep, Blue Diamond Society and Nepal
So the day was not a complete loss. Although "my team" Mexico had lost, the team that I play for every day had scored a decisive goal. The presence of those pastors last year at the Other Sheep seminar in Nepal and subsequent seminars they asked for are an indication that there are possibilities for some churches to not only open their doors of welcome to gays but also the doors of full and active membership to our Nepali sisters and brothers. All the more reason for us to translate the book "The Children are Free" into Nepali.