Ex-Gay Awareness Dinner Features Music, Speeches and Awards
What is the difference between "pride" and "awareness?" In the case of ex-gay advocacy group Voice of the Voiceless (VoV), that answer would be a little over fifty persons.
After a dismal showing for the First Annual Ex-Gay Pride rally in July that drew fewer than ten participants, ex-gay advocacy group VoV’s latest event, the First Annual Ex-Gay Awareness dinner, appears to have been a comparative success; featuring a key note speaker, award presentation, the debut of the long awaited winning entry from their music video contest and according to The Christian Post, "about 60 Christian leaders and ex-gay individuals."
As The Christian Post (CP) reports, the First Annual Ex-Gay Awareness Dinner and Reception was held as scheduled on Monday evening, Sept. 30 in Washington, D.C. Speakers at the event included anti-gay activist Harry Jackson, who gave the keynote address, and Liberty Counsel’s Mathew Staver, who received the "2013 Ex-Gay Pride Freedom Award." Also honored at the event was self-proclaimed "former Satanic drag queen," Trace McNutt.
"When gays come out of the closet they are celebrated in the movies and on TV, when an ex-gay tells his story, he’s mocked, ridiculed, defamed - and ask Trace McNutt, he gets death threats," Christopher Doyle, VoV Co-Founder and President explained. According to the CP article, Doyle called on the movement to "go on the offensive with the message that people can determine their sexual identity."
Placing an emphasis on youth outreach, Doyle explained "Somewhere along the journey, they listened to the lie that they had to rid themselves of all homosexual feelings in order to be loved by their church, their community, and an opposite sex partner, so they gave up and went into the gay lifestyle."
Ex-gay singer-songwriter and minister, Dennis Jernigan, provided the musical entertainment for the evening with what Doyle proclaimed "the anthem of the Ex-Gay movement," a song called "Rise Up," which was originally penned for the inauguration of Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin. Earlier in September, Governor Fallin ordered the Oklahoma National Guard to stop processing requests for military benefits for same-sex couples, despite a Pentagon directive to do so.
The Christian Post further reported that, many ex-gays shared their testimonies, from former prostitute the, Rev. Douglas McIntyre, founder of Acceptance Fellowship Ministries and co-founder of Homosexuals Anonymous; to former transgender, the Rev. J. Grace Harley, founder and overseer of Jesus is the Answer Ministries.
"To have left homosexuality is a notable miracle," declared Greg Quinlan, an ex-gay and president of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX). "I have seen the change, I have to speak of these things. It is my obligation to do that!" Citing Acts, Quinlan proclaimed his duty to preach the good news, "I will continue to declare that ex-gay is ok, you can change!"
Ironically, the event which aims to promote awareness, was held in an undisclosed location due to undocumented security threats from gay extremists, according to organizers VoV and PFOX. The event was also not open to all media, which further countered the goal of "awareness."
After an attempt to witness the event as a paid attendee, journalist Peter Montgomery of Right Wing Watch had his check returned without explanation. In an article posted on Right Wing Watch, Montgomery said, "When I sent a note asking if my registration had been rejected, I received a one-word reply: Yes."
Upon closer inspection of the event registration form, Montgomery found the following disclaimer:
Code of Conduct -- PFOX requires attendees to sign and adhere to certain standards of conduct, and is not responsible for the individual conduct of attendees. We reserve the right to refuse any person to register or attend for any or no reason at our sole discretion, and disruptive conduct will be grounds for removal without a refund. Attendee agrees to uphold the principals [sic] and beliefs of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays -- that we support the ex-gay community, ex-gay rights, and providing hope to those with unwanted same-sex attractions and gender confusion that change is possible. No cell phones, recording devices or photos may be used or taken during the event. I agree to the above conditions
Secret plans for "Second Annual Ex-Gay Pride and Awareness Months" have yet to be announced.