The Answer Guy Online

Providing information to unwitting victims on a "don't-need-to-know" basis since 1974.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Love In Action?

I'm a little late to the party on this story, in which a Tennessee camp facility designed to "convert" gays away from homosexuality using what it refers to as "reparative therapy." The State of Tennessee investigated the facility for alleged abuse, but concluded it found "no evidence" to support those allegations. Given what I've read, I remain suspicious.

One teenager, known only as "Zach," who, thanks in large part to the blog phenomenon, Zach can speak for himself, published the list of "rules" enforced by the facility, which goes by the name of "Love In Action." (And I think to myself "Great; now a perfectly good Todd Rundgren song has been ruined.")

Though I grew up as a straight guy, I consider myself lucky that I had parents who would never have dreamed of putting me somewhere like this place even if I didn't.

Published descriptions of what happens at this camp would be hilarious if they were hypothetical, which they apparently are not:

No hugging or physical touch between clients. Brief handshakes or a brief affirmative hand on a shoulder is allowed...

The clients may not wear Abercrombie and Fitch or Calvin Klein brand clothing, undergarments, or accessories.

LIA wants to encourage each client, male and female, by affirming his/her gender identity. LIA also wants each client to pursue integrity in all of his/her actions and appearances. Therefore, any belongings, appearances, clothing, actions, or humor that might connect a client to an inappropriate past are excluded from the program. These hindrances are called False Images (FI¹s). FI behavior may include hyper-masculinity, seductive clothing, mannish/boyish attire (on women), excessive jewelry (on men), mascoting, and "campy" or gay/lesbian behavior and talk...

Refuge clients will arrive daily at the Love in Action campus no later than 8:50 a.m., waiting in a designated area until a staff member meets them to perform the F.I. search and check them in. Refuge clients may not enter any of the client spaces on campus before submitting to an F.I. search. All belongings brought to campus will be searched, including book bags, notebooks, wallets, handbags, purses, etc.


All new Refuge clients will be placed into Safekeeping for the initial two to three days of their program. A client on safekeeping may not communicate verbally, or by using hand gestures or eye contact, with any other clients, staff members, or his/her parents or guardians...Any client may be placed into Safekeeping at any time, at a staffworker¹s discretion

Refuge clients must be accompanied by a parent during any trip to a public restroom.

Sounds like a mix of prison and boot camp. Plus I didn't find anything in here that seemed like it'd be a remotely plausible way to convert someone to heterosexuality.

The difference between now and then is that now it's harder to keep secrets like this from the general public, as well as the fundamental circularity of arguments made by religious conservatives about how miserable the lives of gays and lesbians are. A big part of why they're miserable is the people making those kinds of arguments doing their best to make it as miserable as possible, in part by websites full of bogus crap, including the following:


78% of homosexuals are affected by STD's, mainly AIDS, Gonorrhea, Herpes Simples Virus, and Chlamydia.
Of homosexuals questioned in one study reports that 43% admit to 500 or more partners in a lifetime, 28% admit to 1000 or more in a lifetime.


If I didn't know better, I'd think that the International Organization of Heterosexual Rights webpage was a parody, complete with HTML ripped off from 1997.

By now Zach must know that he is by no means alone out there. There are a lot of us out there watching.

Read more about Love In Action and other outfits practicing similar quackery here.


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Doesn't it tick you off that these people get the same vote as you do?

Yes and no.

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