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Tuesday 27 June 2017

The death of the so-called 'Gay Cure'

Posted in: Comment
By Craig Young - 11th May 2009

Over 100 people protested against an 'exgay' conference in London last month. Photo: Zefrog on Flickr

In London recently, a colourful protest was held outside a so-called 'gay cure' conference held by a fundamentalist church. One hundred protestors showed up. In New Zealand however, the 'ex-gay' lobby has almost completely ceased to exist. Why?

About twenty years ago, there used to be 'ex-gay' groups in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. Then, Rock of Life Ministries (ChCh) closed down after a short time, and Noel Mosen (Lion of Judah Ministries) converted to Catholicism and may have ended up a cook somewhere other than his native Wellington. Even in Palmerston North, an exgay residential course was forced to close down through lack of attendance, which means that Auckland's Exodus houses the only 'exgay' outfit in New Zealand. It has no newsletter, no website, and apparently restricts itself to elderly conservative religious gay men who experience sexual identity crises. Unfortunately, the gay commercial scene is youth-oriented, and we need dedicated older gay men's groups, otherwise those men will stay in such unhealthy environments.

Granted, some exgay individuals keep a low profile here, but pop up at exgay conferences overseas. Briar and Neil Whitehead materialise at sporadic parliamentary submissions but still live in the Hutt, while Sy Rogers and family live on the Kapiti Coast. Rogers is a fundie pop musician, apparently, which occupies more of his time than exxing out, these days.

In effect, the exgay movement has failed largely because the New Zealand Christian Right has remained stubbornly unable or unwilling to develop counselling or psychotherapeutic skills. Most mainstream New Zealanders accept that sexual orientation constitutes a durable source of social identity and cannot easily be changed. These organisations have dwindled in the face of growing lesbian and gay community organisation, assertion and social inclusion, leading to exgay 'enclavism,' largely restricted to individuals who have lived most of their lives in fundamentalist social networks, isolated from mainstream New Zealand society.

In the case of Exodus, the ever-present New Zealand Christian Right curse of mortality is not on its side, either. Eventually, mortality and infirmity will cause the closure of the final New Zealand 'exgay' outpost, probably sooner rather than later.

Craig Young - 11th May 2009

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