What the “ex-gay” festival may have looked like in Christopher Doyle’s head. (photo: James Fridland)

Yesterday was a strange day in Washington, DC. The government shutdown meant that restaurants and bars around the city were advertising “all day happy hours,” but no happy hour could override the “sad hour” that Christopher Doyle had planned, the world’s first ever “ex-gay” awareness dinner, which was attended by a whopping sixty people, several of whom were not paid to be there. Because it was closed to the public and conducted in secret, with only friendly reporters invited, “awareness” was in short supply, but the Christian Post has an article and a few pictures that portray the alleged event. Hold on to your hats, y’all, because if these pictures are any indication, a dated Days Inn near the airport was a-rockin’ last night.

First of all, the band. My god, the band:


(Tyler O’Neil / The Christian Post)

I know, you already are smacking yourself, saying “WHY DID I PLAY HOOKEY FROM THIS EVENT?”

That is Dennis Jernigan, who sang “the anthem of the ‘ex-gay’ movement,” so I guess that means he’s like Cher for self-loathing people who are lying to themselves. I like our Cher better.

For comparison’s sake, here is the musical entertainment I enjoyed last evening. You can’t tell because the lighting was weird, but this is Ms. Aimee Mann:

photo (1)

Man, I wish I had gotten to see Dennis sing the “ex-gay anthem” in the lonely secret room with the bigots and closet cases instead. Just kidding, Aimee sang “Save Me” with Ted Leo, and it was one of the great concert experiences of my life.

Let’s hear more about Dennis’s song:

Penned for the inauguration of the first female governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin, the song champions the idea of self-determination and self-sacrifice. “Walk in deep humility, this is your identity, laying down your very life for those you lead,” Jernigan sang. “Rise up! Rise up and be! Rise up, embrace your destiny!”

Wait. He wrote an “ex-gay” anthem for Mary Fallin? That makes absolutely no sense.

Let’s look at another picture from the event:


Portrait of the “ex-gay” Uncle Fester (Tyler O’Neil / Christian Post)


What kind of amazing things was Richard Cohen’s spokes-hack and professional victim Christopher Doyle saying at his event? Was he finally answering the question, “How old were the little girls you tried to have sex with at your mother’s daycare center?”

No, he was not. He does not want to answer that question, because he’s worried that people will “use it against him.” I can’t imagine why. Instead he was saying this:

“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, co-founder and president of ex-gay group Voice of the Voiceless, explained. He called for the movement to go on the offensive with the message that people can determine their sexual identity.

Doyle emphasized youth outreach, especially to Christians who suffer from same-sex attraction (SSA) but want to still maintain their faith. “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,” the VoV president explained.

“This is a battle of love, ladies and gentlemen,” Doyle proclaimed. He called for Christians to welcome young people who struggle with SSA, and to bear with them as would parents of teens and twenty-somethings would bear with the struggles of straight youths. Doyle urged Christians “not to endorse their behavior, but to see their potential and look beyond the behavior to see into their hearts.”

What a message, Doyle. With your help, young Christian kids can learn to hate themselves as much as you do. Thank goodness that the Christians who are not bigots now have a place to proclaim that they’re not all like that.

The overarching message of the “event” seemed to be that you have a choice in life. You can choose to embrace who you are, experiencing beauty, joy and love, but you can also follow the lead of Christopher and Richard Cohen, by removing all integrity from your life and replacing it with vehement self-hatred and CA$H. The first annual “ex-gay freedom” winner (sort of like the grand marshal of the Pride Parade, but without the hordes of people or the happiness), Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel, helped to explain this:

Mathew D. Staver, founder and chief counsel of Liberty Counsel and winner of the Ex-Gay Freedom Award, championed this idea of self-determination, in his legal argument against the recent reparative therapy bans in California and New Jersey. These bans violate justice, he argued, by “eliminating the client’s right to self-determination, by enforcing on the counselor a particular viewpoint that you can talk about sexual orientation, same-sex attractions, but only if you want to affirm, not if you want to change them.”

The client is a minor, Mat. We believe minors should be protected from child abuse. This not a radical concept.

PFOX’s Greg Quinlan, who definitely is not and never was a “limp-wristed, flaming faggot,” was there:

“To have left homosexuality is a notable miracle,” declared Greg Quinlan, an ex-gay and president of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays. “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!”

“I have to speak of these things! In a closed, sad little room with a handful of bigots in a Days Inn near the airport! I just can’t stop proclaiming! Maybe I will proclaim to the ice machine next!”

Finally, Bishop Harry Jackson explained that his experience surviving esophageal cancer should encourage “ex-gays” to keep on denying their truth and missing the only life they’re ever going to have:

In a particularly passionate speech, Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md. and chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, shared his miraculous story of surviving esophageal cancer and rededicating himself to God. “Lord, I stand in weakness, but you stand in power,” Jackson, who is also known for fighting against same-sex marriage bills in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, prayed.

The pastor encouraged the ex-gays to declare passionately, “I’m going to live as a transformed ex-gay and I don’t care who doesn’t like it!”

We’re here, we’re queer…

Wait, wrong slogan.

Well done, Christopher Doyle. We at Truth Wins Out can’t wait to see what the next number in the burlesque ride of shame that is your career looks like. Maybe next year you will qualify for a group discount!