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In an off-the-wall presentation at Peter LaBarbera’s (aka Porno Pete) “Truth Academy” in suburban Illinois on Thursday, so-called former homosexual Greg Quinlan discussed how he allegedly left homosexuality. Quinlan is the current President of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) and the founder of the Pro-Family Network.

The presentation was packed with misinformation, crude stereotypes and a healthy dose of gay bashing. Quinlan punctuated his sermon by claiming he wasn’t a limp wristed, flaming faggot, even while shining oh-so brightly onstage.

“I wasn’t your flaming faggot, you know. I can say that because I’ve been there and done that. You know, the one’s whose wrists are so limp that when the wind blows they slap themselves in the face. I wasn’t one of them,” Quinlan said, as the small audience chuckled. (8:00—8:13)

This was an interesting observation by Quinlan, given that he describes during his talk how he walked into an Assemblies of God church with bleach blond hair and a mullet. Yes, he sounds like a paragon of masculinity.

I’m not sure whether to be offended by his comments or feel sorry for a man who is clearly in denial and deeply ashamed about his gender expression. It is sad that Quinlan can’t accept himself and instead has to resort to bashing people who look and sound exactly like he does.

Quinlan’s tale of transformation begins at age 9 when he “received Jesus Christ”. When he was ten years old, a thirteen-year old friend who lived across the street showed him a Playboy and “introduced” him to homosexuality. I can only imagine how this scene played out:

“Homosexuality, meet Greg.”

“Greg, meet homosexuality.”

“Um, Greg, you can stop shaking his hand now.”

As a young man who had just become a nurse, Quinlan claims he was on the verge of suicide, so he decided to “come out.” He dove into the so-called “lifestyle” with gusto and claims to have become an Ohio lobbyist for the Human Rights Campaign Fund (now the Human Rights Campaign).

“They taught me how to do grassroots activism, how to read legislation, how to lobby my elected official…so that’s how I lobbied.”

The only problem with this fantastical story is that no one working for HRC or affiliated with this organization remembers Quinlan’s contributions. When I worked at this organization I checked with our members in Ohio to see if they had lobbied with Quinlan.

Not a single person had any recollection of working with him. So, while it is possible he licked stamps on volunteer night or attended an HRC dinner, he certainly played no major or memorable role in this organization. In effect, Quinlan is pathetically padding his resume to make his tale more attractive to fundamentalist audiences.

Moving along, after allegedly watching more that 100 friends die of AIDS, Quinlan begins to question the “homosexual lifestyle.”

“I was questioning the homosexual lifestyle. It looked like a dead end to me. It looked like something that was so ugly. Here we are, you go to the bar, you hook up, this back and forth stuff, it just seems so shallow. So lust filled, so immature. But I was there and too prideful to do anything about it. So I stayed there for a little while.”

This catapults him on a journey to rediscover his religious roots. Quinlan starts watching Pat Robertson’s 700 Club and The Praise the Lord Network (PTL). One winter evening, a desperate Quinlan calls into one of the televangelist’s shows and becomes closer to God. Soon, he finds an Assemblies of God with a lovely pastor who loudly condemns the “sodomites.”

We will post more on Quinlan’s bizarre speech, but his trite story is Exhibit A of the self-loathing and shame that happens to young gay people when they are “introduced” to harmful religious indoctrination. If Quinlan had not been subjected to such biblical brow beating in his youth, he might have been an entirely different person. Indeed, he might have had dignity and self-respect, while actually being a real lobbyist for the Human Rights Campaign, rather than an imaginary one.