– Focus on the Family’s Ex-Gay Leader Melissa Fryrear, Left –

Focus Reports On Attendance Figures A Day Before Conference Begins, Says TWO

MIAMI BEACH — In an example of yellow journalism that sets a new low for Focus on the Family, the organization “reported” on attendance figures for an ex-gay survivors conference more than 24 hours before the event actually occurred. An entire day before attendees boarded planes for the Irvine symposium, sponsored by SoulForce and Beyond Ex-Gay, Focus editor Jennifer Mesko wrote that “across town [from the Exodus “ex-gay’ conference] a counter-conference drew about 100 people.”

Jim Burroway and Ex-Gay Watch reported on the deliberate effort by Focus to lowball the attendance figures by inventing the numbers out of thin air. In response, Focus on the Family disingenuously pointed to a picture of conferees to show that less than 100 people were in attendance. However, they failed to point out that many people chose not to be photographed and others had already left the premises. For example, Truth Wins Out’ Executive Director Wayne Besen elected not to appear in the photo, but watched the photographer snap the picture.

“The fact that I was not in the photo does not mean I was not there,” said TWO’ Besen.

In any case, it still does not explain why Focus on the Family filed its report a day before the event began. This shows, yet again, that Focus on the Family lacks integrity and is unscrupulous in its efforts to distort gay life, says Truth Wins Out.

“We are used to Focus on the Family fudging the facts, but to report concrete attendance figures on a conference that had yet to take place is a new low,” said Truth Wins Out’ Executive Director Wayne Besen. “This was an outright lie made worse when you consider Focus on the Family was mocking the pain and suffering of the survivors attending this conference.”

The actual attendance was between 150-250 people, depending on the time of day and programming. For example, at a Saturday evening concert and movie screening, there appeared to be well over 200 people seated in a theatre.

“Focus on the Family might consider hiring real reporters instead of relying on clairvoyants to inaccurately report on the future,” said Besen. “I understand, on some level, it must be difficult for Focus on the Family to face their victims. But bearing false witness will not make the witnesses to the manifold abuses of ex-gay ministries disappear. They are beginning to speak out and they are here to stay.”

Truth Wins OUT is a non-profit organization that counters right wing propaganda, exposes the “ex-gay” myth and educates America about gay life. For more information, visit