Anything but Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies behind the Ex-Gay Myth / Edition 1

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More About This Textbook


The real story behind “ex-gay” ministries and reparative therapy!

Nationally known activist Wayne Besen spent four years examining the phenomenon of “ex-gay” ministries and reparative therapies—interviewing leaders, attending conferences, and visiting ministries undercover as he accumulated hundreds of hours of research. The result is Anything but Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth, a groundbreaking exposé of the controversial movement that's revered by independent religious groups and reviled by gay and lesbian organizations. The book presents a historical perspective on the dispute, examining “ex-gay” groups such as Love In Action, Exodus International, Homosexuals Anonymous, and profiling a cast of characters that includes Pat Robertson, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, “ex-gay” poster boy John Paulk, National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality activist Richard Cohen, and psychiatrist Dr. Robert Spitzer.

An in-depth, well-researched, and historically significant account, Anything but Straight is full of startling facts and alarming surprises. The original content and novel material in the book includes:

  • a first-ever comprehensive history of the “ex-gay” ministries and “reparative therapy”
  • the inside story of the night the author photographed “ex-gay” poster boy John Paulk inside a gay bar
  • the author's discovery that Anne Paulk lied about being a lesbian and has admitted to having a strong attraction to men BEFORE she became “ex-gay”
  • previously undisclosed bizarre techniques used by the “ex-gay” ministries and “reparative therapists”
  • the author's exclusive in-depth interviews with leading “ex-gay” leaders—they disclose their deepest secrets, hidden desires, and true motivations
  • an extraordinary new study that shows that most “ex-gay” leaders have suffered from substance abuse or severe emotional problems—while many “ex-gay” leaders claim they were “unhappy being gay,” this report helps prove that their dissatisfactions came not from their homosexuality, but from poor life choices and irresponsible behavior
  • new revelations that one of the nation's leading “reparative therapists” hailed from a secretive cult that was scandalized for practicing nude therapy
From the author: Through my extensive experience, I have learned that the extraordinary claims made by the “ex-gay” groups are without merit and the efficacy of their programs is dubious at best and harmful at worst . . . One frequent question I get is, “Why can't gay activists simply leave 'ex-gay' groups alone and let them go about their business?” This is exactly what happened for nearly three decades while “ex-gay” groups labored in near anonymity. But all this recently changed when the “ex-gay” groups intricately aligned themselves with the anti-gay political agenda of the Religious Right. With “ex-gays” added to their arsenal, the Right could disingenuously claim to love gay people and offer them “hope for change,” while simultaneously fighting for punitive legislation. Their insidious message: Since gays and lesbians can change, there is no need for laws that protect them against arbitrary prejudice.

Anything but Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth is an essential read for activists on both sides of the “ex-gay” fence, family members of gays and lesbians, Gay, Bisexual, Lesbian, and Transgender church members, psychiatric and social science professionals, and anyone who has dealt with “coming out” issues. An appendix of resources and a helpful bibliography make it easy to find additional information on this fascinating topic.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560234463
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 8/15/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Act I: The Ex-Gay Ministries
  • Candi’s Bathroom Break
  • Undercover
  • A Trilogy of Tragedy
  • Founding Follies
  • The Propagandists
  • Act II: Reparative Therapy
  • Historic Injustice
  • Nicolosi’s Nonsense
  • Radical Richard
  • Act III: The Politics of Conversion
  • The Puppeteers
  • Political Science
  • Act IV: The Encore
  • Future Follies and Failures
  • Appendix: Resources
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2004

    An invaluable resource for the GLBT movement

    Since 2000 author Wayne Besen's life has been consumed with researching, writing and publicizing his explosive ¿ and eminently readable ¿ exposé 'Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.' Besen left his post as Associate Communications Director for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest GLBT rights organization, to work on the book because he felt uniquely qualified to challenge the ex-gay movement. During his five-year stint with HRC he repeatedly squared off against the nation's most prominent ex-gay leaders on such programs as 'NBC Nightly News,' 'CNN's Talk Back Live,' 'The Roseanne Show' and 'The O'Reilly Factor.' As part of his exhaustive research for 'Anything But Straight' Besen made numerous undercover visits to ex-gay meetings, attended ex-gay and right-wing conferences and interviewed many of the movement's most powerful proponents. In the book he reveals many of the ex-gay movement's dubious conversion methods ¿ which include having gay men pepper their speech with 'heterosexual' words like 'dude' and teaching lesbians to apply make-up. It all seems laughable until the author reminds us just how much clout these ministries have to influence government and society ¿ particularly now with the debate over same-sex marriage raging. Bottom line: 'Anything But Straight' is an invaluable resource for debunking the specious claims of the ex-gay movement.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2004

    Content: What the author left out of his book

    Besides being an independent review of ¿Anything But Straight¿¿, this review was written to express what hasn¿t yet been addressed in other reviews. When I first purchased a copy of Wayne Besen's book, 'Anything But Straight....' I was hopeful that finally somebody would provide a thorough, accurate picture of what has gone on and continues to go on within the Christian ex-gay and ex-ex-gay movement. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. When I finished the book I was left with the knowledge and feeling that half the story was still missing. If you really want to get a sense of what I'm talking about I encourage you to read and review all of the Christian women's books that have come out on the subject of becoming ex-gay for the last twenty years. Mr. Besen covers authors Elizabeth Moberly and to a certain extent Leanne Payne. But, this is a book written by a man primarily about the male experience concerning ex-gay ministries. The women¿s experience is at best underrepresented. But that's not all the story that¿s missing! From chapter one until the end of it, the book is littered with commentary, deductions, conclusions, and predictions about Christianity and ex-gays that seem more like opinion or even 'flights of fantasy.' For example, in Chapter 1 the author exposes a man as a phony and mocks him, and goes on to conclude that 'I hope to sit down one day...and laugh about the incident, with him thanking me for helping him come to grips with reality.' Now maybe it's just me. But ask yourself this question. If somebody were to show you ¿with your pants down¿ so to speak with mass media attention how likely would you be to sit down, say thank you and laugh about it? Grandiose moments like this in the book draw more attention to the author than the subject. Another significant part of the story of the ex-gay and ex-ex-gay movement that is left out in 'Anything But Straight' comes from the author pigeon holing ex-gays into ¿four types.¿ No explanation is given as to how these ¿four types¿ are arrived at. So, apparently, they stem from the author¿s own biases be they spiritual or otherwise. Ironically, categorizing according to personal bias, is the same thing ex-gay author, Jeanette Howard did in her book, ¿Out of Egypt¿Leaving Lesbianism Behind.¿ The result of this in ¿Anything But Straight¿¿ is a failure to recognize and explain how understanding faith based choices, & conservative Christian subculture 'work' and are pivotal in understanding the ex-gay phenomenon. For that ¿type¿ is easily, repeatedly identified. To confirm what I¿m saying collect your own random stack of ex-gay testimonials from ex-gay ministries around the globe. Overall, while most of us LGBT's are relieved that finally somebody has had the courage to report on the ex-gay group, while ¿Anything But Straight¿¿ provides a history of the ex-gay movement, especially, ¿reparative therapy¿, it does so with a great deal of sarcasm. Mr. Besen makes fun of Christianity from the Holy Spirit to miracles to prayer while he makes fun of ex-gay Christians to the point where you may begin to wonder as I did, if he is capable of separating the two topics from each other. If you¿re into ex-gay bashing or Christian bashing this may be the book for you! If you¿re not, you may want to consider other reading choices. As an ex-ex-gay, LGBT Christian I could have down without it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2003

    intoxicating ,finally a book that tells it like it is!!!!!!!

    This is a well wriiten,well researched book on the religious right and how they try to demonize the gay community by saying gays and lesbians can change their sexual orientation only through prayer and a belief in Jesus ChristThis book will help thousands of gays and lesbians to realize they are also part of Gods plan.This book is a must read for all Gays and Lesbians who have gone through the insiduous conversion therapy or who are thinking about doing so!!!I could not put the book down!!!!

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