Shame and Fear is not the Only Choice

I found this video last night from the Canadian CBC show The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulis. The interview itself is two years old, but it’s still unfortunately relevant.

I don’t usually talk about the ex-gay industry, mostly because I don’t feel qualified. Like anyone in the closet, I spent years trying to de-gay myself, but I never took the step of going into one of the ‘ex-gay’ programs. For a look at these controversial and damaging/should-be-illegal programs (don’t call it a ministry) here’s a preview for the documentary This Is What Love In Action Looks Like, recently out on DVD. (By the way, the statistics Mr. Stark cites are false.)

While the most horrific youth programs seem to have been discontinued, the ‘ex-gay’ industry continues to wreak havoc with people’s lives. Last month, college student Bryce Faulkner went missing after his parents convinced him to enter a 14-week program to learn to hate himself.

Bryce Faulkner is a bright young pre-med student who, like many in college, was totally dependent upon his parents for survival. His car, his cell phone, his education, even his job was all connected to his parents purse strings. Bryce was making plans to come out to his parents, but before he had the opportunity to carry out these plans, his mother found his email password and discovered communications between he and his lover Travis Of Green Bay, Wisconsin. As any person from the south, especially those whom have a conservative fundamentalist family and has come out of the closet knows, the family can become quite volatile in their reaction to the news. Bryce is no exception to this.

In order to manipulate Bryce into accepting “treatment” for his homosexuality, they took away everything and left him the choice of becoming homeless and destitute or going into therapy. As anyone can imagine, this wasn’t much of a choice. Being in the closet in a small town left him no one to speak to or to seek help to get him through the transition from the closet and into the light of day. His family took away every resource he had and left him with no phone to call for help, a car to drive to any help that might be out there and no money to even take a bus to Wisconsin to be with his lover. The program he is going into is a 14 month week program, one of the most severe and intense of these kinds of programs.

Bryce is in that transitional period when he depends on his parents for survival, even though he’s technically an adult. There are thousands of young women and men in this type of situation, where their parents still have a great deal of psychological and financial control. Trust me, I waited until my mid-thirties and it was still difficult to take that risk.

We don’t know exactly where Bryce is. Chances are that he’s in a “Love In Action” program, but his parents aren’t talking to anyone. He’s had no contact with his boyfriend since mid-June.

Please pray for Bryce, and all the others who are victimized by these groups.

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2 thoughts on “Shame and Fear is not the Only Choice

  1. Facebook banned two support groups named after Bryce under the claim they violated their TOS.But, it seems they're allowing Exodus to create a prayer group for Bryce Faulkner.

  2. Facebook banned two support groups named after Bryce under the claim they violated their TOS.But, it seems they're allowing Exodus to create a prayer group for Bryce Faulkner.

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