Truth* Academy Instructor Series: Greg Quinlan

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On April 1-2, 2011, Mission America and Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) will be cosponsoring the second Truth* Academy in Columbus, Ohio. I thought it might be helpful to see what tone and substance attendees can expect from each of the instructors before the conference begins. You can find all of my Truth* Academy posts at this link.

Greg Quinlan of PFOX
Greg Quinlan of PFOX
Greg Quinlan’s presentation at Truth* Academy is called “Leaving homosexuality behind, and the LGBT strategy to undermine the ex-homosexual message.” It seems that he’s their “ex-gay” guru this year, as he was in 2010.

Since his role as president of PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays) lends a certain weight to his words, it’s important to know what he says in that capacity. His appearance at the first Truth* Academy seven months ago is partially captured online thanks to Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out.

Here’s what Besen had to say about his it Quinlan year: “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 ones whose wrists are so limp that when the wind blows they slap themselves in the face. I wasn’t one of them.” (8:00—8:13)

Dealing with “ex-gay” folks can be frustrating. Even the term suggests that you can choose the gender of the people you’re attracted to, but of course that’s a lie. When you talk to them, most ex-gay industry leaders eventually concede that you can only decide not to have sex or whatever else they define as “The Homosexual Lifestyle.”

Of course, that makes you a celibate person, not a not-gay person.

And I’m okay with that. It’s totally within a person’s rights to be celibate. I’m even okay with Greg telling people that they should be celibate for whatever reason, as long as he’s honest.

The problem is that Greg doesn’t stop there, and he isn’t honest. Just last Friday he took to the Maryland House of Delegates to testify against the marriage law that has already passed in the Senate, even though PFOX’s website clearly states in unambiguous language that “PFOX is not an anti-gay organization.”

Greg goes on about self-determination and how you can become not-gay if you just try hard enough, but I just don’t understand what in the world that has to do with the law. The law before the Maryland House of Delegates doesn’t say that everybody has to get gay-married or that nobody is allowed to be celibate. It just says that lesbian and gay people can get married if they want and receive the benefits and responsibilities afforded to straight married couples.

Besides which, what of the self-determination of people who don’t want to be ex-gay? Are our rights forfeit because he disagrees with our decision?

Maybe he’s afraid that people won’t want to join his group if the stigma starts to dissipate. That’s money right out of his pocket, after all.

More than anything, Greg strikes me as a loose cannon. He hasn’t learned the simple strategy of “say what you mean to say and STOP.” In the Maryland video, he finishes by insulting the delegates that he just got done trying to convince, and throughout the video you can see that whenever he looks away from his script his words get sharper, less “kinder, gentler,” and more offensive.

Certainly his “I wasn’t your flaming faggot” at last year’s Truth* Academy wasn’t written down on a piece of paper.

To be honest, I almost can’t wait to see what he comes up with this year.

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