Monday, June 30, 2008

Anyone who thinks that love needs to be cured...

Today I had plans to have lunch with a close friend, a straight ally who was the first female I uttered the words “bisexual” and “I” together with a copulative verb (and an indefinite article, to be grammatically correct) linking the two.

Upon greeting each other at the metro station she excitedly told me that she bought me a present, and questioned whether I wanted it that instant or at lunch. Despite my overwhelming curiosity over an unexpected gift and the desire to acquire said object, I said we ought to wait until we sat down over food.

Having arrived at the restaurant, and settling into our seats I couldn’t handle the suspense any longer, I told her I was ready for my present.

Over the table she handed me “Queer Quotes: On Coming Out and Culture, Love and Lust, Politics and Pride, and Much More." I was especially thankful, for both the thought of getting me a gift "just because" as well as the fantastically chosen gift.

Not having any time to read through the book between bites of food and chatting about our plans for the rest of the week, I put it away to be read later. Upon arriving back at PFLAG National, I took it out, flipped it open, and began looking through the pages.

hile it was the third quote listed, it was the first that struck my eye: “Anyone who thinks that love needs to be cured has not experienced enough of it in their own lives,” –Joan Garry, the Executive Director of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

This quote especially stood out to me because of Exodus International's plan to have their “International Freedom Conference” (their title for a large “ex-gay” ministry conference promoting so-called “reparative therapy”) in Asheville, NC this July.

Fortunately, there have already been some events scheduled to counter the false and harmful messages of "ex-gay" ministries (in 1998, the American Pyschiatric Association stated it was opposed to reparative therapy, stating "psychiatric literature strongly demonstrates that treatment attempts to change sexual orientation are ineffective. However, the potential risks are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive [suicidal] behavior..."). The schedule of events for July 15-20 are as follows :
  • Tuesday, July 15, 7:00-8:30 PM, Kick off Event
    "Can You Pray Away the Gay?"
    Firestorm Café & Books (48 Commerce St., Asheville)

    Speakers: Wayne Besen, Director, and author of "Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-gay Myth," and Ian Palmquist, Executive Director, Equality NC
  • Wednesday, July 16, 7:00 PM
    Film: "For the Bible Tells Me So"
    Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Swannanoa Valley (500 Montreat Rd. Black Mountain , NC 28711)

    Co-hosted by Common Light Meeting Place, Discussion follows, led by Laine Calloway,Gay & Lesbian Ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of WNC
  • Thursday, July 17, 6:45 PM
    Film: "For the Bible Tells Me So"
    Henderson County Library (301 Washington St., Hendersonville, NC 28739)
    Hosted by
    PFLAG Flat Rock/Hendersonville & Love Welcomes All Committee
    Discussion afterward led by Rev. Jerry Miller (a PFLAG regional director)
  • Friday, July 18, 7:00 PM
    Film: "Fish Can't Fly"
    Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville
    Charlotte St. at Edwin Place, Asheville, NC 28801

    Discussion follows. Wayne Besen will discuss appearing in the film
  • Saturday, July 19, 11 AM - 2 PM Real-Families Picnic!!
    Recreation Park - 69 Gashes Creek Rd. Asheville, NC 28805
    (off Swannanoa River Rd. next to WNC Nature Center)