Wired Strategies 'Ex-Gays' in Trouble

new2.gif (147 bytes)Click here to read the Ex-Gay letter
criticizing their own leader, Anthony Falzarano

THE LIST
Wired Strategies
"Gay Politics: Online & With an Edge"
August 17, 1999

EXTRA!!! 'EX-GAY' CAT FIGHT EXPLODES
Most famous ex-gay reportedly booted from ex-gay conference

Anthony Falzarano, the nation's best-known ex-gay, was "barred" from the recent Exodus International ex-gay conference held in Wheaton, Illinois, a Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (P-FOX) representative told Wired Strategies today.

Falzarano, founder of Transformation Ex-gay Ministries and national director of P-FOX, went to the July 26-31 Exodus conference in the Chicago suburbs but "wasn't allowed to go in," according to a P-FOX employee at the organization's Washington, DC headquarters. PFOX refused to discuss why Falzarano was "barred," but simply said that there have been some "changes that have happened in Exodus."

Transformation was founded ten years ago and is a branch of Exodus International, the largest "ex-gay" group. Falzarano left Transformation in 1996 to start P-FOX, in an attempt to counter the growing respect and influence of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).

Falzarano's apparent falling out with the lead "ex-gay" group is significant for numerous reasons.

First, Falzarano has had a longstanding high-profile in the "ex-gay" movement, having appeared as a frequent "ex-gay" commentator on television and in the print media for years.

Second, Transformation and Falzarano are closely linked to, and funded by, the religious right political lobbying group the Family Research Council (FRC).

Falzarano's work has been "praised" by the Family Research Council (FRC) in a press release on February 10, 1998. FRC's president (now on leave to pursue his presidential ambitions) Gary Bauer also spoke at last year's P-FOX conference, where he received a special award. In addition, People for the American Way reports that at the most recent P-FOX conference, "The P-FOX newsletter enclosed in the conference packets stated that the conference was being underwritten by the Family Research Council (FRC), and that the FRC had also set up a matching fund for donations from $100-$75,000. Also, FRC's Director of Development Programs sits on the board of P-FOX, which may have been one of the reasons Falzarano made many glowing references to Gary Bauer, who recently left the FRC to pursue his presidential ambitions."

Could this schism between Falzarano and Exodus indicate a larger battle between the "ex-gays" and their allies in anti-gay political circles?

Ironically, a biography of persona-non-grata Falzarano on the P-FOX Web site (http://www.pfox.org) concludes with a rather prescient quote: "I know what it's like to be rejected by the men I should have been able to trust the most."

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THE LIST
Wired Strategies
"Gay Politics: Online & With an Edge"
August 18, 1999

EX-GAYS CRITICIZE FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL
Ex-gay leader 'infuriates' religious right benefactor, announces new billboard campaign

The Family Research Council (FRC) was "infuriated" recently when an ex-gay leader questioned the right-wing group's commitment to the ex-gay movement, according to Wayne Besen, associate director of communications at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

In a half-hour phone call yesterday between Besen and Anthony Falzarano, national director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (P-FOX), Falzarano reportedly said that he had angered FRC's Robert Knight by suggesting the ex-gay benefactor wasn't doing nearly enough financially for P-FOX. In the past, FRC has helped the ex-gays by backing ad campaigns, among other projects.

Falzarano also reportedly told Besen that the ex-gays are planning a new "billboard campaign" to promote their cause.

Last summer, militant fundamentalists financed a $500,000 ex-gay newspaper ad campaign that included former football star Reggie White. The religious right embraced White as a spokesman after he sparked a nationwide protest for making insensitive characterizations about blacks, Asians and whites. And this spring, right-wing fundamentalistse attempted to broadcast a series of ex-gay TV ads to influence policymakers, though many local stations refused to air them.

Confirming a story reported here yesterday, Besen says Falzarano admitted he was in fact "barred" from the recent Exodus International conference in Wheaton, Illinois. Exodus is the nation's largest ex-gay umbrella organization, somewhat notorious for two of its male founders subsequently falling in love and marrying each other. And Falzarano is perhaps the best-known ex-gay leader in terms of media coverage and seniority - having founded Transformation Ex-Gay Ministries ten years ago, and now at the helm of P-FOX.

Falzarano reportedly attempted to downplay the Exodus incident to HRC, calling it a simple disagreement over "scheduling," and saying that the rift had now been patched.

When contacted by Wired Strategies today, Falzarano would not discuss the reported fissure with FRC. He did confirm that he "had a disagreement" with Exodus at their recent conference and that "they tried to" turn him away.

Yet Falzarano's staff told Wired Strategies yesterday that the Exodus incident was far more serious, and that the P-FOX head was in fact "barred" from the conference and that he "wasn't allowed to go in." Falzarano nonethless tried to minimize the apparent discord during today's phone call, attributing it to "growing pains" between the two ex-gay organizations.

But HRC's Besen, a long-time observer of the ex-gay movement, believes the situation is much graver than Falzarano is letting on.

"Falzarano being barred from Exodus is like Clinton getting banned from the Democratic Convention," said Besen this morning, "there's more to this story than the ex-gays would have us know."

Besen also believes the spat between FRC and Falzarano is indicative of a wider falling out between the fringe-right and ex-gays.

"The religious right created an ex-gay Frankenstein, and now that it's alive, they're not sure what to do," said Besen. "They know they're pumping money into something that doesn't work, but they have no choice," he said. "By taking the money away, they'd be admitting publicy that the ex-gays, and they, have failed. They're basically stuck with a pink elephant," he added.

From the ex-gay persepctive, Besen sees an equal amount of frustration. "The religious right seems far more willing to put money in to political ads than into the ex-gay groups themselves. They're more interested in promoting the ex-gay theory than in actually helping gay people change, were it even possible," he added.

Besen thinks that the religious right's focus on public relations instead of substance casts doubt on their motives. "This not only calls into question their sincerity about 'helping' gay people, but it makes one wonder whether they even believe gays can change at all," Besen concluded.

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THE LIST
Wired Strategies
"Gay Politics: Online & With an Edge"
September 1, 1999

<><><><><><><><><>
John's note: If it can be confirmed that $4 million was in fact raised in the ex-gay ad campaign last year, and didn't go to the ex-gay groups as advertised, then would the fundraising campaign be deceptive and/or fraudulent and would it violate any laws? Any fundraising legal experts out there?
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EX-GAYS CRITICIZE CHRISTIAN COALITION
Ex-gay Movement Financially Troubled, P-Fox Director Asks Where $4 Million Went

Family values groups are "hypocritical" for not sufficiently helping the ex-gay movement, and ex-gay organizations have at most one to two years left before they're in "big trouble." This, according to a press conference at the National Press Club this morning by Anthony Falzarano, founder of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (P-FOX).

You'll recall that Falzarano was profiled by Wired Strategies two weeks ago after he was barred from the recent ex-gay Exodus International conference in Chicago, and after he had reportedly criticized ex-gay benefactor the Family Research Council for not providing enough financial support to the ex-gay movement. You can read our previous ex-gay stories at http://www.wiredstrategies.com/exgay.htm

If previous reports suggested a schism between the ex-gays and their fringe-right friends in the anti-gay "family values" crowd, today's National Press Club interview erased any doubt.

Falzarano, appearing as the founder of P-FOX, criticized the family values organizations, saying that while "they want to fight the gay agenda...they need to be supporting the ex-gay movement." Falzarano singled out the Christian Coalition and D. James Kennedy's Center for Reclaiming America (in Florida) for some of the harshest criticism.

Referring to the ex-gay newspaper ad campaign launched last year, Falzarano said: "[We] did that very successful newspaper campaign last year...the Christian Coalition did not send us a dime...DJ Kennedy did not send us a dime." He continued: "All's we were asking for is possibly some money to pay for postage stamps...that's quite disturbing."

The Center for Reclaiming America is widely given credit for organizing the ex-gay ads.

Falzarano explained that the ex-gay movement saw very little if any of the rumored large quantity of money that was raised by the ad campaign. "All the phone calls went down to DJ Kennedy's group...and guess what...all the donations went [there] to." Falzarano continued: "I had heard over four million dollars were raised....do you think they called up Exodus?"

Referring to the disposition of the funds raised, the P-FOX founder said the situation was "outrageous," and that "this is hypocritical behavior, this graves the Lord, this must change."

Falzarano also revealed that the ex-gay movement is suffering serious financial problems. "We have lost fifteen ministries in the last years, we are not growing," Falzarano revealed at the press conference. "I can't tell you how many of my colleagues...have had to close the doors." He continued: "I believe if something doesn't happen in the next year or two...Exodus is in big trouble."

Finally, in another indication of the trouble within the movement, Falzarano said that one of the lead "doctors" of the ex-gay movement, Elizabeth Moberly, is currently fighting with Exodus International, and that "she won't even do any speaking engagements for the Exodus movement."
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