Former ex-gays and their allies will enjoy a unique opportunity to meet and share experiences during the Ex-gay Survivors Conference from June 29–July 1 at the University of California, Irvine. The conference, which consists of interactive workshops, is co-sponsored by Soulforce, BeyondExGay.com, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Resource Center at the University of California, Irvine.
Ex-gay experiences, most often provided by religion-based ministries such as Exodus International, are programs and reparative therapies intended to modify same-sex desires. The initiatives proliferate despite mainstream medical consensus that homosexuality is not a disorder. Survivors, who call themselves “ex ex-gays,” report suffering depression, anxiety and social difficulties, among other negative effects, as a result of their attempts to suppress or change their genuine selves.
Facilitators at the conference will include BeyondExGay.com co-founder, Christine Bakke. The 35-year-old Denver resident addresses the specific concerns of women who participate in ex-gay programs, generally in much lower numbers than men from Christian backgrounds.
Performance activist Peterson Toscano, a recent guest on the Tyra Banks and Montel Williams shows, will open the conference with his one-man show, Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House. Additional entertainment will be provided by singer-songwriters Jason and DeMarco, and a film forum.
Registration for the conference, along with a complete schedule, is available online at soulforce.org. Cost is $40. Organizers say no one will be denied entrance because of inability to pay.