Calculated Compassion

How The Ex-Gay Movement Serves The Right’s Attack on Democracy

The discredited practice of “ex-gay therapy” is at the center of today’s culture wars, with the Christian Right seeking to expand its reach to include transgender people and California banning the so-called “reparative” therapy from being performed on minors.

PRA has been investigating the ex-gay movement since 1998, when we partnered with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Equal Partners in Faith in 1998 to report on and reveal the motives behind the Christian Right’s embrace of the “ex-gay” movement.

Surina Khan’s report exposes how and why the Right made the strategic choice to shy away from overtly homophobic rhetoric in favor of trying to convey compassion for the LGBT community. Under cover of promoting discredited methods of “reparative therapy” to try to gay, lesbian, and bisexual people to heterosexuality, the Right worked to undermine the rationale for LGBT rights and roll back legal protections.

Khan places the ex-gay movement into the context of the Right’s larger agenda for breaking down the wall between church and state and imposing fundamentalist values upon the rest of the country. Her report explains how the still-active ex-gay movement, framed in terms of compassion, camouflages the Right’s project of stripping away rights from the LGBT community — and the tactics and strategies she described over a decade ago remain shockingly on point today.

In Challenging the Ex-Gay Movement, PRA offers a comprehensive guide, with background information, talking points, and media relations and public speaking tips for activists who seek to counter the influence of ex-gay leaders.

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