In June 2013, Alan Chambers, the executive director of Exodus International—the most visible face of the “ex-gay” movement in the United States—apologized to LGBTI people for “years of undue suffering and judgment at the hands of the organization” and announced that the organization would close. The “ex-gay” movement nonetheless continues to thrive internationally through Exodus Global Alliance (EGA) and other Christian Right organizations.
“Ex-gay” therapy emerged in the 1970s as a pseudoscience promising to cure homosexuality. EGA, which describes itself as “a world-wide Christian organization helping people affected by homosexuality,” was formed out of Exodus International in 2004 as a global network for “ex-gay” organizations and ministries. EGA asserts that “those impacted by homosexuality … are spiritually dead,” and continues to claim that change is possible. It has tried to distance itself from Exodus International, arguing that the two are “completely independent organizations.”
Though EGA does not have an office in Africa, the influence of its ideology and rhetoric is evident across the African continent. In October 2010, for example, 4,000 evangelical leaders from 198 countries met in Cape Town, South Africa, for the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. Conference events featured several members of EGA, who helped lead a discussion on “Sexuality, Truth, and Grace.” An Exodus International board member, Don Schmierer, was also a featured speaker at the infamous “Seminar on Exposing the Homosexuals’ Agenda” held in Uganda in 2009. The event, which featured Scott Lively and other human rights opponents, helped give rise to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that year. (For more about these events, see “My Journey” in Section I.)
According to the World Congress of Family’s January/February 2017 newsletter, their Nairobi-based partner group, the African Organization for Families, is “planning to launch a Regional Crisis Pregnancy Center and introduce a hotline number to offer counseling to those dealing with crisis pregnancy and ‘same-sex attraction’ issues.”
Through initiatives such as this one, EGA continues to build an extensive network of ministries and partnerships in the United States and across the globe, and similar organizations formerly affiliated with Exodus International continue to promote harmful “ex-gay” therapies.
For more details, see American Culture Warriors in Africa: A Guide to the Exporters of Homophobia and Sexism.