“Pray Away” (2021, an abbreviation of “pray away the gay”), directed by Kristine Stolakis and streamed on Netflix (101 minutes) traces the history of the ex-gay movement through the eyes of its practitioners. At the beginning and end the film warns that “conversion therapy” has been discredited by medicine and is often outlawed.
The film focuses particularly on Exodus International (which started in 1978 and dissolved in 2013), along with groups like Love won Out, Living Hope, and Focus on the Family. There is particular attention to the career of John Paulk. The early scenes in the film feature 1980s meetings in Reno and at nearby Lake Tahoe, a curious location.
The movements tended to be characterized by aggressive behavior or the ex-gay proponents “ministering” to others about “God’s law” and finding salvation through ‘Him”. There seem to be a particular attention in certain evangelical communities to religion as the center of life, without much other explanation. I’ve always thought it was a bit of a paradox that the Savior is presented as an attractive young and athletic white male, when hero-worship or idolization (particularly) is sinful (or violates one of the Commandments ).
I was familiar in the late 1980s with another group called “Love in Action” which was said to emphasized “giving up the gay lifestyle” while at the time offered services to AIDS patients.
Of course many societies (such as radical Islam) have condemned homosexuality on supposed theological grounds and gone out of their way to persecute it.
Many societies are heavily tribal and are concerned about their collective survival in future generations. Particularly today (as in Russia), homosexuality would be seen as a threat to a group’s maintaining enough fertility (and it gets into ethno-racism with ideas like replacement theory).
On the other hand, some indigenous societies have recognized non “reproductive” individuals as a kind of separate priesthood but sometimes do not allow them full personal freedom but expect them to take care of others (such as with eldercare).
Much of our moral code has to do with prohibiting activities which are harmful. But some of our code demands participation in activities seen as essential to survival of the group (start with conscription). This is another side of moral thinking.
The film did not particularly focus on AIDS and gay men in the 1980s, and the right wing did. I talked about this a lot in Section 7 of Chapter 3 of my first DADT book.
This would be a good place to present a video “Born This Way: The Science Behind Being Gay” from Real Pride, June 2021, 46 minutes. (It had been linked on a site now taken down, but now linked here in the non-WP portion of the new site.) The video presents the theory of epigenetics (later born sons) and the idea that the X chromosome could carry a gene that makes women more fertile if they have two copies but that could interfere with heterosexual desire in males, possibly increase fertility for the whole tribe.
I do want to share a couple short videos from a day trip.
In this one I briefly discuss what I have found about SEL, or Social and Emotional Leaning programs getting put in by school systems in lower grades.
In this one I talk about “metaversal rights” and whey you have to be prepared to “fight”.
(Posted: Friday, May 13, 2022 at 3 PM by John W. Boushka)