A 16 year old named Zach in Bartlett, Tennessee recently came out to his parents who reacted by announcing they are sending him to an ex-gay live-in program called Love In Action, the same cult like program Peterson Toscano survived. How do we know all this? Zach has been writing about it on his blog found here on MySpace.com. To view Zach’s main profile click here.
On his blog Zach posts program rules given to parents that aren’t supposed to be seen by patients. There are of course several comical rules forbidding any clothing from Abercrombie and Fitch and dining at places like TGI Fridays (because there is a bar attached to the restaurant). Program rules of genuine concern to me is a clear double standard when it came to encouraging honesty, self-examination and reflection in patients. Several selected rules read:
Be honest, authentic, and real.
Absolutely no journaling or keeping a diary outside of the MI* process unless directed or approved by staff.
No discussing therapeutic issues at home. Keep conversations positive.
*[Moral Inventories, where one must keep records of sexual struggles and temptations.]
This troubles me. A participant is to be honest, authentic and real but… family visits are to be glossed over and superficial? Many people use journaling as a method of self reflection and thought. However it appears journals can only to be used to keep a “moral inventory” of sexual temptations. For a program that pretends to stress honesty and authenticity they sure discourage independent thought and discussion both with one’s self and family. Frankly don’t see how this kind of suppression of genuinely productive thought can lead to positive healing no matter what your goal.
In conclusion, Zach was scheduled to be shipped off on June 6th. His MySpace profile indicates he last logged in on the 5th. I would appreciate it if XGW readers kept me updated on any developments as you all peruse the blogosphere. (Thanks to Royi for the initial tip)
A blog has been set up here by a group calling itself the Queer Action Coalition and features day by day accounts of protests at Love Won Out’s headquarters.
A local news broadcast (windows media) can be found here.