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Tuesday 19 April 2016


Takanini Trouble?

Posted in: Comment
By Craig Young - 18th April 2016

Bad news. It seems that the ex-gay group Exodus Ministries New Zealand is not as dead as many of us thought. Recently, I discovered that the Takanini-based fundamentalist group was still running a website, which can be viewed below. So, what did I discover?

 
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It all seems very encapsulated. For all their claims of 'scientific rigour,' there is actually quite little cited there, apart from the usual references to Mark Yarhouse, Stanton Jones, Tiffany Barnhouse and other fundamentalist Christian scientists involved in the fundamentalist subculture. In fact, that's the unifying thread in this whole context- past fundamentalist adherence exerts a strong influence that seems to pull some ex-fundamentalist lesbians and gay men back into the clammy clutches of such sects. Indeed, this is brought home when one reads the accounts of Lynn, Max and Shirley, all of whom were brought up in fundamentalist Christian home environments before temporarily escaping into the lesbian and gay communities and then heading back to fundamentalist circles.

When I turned to the section of the website that dealt with 'resources,' I found myself raising an eyebrow, given the age of some of the resources available, which may be because the 'ex-gay' movement hasn't published anything significantly new for the last decade or so. Stanton and Yarhouse, Joe Dallas, Neil and Briar Whitehead, Jeff Satinover, Andrew Comiskey, Leanne Payne...I first encountered some of these resources back in the eighties when they were used against our communities in the days of homosexual law reform, while another several of them date from the early nineties, given I encountered them during the debate over the Human Rights Act and anti-discrimination reform. I'm sorry, this is supposed to 'convince' people? I imagine it would if they had little contact with people outside the fundamentalist subculture, but nowadays, it's comparatively simple to go online and encounter critiques of the flawed research methods and manifold problems with this so-called 'ex-gay research literature,' which may be why it isn't cited at great length elsewhere on the website. And the only New Zealand website is that of fundamentalist activists Neil and Briar Whitehead, who were around during the Human Rights Act 1993 debate but haven't had a high New Zealand profile since.

There's an almost palpable sense of cobwebbed decay hanging around this website. Its antiquated and discredited resources indicate that it is not keeping up to date with contemporary debates about LGBT rights. There is nothing on Exodus New Zealand about marriage equality, transgender rights, anti-bullying concern or subsequent LGBT community issues after the advent of anti-discrimination laws. It is relatively easy to access rebuttals of the claims made on this site- witness Greg Herek's riposte to the claims made on his University of California Davis website about 'reparative therapy" and Truth Wins Out's comprehensive section of resources that erase any lingering traces of credibility from their increasingly feeble claims. It is also laughable that Exodus refers to 'progay propaganda' as the chief influence behind mainstream psychotherapeutic organisations opposition to 'reparative therapy.' To reiterate, the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, the American Counselling Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and National Association of Social Workers all reject 'reparative therapy' on the basis of evidence-based research and practice, and that's only the United States. Which is why the New Zealand Charities Commission was wholly justified in stripping them of their charitable status back in 2010.

Tellingly, on its who they are webpage, Exodus Ministries notes that it does not offer "guarantees, counselling, psychological services or therapeutic treatments." Hmm. I wonder why?



Not Recommended:

Exodus Ministries New Zealand:http://www.gaytoexga y.org.nz

My Genes Made Me Do It:http://www.mygenes.co.nz


Strongly Recommended:

Greg Herek: Facts About Changing Sexual Orientation:http://psc.dss. ucdavis.edu/rainbow/HTML/ facts_changing.html

Truth Wins Out" What the Mental Health Experts Say:http://www.truthwinsout.org/what-the- experts-say

Charities Commission:Exodus Ministries Trust Board decision:http://www.charities.govt.nz/ Portals/0/docs/decisions/ Exodus_Ministries_Trust_Board. pdf


Craig Young - 18th April 2016

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