Friday, January 23, 2009

Targeting Youth with Anti-Gay Lies: Alliance Defense Fund, Exodus International, and the Day of Truth

Early in January, I blogged about how we can expect the religious right to bombard youth with anti-gay propaganda in the coming year, in an attempt to stem the demographic tide of young folks moving towards acceptance and affirmation of gay persons, and away from demonization and hate ( I said,

Look for the religious right to try desperately to represent itself as a kinder, gentler version of its old self, as it crafts new strategies of outreach to youth: campus visits, campus crusades, enhanced web technologies. And newly minted lies about gays and gay marriage . . . .

It's started. Yesterday, Daniel Gonzales reported at Box Turtle Bulletin that the homophobic Alliance Defense Fund, which opposes the annual national Day of Silence sponsored by Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), has turned over its annual Day of Truth, a counter to the Day of Silence, to Exodus International (

The Day of Silence is an attempt to make students at all levels aware of the damages we inflict when we taunt gay young people, call them demeaning names, and turn them into second-class citizens in our schools. Exodus International assaults gay persons with spurious claims about the abnormality and unhealthiness of a gay sexual orientation, and with false promises that one can change one's sexual orientation.

Exodus International lies, in short. We can now expect its lies about gay human beings and gay lives to be disseminated to school children through the Day of Truth.

And, as a reminder of the power these lies about gay lives and gay persons continue to exert even in institutions of higher learning, I'd like to note once again the response I received from the president of a church-owned university when I recommended GLSEN to colleagues in a project I was charged to lead. The project required me to help all the academic leaders of the university to enhance the engagement of students in service-learning.

One of my responsibilities in this project was to compile lists of groups with which students might want to work for progressive social change. When I mentioned GLSEN, among many other organizations that engage student passion for social change, I was reprimanded by the university president, who told me that the inclusion of GLSEN in the list was a way of putting my "lifestyle" in the face of colleagues.

We have long way to go.