Aug 10, 2012

Is an new ex-gay group coming to Australia

Some of us received a disturbing newsletter from the LGBT activist group AllOut yesterday saying.

They're coming to Australia. This week, an extremist religious group is holding workshops for gays and lesbians on how to hate themselves for who they are. These type of "therapy sessions" collect cash for one purpose only: to sell the idea that people who are not straight should stifle it.

On Sunday it's happening in Sydney. But we can shut it down. Already almost 50,000 people around the world have taken a stand against these harmful and unnecessary treatments - and All Out members successfully called governments to action in France and Argentina. 

We're setting off a global domino effect to shut down these sessions and ban "gay cures" for good. Will you call on the Australian government, and the governments at every tour-stop, to stand against "gay cures"?

Immediately I began getting emails and messages from people distressed and angry about this news. 

This was disturbing to many of us because:
  1. Those of us who have been monitoring ex-gay activities in Australia for many years knew nothing about this.
  2. The newsletter gave the impression there was a new push in this country when clearly ex-gay ministries are in decline here. Two thirds gone in the last decade.
All my inquiries and research within Australia came up with nothing.

I was eventually able to speak a representative at AllOut in New York. AllOut's initiatives globally have been and are important projects worth supporting. One of their projects is to follow Desert Streams seminars around the world and do activism in those countries by engaging with the governments and making them aware of the dangers of associated with ex-gay programs.

Unfortunately the information in the AllOut newsletter sent to Australian's wasn't entirely correct.

They're coming to Australia. ....They is referring to Desert Stream.......but they are not coming here. Desert Stream is branded Living Waters here. It is not a Desert Stream organisation as such but uses Andy Comisky's Living Waters programs and are affiliated.

On Sunday it's happening in Sydney. An error has been made here. AllOut got this information from this page assuming this was a Desert Stream initiative as they are doing in other parts of the world (Europe, USA & Asia). As I pointed out to the AllOut representative, these programs have actually been running regularly for the last 20 years in Australia (and appears to gettiing less and less attending) this is nothing new or a US/Desert Stream initiative as expressed in the newsletter.

I will continue to keep you informed about progress here in Australia. 

We will be contiue to determine ways we can effectively overcome misinformation and ignorance about sexuality and gender diversity here in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Your support to make this happen will be greatly appreciated. 

Twitter: @gayambassador

Anthony Venn-Brown is a founder of Freedom 2 b[e], Australia’s largest network of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people from Christian backgrounds and is currently director of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International. He is an educator, consultant and commentator on LGBT/faith issues and been committed to deconstructing the ‘ex-gay’ myth in Australia. Anthony’s journey from married, high profile preacher in Australia’s mega-churches to living as an openly gay man is detailed in his autobiography 'A Life of Unlearning'. Anthony has been twice voted ‘One of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians’ (2007 & 2009) and was one of four finalists for the 2011 ACON Community Hero Award.

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