RICHMOND, Va. — Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) is asking the Virginia legislature to stop funding “gay-transvestite centers at Virginia’s public universities,” claiming state funds are being used to “indoctrinate” youth into changing their faith.
Wednesday’s announcement comes as a response to an undercover investigation produced last month by the ex-gay group Voice of the Voiceless that concluded that LGBTQ resource centers at Virginia state universities are discrediting the ex-gay community.
In a statement from PFOX, Executive Director Regina Griggs said the centers deny change is possible by refusing to accept the “ex-gays” exist.
“Virginia taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to fund hatred and discrimination against ex-gays and people of faith,” Griggs said.
“These biased and discriminatory lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/questioning centers hide ex-gay resources and insist that students adopt a ‘gay-only’ mentality that rejects those who have changed their orientation from gay to straight while celebrating those who have changed their gender identity,” she said.
Griggs said PFOX provides ex-gay brochures urging tolerance to LGBT resource centers at many Virginia state universities but that they refuse to make them available to students seeking guidance.
“They believe in exclusion, censorship, and allowing only one side of the story to be told,” Griggs said. “Virginia taxpayers don’t want their money funding non-educational activities that endanger youth, treat ex-gay minorities as outcasts, and promote government-approved religions.”
George Mason University (GMU) was specifically criticized by Voice of the Voiceless when Ric Chollar, a licensed clinical social worker and associate dirtector of GMU’s LGBTQ Resources, told the undercover investigator to seek a Metropolitan Community Church and read, “The Lord is my Shepherd, and He Knows I’m Gay.”
“It wasn’t that I directed him to go just there,” Chollar said. “All throughout the interview I was trying to be very careful as I think all of us are in not giving advice or direction but instead presenting options and linking whatever suggestions and whatever possibilities come from the piece of himself that he is talking about.”
“This whole investigation is based on deception and the set up of the person presenting differently from who he really is and presenting differently from the narrative they are telling now, each one of us was set up,” said Chollar.
Chollar explains he, along with the LGBTQ center at GMU and the university itself don’t claim to be value neutral like these groups are proposing they should be.
“The value we place is around encouraging students towards mental health, and towards happiness and towards success as students,” Chollar said, indicating there is no evidence of ex-gay therapy being successful.
The American Psychological Association has publicly stated ex-gay therapy does not work, and says it often is more harmful than anything else. A report was released in 2009 that detailed the results of their work.
“Contrary to claims of sexual orientation change advocates and practitioners, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation,” said Judith Glassgold, Psy.D., chair of the APA task force that examined sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE).
“Contrary to the claims of SOCE practitioners and advocates, recent research studies do not provide evidence of sexual orientation change as the research methods are inadequate to determine the effectiveness of these interventions,” said Glassgold.
Additional comments from PFOX were not available by press time.