IRVINE, Ca.- When the Annual Exodus International Conference arrives in Irvine this June it will be met with a counter-conference organized by Soulforce, http://BeyondExGay.com, and the LGBT Resource Center at the University of California – Irvine from June 29 to July 1. The Exodus conference promotes the false message that LGBT people are disordered, sinful, and in need of change.
“We chose Irvine because the annual Exodus Freedom Conference is coming to Irvine that week,” said Jeff Lutes, a practicing psychotherapist and executive director of Soulforce. “For Soulforce, BeyondExGay.com, and the LGBT Resource Center at UC Irvine, it is very important to provide a positive response to the Exodus message that our community is sinful and disordered.”
Called the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference, it will present an interactive, community-building experience featuring the stories of those who have had ex-gay experiences.
“We use the term ‘survivor’ because we want to emphasize the very real psychological trauma that these programs can cause, and also because we want to highlight the strength of the men and women who, in spite of enormous pressures, come to accept themselves as they are,” said Lutes.
Recent events have brought national attention to the existence of programs intended to modify same-sex desires. While much of that attention has focused on whether sexual orientation is subject to change, BeyondExGay.com and The Ex-Gay Survivor’s Conference are the first efforts to move beyond that debate in order to focus on the community of “survivors” – people who feel they have experienced more harm than benefits from ex-gay programs.