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Religious Tolerance logo


Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays

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Sponsored link.

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On 1996-OCT-9, the Family Research Council (FRC) announced the creation of their new organization Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (P-FOX; later called PFOX). The Family Research Council, like many other non-profit organizations with the word "family" in their title, is a Fundamentalist Christian group who oppose societal acceptance of homosexual orientation as normal and natural.

The FRC defines PFOX as "a Christ-centered support group for homosexuals and their families and friends, [which] provides Christian counsel for those who are struggling with the sin of homosexuality." They consider themselves "to be the Al-Anon of the ex-gay movement." 1

PFOX is led by Anthony Falzarano, who states that he is a former homosexual. He also is the Executive Director of Transformation Ex-Gay Christian Ministries. PFOX is a national organization of parents and friends of individuals who once were gay or lesbian and who now regard themselves as either:

bullethaving a heterosexual orientation
bullethaving a homosexual orientation, but remaining celibate, or
bullethaving a bisexual orientation, but forming relationships only with members of the opposite gender.

Their web page originally contains two testimonials. One is by a woman who is apparently a currently celibate lesbian. The other is by their Executive Director, who is apparently a monogamous bisexual, who is married to a woman. There are no testimonies by individuals who have actually changed their sexual orientation.

The organization appears to be in decline. Their annual convention attendance has dropped by 50% from 1997 to 1999.  As of 1999-APR, the most recent reference to PFOX on the FRC web site was a minor reference in a CultureFacts column dated 1998-AUG.

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Sponsored link:

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In contrast with many other conservative Christian groups, PFOX believes that individuals do not choose to have feelings of same-sex attractions. However, people choose whether or not to act on those feelings. By praying, being saved (repenting of their sin and trusting Jesus as Lord and Savior), going through reparative therapy and programs of transformational ministries, PFOX believes that they can be strengthened to lead a celibate life or to develop heterosexual feelings.

They write: "No one has to be gay. No one should reject a family member because that family member is 'gay.' But love does not require accepting behavior that is harmful. In fact, real love in action is a conscious effort to steer someone away from behavior that can hurt or even kill. It isn't always easy, but it can be done, as evidenced by the many who have." 2 Professional mental-health organizations reject these beliefs; they believe that sexual orientation is fixed and not chosen.

One of their favorite Bible verses is Proverbs 27:5, which reads "open rebuke is better than secret love." Another is I Corinthians 5, which they interpret as guidance for parents to refuse admittance into their home of their child's gay partner.

In 1998-MAY-13, Anthony Falzarano discussed a situation that many parents of gays and lesbians have: 3 what to do if their son or daughter wants to bring their lover/partner home for dinner. His response was:

bulletto not permit the friend to come for dinner.
bulletparents should "keep their home a holy sanctuary"
bulletallowing the friend to come to dinner may be interpreted as an acceptance of the son or daughter's "lifestyle choice."
bulletmany parents feel that their "parenting mistakes" may be responsible for leading their children "down the path to homosexuality."

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They have chapters in 20 cities as of 1997-OCT. By 2006, they had opened more than 38 chapters, including:

bulletLos Angeles and San Diego, CA.
bulletGrand Junction - Eckert, CO.
bulletFt. Lauderdale, St. Petersburg, and West Palm Beach, FL.
bulletGlenville, GA.
bulletDes Moines - Quad Cities, IA.
bulletOne chapter in ME.
bulletFour locations in MD.
bulletOne location in MI
bulletSt. Louis, MO.
bulletBuffalo, Rochester & New York City, NY
bulletCanton and Cleveland, OH.
bulletOklahoma City, OK
bulletErie, Dannville, Altoona  and Pittsburgh, PA
bulletColumbia, Spartanburg-Greenville SC.
bulletChattanooga and Memphis, TN.
bulletSan Antonio and El Paso, TX
bulletFive chapters in VA
bulletWashington DC
bulletOshkosh, WI. 8

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PFOX conferences:

They hold annual conferences each spring.

bullet1997 conference: The first conference had 250 attendees.
bullet1998 conference: The meeting was held in McLean VA starting MAR-6. About 300 people attended. Speakers included a Alveda King, niece of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Also addressing PFOX were a Texas Supreme Court Justice (parent of an ex-gay), two ex-lesbians, an ex-transvestite, and a representative of Transformation Ministries. Workshops dealt with homosexuality and the culture, the root causes of male homosexuality, and how the 'gay' church is warping holy scripture. Anthony Falzarano, the president of PFOX presented a plaque to Gary Bauer, FRC president. It read "For your Christ-centered response to the recovering homosexual community and their families. Matthew 25:36 — 'I was sick and you comforted me." (In other locations on the FRC site, Falzarano is referred to as the National Director or the Executive Director of PFOX). There was a minor disruption of the conference by two members of the Lesbian Avengers group: they passed out fliers and pasted stickers on restroom mirrors.
bullet1999 conference: The third annual meeting was in Washington and attracted about 120 people. 5 Its slogan was: "Reclaiming the Rainbow." Excerpts from Anthony Falzarano's speeches include:
bulletA reference to Matthew Shepard, the gay man who was tortured to death in Wyoming: "...that poor unfortunate boy in, where
was it?  South Dakota?  That man was a predator to heterosexual men.
bullet"We're here; we're ex-queer; get used to it."
bullet"The spirit of the Anti-Christ is in the gay political movement."
bulletA reference to the ex-gay movement being the leper of Christianity. He criticized churches and individuals for not accepting ex-gays.
bulletA reference to a class-action lawsuit that PFOX plans to file against the American Psychological Association. The suit would hold the APA responsible for the death of gay youth through AIDS.
bulletPFOX's $280,000 per year budget is inadequate to handle the needs of the gay community. He appealed for support from churches.
bulletThey hope to add 30 new local chapters by the year 2000.

The Rev. Earl Fox gave the opening talk. He believes that God abandoned America to fend for itself because of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on compulsory prayer in the public school system. He believes that gays could burn off their homosexual desires through exercise or work. Alan Keyes was the keynote speaker. He said that even if homosexuality is genetic, gays should remain celibate, just as a married man avoids committing adultery. He feels that the U.S. Supreme Court will probably overturn federal and state-level Defense of Marriage Acts (DOMAs). He believes that  a U.S. constitutional amendment is needed to prevent same-sex marriages in the future. Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons from NARTH spoke. He has renamed homosexuality "Same Sex Attraction Disorder (SSAD)." He believes that SSAD is caused by poor eye-hand coordination, improper parenting, poor body image or early sexual abuse.

bullet2000 Conference: This was held in Alexandria VA. One of the speakers, psychotherapist and author Richard Cohen, said: "There's a tremendous amount of misunderstanding surrounding homosexuality. I call it the mythology about homosexuality...There is no scientific data that substantiates a genetic or biologic basis for same-sex attraction. Anybody can change." Referring to liberal politicians, he commented: "They have been enrolled into the mythology that 'people are born this way' and 'people cannot change.' This is not a political or a civil rights or a human rights issue. It's a moral issue and an issue of psychology...It is our responsibility as people who believe in hope of healing through psychology and the responsibility of the religious community to offer hope and healing to those men and women who wish to change. I don't call it the gay lifestyle, but the SAD lifestyle, the Same-sex Attachment Disorder lifestyle. Men are looking for attachment and bonding with their dads through other men and women are looking for attachment and
bonding with their mothers through other women. The problem is, sex doesn't heal wounds or fulfill unmet primal needs."

Speaker and writer, Joe Dallas, spoke about the dangers of the demand for a "monolithic viewpoint" on homosexuality which he feels is promoted by many gay-rights groups. He differentiated between acceptance of homosexuals and approval of their behavior. "...to interact with the sinner is not to legitimize the sin." 7

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  1. PFOX has a web page at http://www.pfox.org/ They can be contacted 1017 12th St. NW, Washington DC 20005. Voice phone is (202) 371-2900, Fax is (202) 371-0378. Email is info@pfox.org
  2. Lecture given by Bob Knight, Director of Cultural Studies for the Family Research Council, before the National Press Club, 1996-OCT-9
  3. Anthony Falzarano, "Guest Q & A," CultureFacts, 1998-MAY-13. CultureFacts is a weekly FRC fax/Email publication.
  4. FRC / PFOX publishes a list of ex-gay ministries. You can order a copy at (800) 225-4008.
  5. People for the American Way report: "Special eye-witness report: Parents and friends of Ex-gays," 1998-APR-9.
  6. PFLAG fact sheet, "Reparative Therapy or Ex-gay Ministries" at: http://www.affirmation.org/article73.htm
  7. "Conference Notes," at: http://www.pfox.org/postcon.htm
  8. PFOX Chapters, at: http://www.pfox.org/

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Copyright © 1999 to 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally published: 1999-APR-10
Updated on: 2006-JUN-03
Author: B.A. Robinson

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