This Monday, October 9, Tanya Erzen, author of Straight to Jesus: Sexual and Christian Conversions in the Ex-Gay Movement, was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross along with former ex-gay Shawn O’Donnell who discussed his time in Exodus International, the ex-gay network of local activist groups and ministries.
In her book, Erzen, an Associate Professor at Ohio State University, looks at New Hope Ministry, a place where gay and lesbian men and women go to change their homosexual orientation in a twelve-step-like manner combining therapy, prayer, and bible study. One of the group’s co-founders, Frank Worthen, was also a founding member of Exodus International North America, the group with which Fresh Air guest Shawn O’Donnell was affiliated.
On September 23, an organization called Focus on the Family hosted an ex-gay conference, “Love Won Out,” in Palm Springs, California. The gathering saw over a thousand people in attendance and drew protests from local residents. Focus on the Family has planned another controversial “Love Won Out” conference for November 4 in Atlanta, Georgia that will include speakers from Exodus. More protests are also likely.