Ramon Medina of the Linus Pauling Quartet sent me this flyer, which you can click on to embiggen, and it is both the funniest and the saddest thing I have ever seen. Musicians both professional and amateur have until July 30 to enter (For a $30) their music video in the contest. Here's the catch... it must be a song dedicated to the plight of ex-gays.
"Former homosexuals are the last invisible minority in American culture and are increasingly subject to hostility from anti-ex-gay activists and the media at large, who is influenced heavily by the gay-activist lobby that discriminates and marginalizes former homosexuals," says the contest's organizer, Voice of the Voiceless on its Web site.
The group is working on an Ex-Gay Pride Parade in Washington, D.C. on July 31, with the winning music video being chosen at the parade itself. Videos should be between three and five minutes in length to be considered, and will be judged on song quality, professionalism and appeal.
Voice of the Voiceless is headed by Christopher Doyle, a contemporary of Richard Cohen and the International Healing Foundation. The event in question is hosted by the Family Research Council, which was founded by James Dobson and is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Michele Bachmann and Jim DeMint have been invited, as has Greg Quinlan, the president of PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays). Quinlan testified in New Jersey in 2012 about a gay rights bill, and called the practice of homosexuality "sexual cannibalism."
It's worth noting that the people pictured in the flyer have no association with Voice of the Voiceless or any other ex-gay movement. The musician is a Colombian rock guitarist named Arol who is actually pretty damned good! The picture was lifted from photographer David Perez's DeviantArt page without permission and still bears his watermark.
"I have not received a request to use the photograph that you sent me," says Perez.
There are a few prominent ex-gay musicians, leading me to wonder what sort of response the organization is expecting. One prominent "post-gay" singer is Christian artist Dennis Jernigan, who composes songs about his views and has been married with children for more than two decades.
Jernigan doesn't not identify with the ex-gay movement, preferring the term "reborn" and resigned his position at the ex-gay non-profit Exodus International in 2012 after allegations he supported anti-sodomy laws in Jamaica. EI closed a year later, and president Alan Chambers publicly apologized for damage done by the group's practices over the years.
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There is little to no scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Many in the ex-gay movement feel discriminated against from other LGBT people for their faith. I'll leave you with this cover of Jennifer Knapp's "Martyrs & Thieves" by "reluctant musician Gail Dickert as an entry in the contest.
Knapp left the Christian music industry in 2002, and came out as a lesbian in 2010. Dickert remembers attending conversion therapy and developing a hardcore crush on Knapp during that time. Both Knapp and Dickert identify as Christians.
"Do not let the church thieves make martyrs out of you," says Dickert in the video's description.