While the American Family Association and Liberty Counsel are calling on parents to prevent their children from attending school today and Concerned Women for America is encouraging a “Day of Silence Walk Out,” other Religious Right groups are trying to add anti-gay “balance” to today’s Day of Silence. Focus on the Family’s Day of Dialogue, which will take place on Monday in order to directly follow the Day of Silence, wants to help students they believe are “messed up sexually.” The “Day of Dialogue” is the successor to the ex-gay ministry Exodus International’s Day of Truth, and continues to employ the same anti-gay rhetoric as the group urges students to use stories like one from Rochelle, about the deleterious consequences of “embracing a lesbian lifestyle”:
Yet the further I plunged into lesbianism, the greater the void in my soul grew. I found girlfriends and guy friends; went to social events, gay bookstores and clubs; wore the clothes, talked the talk, and tried to become the person I thought I was, but deep inside I still was unsatisfied. What appeared to be a wonderful, enriching lifestyle turned out to be an illusion. It looked thrilling and exciting, but in reality, there was backbiting and selfishness, much as I’d already experienced in heterosexuality. People I encountered weren’t satisfied and confident; they were depressed, empty, and anxious, just like I was. What I thought would bring me life and community left only brokenness and bitterness in its wake.
Jeff Johnston, the group’s “gender and homosexuality analyst,” discussed his “road out of homosexuality,” which he blames on his early exposure to pornography, and his experience attending a conference called “Hope and Healing for the Homosexual”:
I learned at this event that I wasn’t alone – there were others in the church who wrestled with same-sex attractions. Some of them had walked away from homosexuality. I also learned that there might be some influencing factors in my life that had steered me toward homosexual thoughts and feelings, my early sexual experiences, for example. And I began talking to people about my struggle.
I wouldn’t trade any of my life now for “gay pride” or for “being gay.” There is such freedom in living a life without trying to push down all those secrets, dark thoughts and feelings. There is joy in being a father and a husband. And there is peace in being forgiven.
Like Focus on the Family, the group Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) wants students to learn about “former homosexuals” and accuses the Day of Silence of “intolerance of ex-homosexuals”:
Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), says homosexual activists are censoring her group’s point of view. “We would love people to make the decision to leave homosexuality, but they can’t make a decision when they don’t even know former homosexuals exist,” she contends.
Pro-homosexual groups are promoting today’s Day of Silence to encourage students to remain silent for a day at school to protest society’s intolerance of homosexuals and cross-dressers. But Griggs wonders if they are concerned about the intolerance of ex-homosexuals.
“If you’re going to worry about sexual orientation non-discrimination and pick a day every year to host it, shouldn’t that include all sexual orientations, such as former homosexuals,” the PFOX executive director questions. “Where are their rights?”
So she is encouraging students to distribute her organization’s literature in schools today so that the message of hope will reach a hurting community.