Schneider once spoke along with John Paulk, an ex-gay representative for Focus on the Family who also left the movement and now says he is gay, on a panel with the ex-gay group NARTH on the legitimacy of ex-gay pseudo-science, and was featured in a Family Research Council statement as “living proof that homosexuals can change.”
Jeremy Hooper details how Schneider was a top ex-gay advocate for several Religious Right groups:
Yvette Cantu Schneider has one of the most robust pedigrees of anyone who has ever worked in the so-called “ex-gay” movement. From the late nineties right through to the second decade of the twenty-first century, Yvette managed to find herself laboring for and with just about every top anti-LGBT group and activist you’ve heard of. From her high-profile start at the Family Research Council to her work with California’s Proposition 8 campaign—with many stops, at many different groups and campaigns along the way—Yvette became one of that movement’s most visible faces and certainly one of the most known women in a line of “work” known mainly for its male spokespeople.
To this day, Yvette remains one of the key people who anti-gay voices like to cite in order to prove that “change” works. In a December 19, 2013, press release concerning the Duck Dynasty brouhaha, notorious anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera, who was a colleague of Yvette’s during their shared time at the Family Research Council, cited Schnieder as an example of a person who has “ovecome homosexuality through faith in Jesus Christ.” “Ex-gay” websites continue to list her as among their ranks and push her story as a source of inspiration. The American Family Association continues to sell a video, “It’s Not Gay,” in which Yvette appears as a talking head. They all still claim Yvette as being both an example and a worker bee for their side.
In a nutshell: Yvette no longer wishes to identify with the “ex-gay” or anti-LGBT movement; is sorry for the pain she caused as part of that world; is highly questioning of the idea of “ex-gay” itself; and is now fully supportive of LGBT people, our truths, and our families. Yvette has made her sincerity clear to me, saying “as opposed to when I was doing things for the Christian Right out of duty and obligation, I’m doing it because I want to and feel it’s the right thing to do.” She hopes that by speaking out, she can start to undo any damage she might’ve helped to impart.
Schneider writes for GLAAD about how she played a part on behalf of the Religious Right’s anti-gay political agenda:
That evening was the Fine Line event in support of Proposition 8 at The Rock Church in San Diego. It would be simulcast to churches across California in an attempt to sway the God-loving, church-going faithful to vote for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union between a man and woman. I was a panelist; the token “ex-gay” spokesperson, chosen to vouch for the evangelical Christian belief that while people may not choose to be gay, they can certainly choose not to stay gay. Every detail of the event had been pre-planned and rehearsed. The texts, phone calls, and emails from viewers and attendees asking questions were actually written and recorded in advance by those of us who would serve on the panel. But for some reason, as the event drew near, I couldn’t shake the nerves. My heart wasn’t in this event; deep down I knew I didn’t belong here. But I played my part, and delivered my lines.
This young woman adored her father, and wanted things in their household to remain as they had always been. She feared that the advent of gay marriage would ruin any chance of her father staying with the family. I told her she didn’t have the power to change anyone; no one does. The best she could do was to love and spend time with her father. He was still the same man she had always known and loved. As she sobbed over the breakup of her parents and family, an errant thought darted through my head: If we as a society didn’t condemn homosexuality, gay people wouldn’t feel pressured into marrying heterosexually, against their true attractions, and families wouldn’t be torn apart when the gay spouse could no longer continue the ruse. I had seen a number of gay Christians marry an opposite sex partner, only to leave when they couldn’t pretend any longer. It wasn’t fair to the spouse, the kids, or themselves. My doubts about the efficacy of change and the evangelical Christian stance against gay rights of any kind nagged at me.
I spent the next few years digging deep within my soul to unearth my true self–the authentic me who celebrates the worthiness and equality of all people. The me who knows we all deserve to be who we are, not who others want and expect us to be. It was only when I embraced this true self that I regained my life. It meant shedding many of the beliefs I had espoused for decades—beliefs about what it means to be gay, and what it means to treat people with dignity and respect.