Truth Wins Out, an organization devoted to battling groups that promote “ex-gay” therapy, is shutting down, founder Wayne Besen announced Monday.
“Truth Wins Out is closing because we accomplished our major goals. We helped expose and ultimately vanquish (with the help of other heroes) major ‘ex-gay’ programs including Love Won Out, Exodus International, and JONAH,” Besen wrote on the group’s main website on its 11th anniversary.
The latter stood for Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality, later Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing. It and the other programs Besen mentioned have shut down. They all offered therapy designed to turn gay or bisexual people straight (and, sometimes, transgender people cisgender), a type of counseling that has been deemed both ineffective and harmful by major mental health organizations; it's also known as “conversion” or “reparative” therapy. Several states and cities have barred licensed therapists from subjecting minors to such therapy.
“Yes, similar programs will always exist, as charlatans will provide a supply of snake oil to fill a demand,” Besen wrote. “However, Truth Wins Out has created a robust legacy that irrefutably proves ‘ex-gay’ activists are frauds and such programs are a hoax that exploits hate.”
Besen, who started the organization in 2006 when President George W. Bush invited “ex-gay” activists to the White House, listed several accomplishments of Truth Wins Out, such as working with the Southern Poverty Law Center in its court case against JONAH, persuading mental health professionals to condemn “ex-gay” groups, bringing media attention to the harm done by this type of “therapy,” exposing the role of American evangelicals in promoting Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act, and investigating the “ex-gay” clinics operated by Marcus Bachmann, husband of former congresswoman and onetime presidential aspirant Michele Bachmann.
He asked for donations to maintain the Truth Wins Out websites. “Our information helps people across the globe and it is critically important it remains available,” he wrote.
The shuttering of Truth Wins Out follows the closure of other high-profile LGBT groups like Empire State Pride Agenda and Freedom to Marry, though new organizations have launched in their wake, including Equality New York, Freedom for All Americans, and the Campaign for Southern Equality.