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Outspoken: Thomas

Outspoken: Thomas


I would like to thank the citizens of Boston for their support during a difficult time in my life. I recently attended a Love Won Out "ex-gay" conference there. My mother wanted me to go, and to show her that I loved her, I did. I told her I wasn't going to change but would listen to the conservatives' point of view.

As I walked into the conference, there were gay protesters outside, chanting, "Hate is not a Boston value." As a 20-year-old gay man, I felt embarrassed and ashamed going into this church while my fellow LGBT people were protesting outside.

After the first session, which was on the causes and origins of male homosexuality, I needed a break and went out for a cigarette, almost in tears. One of the protesters came over to me and asked me if I needed a hug. I responded, "Yes." I told her what was going on inside and why I was there. She told me how brave I was and that no matter what happened I would have support from the LGBT citizens on the street. My spirits were raised. I just need to say "thank you" once again to the protesters for giving me hope in a desperate time.

Also, I would like to point out that during one of the group sessions, an ex-gay minister was talking about how to start on the path to fighting your homosexuality. When he opened the floor for discussion, I immediately raised my hand. I had pulled out a copy of The Advocate that contained an article on the ex-gay movement. I cited a quote from former ex-gay and founder of Love in Action John Evans about how the ex-gay movement actually causes depression and suicide. I asked him how they could continue to preach this information when one of their own leaders concluded that it was wrong to try to change gay people. The minister just said that he has seen nothing but joy come out of the ex-gay programs.

Still, it felt amazing to stand up to the conservatives and voice my opinion. I couldn't have done that or made it through without the protesters in Boston or The Advocate. I can't express my gratitude enough.

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