Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX), the nation’s leading ex-gay advocacy group, has struggled to court actual ex-gay people into its ranks. Last we checked in with PFOX, the group was batting 100 on its board of directors. Out of ten board members, only one, Greg Quinlan, publicly identified as ex-gay; the rest were “everstraights,” or life-long heterosexuals.
But PFOX’s aversion to ex-gay members may be subsiding. In a press release yesterday, PFOX unveiled a new ex-gay in the group’s ranks:
“I wish ex-gay resources like those available through PFOX had been around to help me when I was in high school,” said Christopher Doyle, a former homosexual and PFOX board member. “As a youth, I was very confused and would have appreciated support for my unwanted same-sex attractions. All I heard, even from some teachers, was that I was born gay. But as an adult, I discovered there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.”
It’s unclear how long Doyle has been counted among PFOX’s top-ranking members. Internet searches indicate that Doyle had never been quoted in connection with PFOX prior to Oct. 8. Doyle was not mentioned in the group’s 2008 tax filing, which includes a list of its board of directors. “Christopher’s Story,” a section which details Doyle’s journey from childhood sexual abuse, through homosexuality, and finally to heterosexual marriage and fatherhood, was just posted on the PFOX Web site on Sept. 23, 2009. And the International Healing Foundation, an organization which offers counseling for “men and women with unwanted same-sex attraction,” just “recently” welcomed Doyle as a “new on-site & telephone counselor.” Doyle’s IHF bio lists him as a PFOX board member.
But enough about Doyle’s past! What can he do for PFOX in the future?
Dole has already done the organization a big favor. A quote from “a former homosexual and PFOX board member” lends PFOX more credibility as a “pro-ex-gay” organization instead of simply an “anti-gay” organization. The distinction between the two is largely semantic, of course. But it doesn’t hurt PFOX to have a couple of ex-gay humans around that it can claim to advocate for, if only to balance out the millions of gay humans the organization is committed to rallying against.
Bonus: Doyle’s IHF bio situates him at Liberty University, the fundamentalist Baptist institution in Lynchburg, Virginia. Liberty University is only four hours away from Washington, D.C., where a recent court decision said that ex-gays ought to be protected from discrimination under the sexual orientation clause of the District’s Human Rights Act. In order for PFOX to cash in on that ruling, however, it’s got to find some persecuted local ex-gays. Could Doyle be PFOX’s ticket to discrimination?
Photo by Robert Ullman