Focus on the Family Counters "Gay Pride" Message

Focus on the Family
Wednesday, 4 June 2003

Hundreds of Portland Residents to Hear Experts Challenge Myths About Homosexuality

While gay-affirming organizations in the Portland area make plans to celebrate Gay Pride Month, Focus on the Family is preparing its own celebration of the truth that homosexuality is preventable and treatable. That's the central message of the Love Won Out conference, to be held June 21 at Portland's New Hope Community Church.

Mike Haley, a former homosexual and Love Won Out conference host, knows all too well that the messages found at events like Portland's Pride 2003 can be misguided and dangerous. At 16, a school counselor told him he was born gay and should embrace homosexuality. He followed the advice and spent more than a decade in empty relationships, hopelessness and isolation. Gay-affirming events like Pride 2003 only serve to perpetuate misconceptions about the origins of homosexuality, Haley said, while offering little hope that change is possible.

"Hundreds of thousands of people, including many at-risk youth who wrestle with their sexuality, are being encouraged to 'come out' as a cure for their problems," Haley said. "People need truthful information in order to make healthy life decisions, and these so-called 'Pride' events fall woefully short in that area. The truth is that for those struggling with unwanted homosexuality, there is a way out."

The Love Won Out conference explores such truth by showing that change is possible and offering practical help for those wanting out of homosexuality. Conference speakers include experts in the field of homosexuality and gender identity, such as Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D., president of the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. Dr. Nicolosi has just authored A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality and has appeared on the Fox's News Channel's O'Reilly Factor. Other speakers include Dick Carpenter, Ph.D., a veteran teacher, principal and college professor; and Jane Boyer, a nurse practitioner and former lesbian.

Since its inception in 1998, Focus on the Family's Love Won Out conference has shared its message with more than 17,000 people in 21 cities and has seen nearly a 25 percent increase in attendance over the past year.

Those numbers, Haley concluded, are an encouraging sign that people are growing tired of the one-sided message presented at "pride" events.

"Our culture continues to tell us that homosexuality is genetic and can't be changed and even that it is blessed by God," he said. "But I and thousands of others know that this is simply not true and we encourage the public to come hear our side of this controversial topic."

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