Monday, May 19, 2008

Mexico: Ex-gay movement tries to spread its reach outside US borders

Even if you live in Mexico City you might have blinked and missed the latest gathering by those who allege that homosexuality can be treated or cured through therapy which involved some prominent United States adherents to the so-called "ex-gay" movement.

Originally Mexican LGBT rights activists had planned protests outside the event, which reportedly drew 300 people and took place at the ritzy Sheraton Hotel in the historic district of Mexico City, but they decided against it in order not to draw additional attention to the event ("Protest Against Anti-gay Conference Cancelled,", May 1, 2008).

Web portal, who ran excellent multi-day coverage of the event, revealed on April 16th that students from the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM) were the first to notice fliers for the event when they saw them posted on college bulletin boards.

They also noticed that panelists included a virtual who's who of those involved in the US ex-gay movement including Joseph Nicolosi, co-founder and president of the much-debunked National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality;
Dean Byrd (pictured above), president of the Thrasher Research Fund, a private foundation that allegedly provides grants for project that find "solutions to children's health problems" (he also is the incoming president of NARTH and is among the leading advocates for the theory that people are not born gay); Arthur Goldberg, co-director of Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH) and Charlene Cothran, publisher of Venus Magazine who made news back in 2007 when she announced she was renouncing to her lesbianism and changing the content of Venus to reflect her new found anti-gay news.

On May 2nd, described Mr. Byrd's opening session presentation in which he promoted "sexual reorientation" therapies for gays who might want to leave their "lifestyle" claiming that he wasn't there to change all gays. The article says that it was the first time that Mexico City had seen a public presentation of the ideas put forth by NARTH. also says that there were both public presentations open to anyone and private ones for "specialists."

Organized by Renacer (Rebirth), an alleged "non-profit coalition," local panelists included members of Exodus Latin America - also based on a United States anti-gay organization - and the Mexican Association of Education on General Sexuality (AMESI).

There is a conference website that offers additional information on panelists and the program and ways to order DVD's of the presentations given. Surprisingly for a nonprofit, there is little information about just who makes up the Renacer board, where they get their funding or the deep involvement by US-based ex-gay promoters.

Makes me want to shout: Keep your hands off Latin America, NARTH! And to think that some say that homosexuality is exported to Latin America when, in fact, it's the United States anti-gay industry that is seeking to make inroads.

Previously: The Mexican church loves the gays but only if they stop having sex (August 31, 2007)

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