Monday, June 13, 2005

Local groups offer competing message for Gays

Focus on the Family will bring its message that there is "a way out of the homosexual life" to Northshore Baptist Church in Bothell as the regions lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community gather for "gay Pride" weekend. However, local groups are planning their own conference to send a different message: Your fine just the way you are!

The Parents Family & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG), the Pacific NW Reconciling Ministries and the Religious Coalition for Equality will host, Love Welcomes All, at Newport Presbyterian Church in Bellevue on Saturday, July 9. The event will include experts on the harmful effects of "reparative therapy," parents of LGBT people who have struggled with the issue, and a former "ex-Gay" man.

A couple of the notable speakers include:

• Douglas C. Haldeman, Ph.D., a counseling psychologist and a member of the clinical faculty at the University of Washington's Psychology Department. He is also the current President of the Association of Practicing Psychologists, and a the recipient of a 2005 American Psychological Association's Presidential Citation in recognition of his work on behalf of LGBT psychology. Haldeman co-authored the APA's "Guidelines for Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Clients" as well as the organization's "Resolution on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation."

• Ron Poindexter is a former "ex-Gay" man who reconciled his evangelical Christian faith and his sexual orientation after seven years of "ex-Gay ministries" and "reparative therapy." He holds a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological

Mainstream medical and psychological organizations have condemned therapy methods that claim to change a person's sexual orientation. On its website, the American Psychological Association states: "Even though most homosexuals live successful, happy lives, some homosexual or Bisexual people may seek to change their sexual orientation through therapy, sometimes pressured by the influence of family members or religious groups to try and do so. The reality is that homosexuality is not an illness. It does not require treatment and is not changeable."

For more information about the Love Welcomes All conference or to register, visit or call Bellevue PFLAG at 206-325-7724.

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