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« Cultivating sensuality in Tuscany: a retreat for gay men facilitated by John Ballew and Don Shewey | Main | Some thoughts on spirituality and anger »

February 22, 2006


John Ballew

For my part, I think "and the answer was yes" would be a lovely addition to a few of the billboards. I'm not interested in shouting people down, but I think we do a disservice to our community when we fear looking intolerant of those who oppose us.

African Americans and others aren't expected to tolerate the views of racists in the name of respecting other opinions. We've reached a consensus in American society that racism is not OK. Homophobia isn't OK either.

I understand your perception that the man pictured on the billboard is not the enemy. But so-called "ex-gay" ministries really *are* the enemy of LGBT mental and emotional health. For our community to show tolerance of this sort of thing isn't tolerance -- it's pusillanimity.

Good luck fighting this. I hope queer St. Louis finds the right mix of rage, humor and dignity to effectively stand up to this outrage.


Yes, some kind of reply would have been a better way to go. I still am concerned that the perception of vandalism feeds into the right wing media blitz, though.

It is true what you say about the ex-gay ministries, but I think we need to be careful not to condemn those seeking a spiritual solution. When they feel condemned by us for not accepting themselves easily, and/or not taking a different religious route, it's easier to write off LGBT religion as shallow. But when we can struggle with them, I think they'll be likelier to take acceptance seriously as an option.

And I'll definitely post after the weekend is up...


Yeah, I would favor LGBT groups (or supportive religious groups) paying to place their own billboards, instead of vandalising the FOTF ones.

Good question, though, about what I would do if they came to my area (and I've no doubt they will at some point in the future again). I think I would hope to do some kind of alternate event (I saw this elsewhere but can't remember where now) - I think "Love welcomes all" was what they called it. I would want to respond in the opposite spirit...not out of fear or anger or mistruths, but out of love (something FOTF and Exodus are usually sadly lacking).


There has now been a second vandalism to the signs, this one using words rather than paintball splatter:

"Right wing scum your time has come."

Productive? At least it rhymes.

Joe Perez

I think Christine's suggestion of paying to put up an opposing billboard is an excellent one. Law breaking, no.

John Ballew

Here in Georgia, Georgia Equality did it's own billboard campaign a year or so ago. It was called "We Are Your Neighbors." It was controversial -- probably especially so because it targetted the areas which had most heavily supported the anti-same-sex marriage amendment that passed in 2004. It showed GLBT people from all walks of life. One featuring a firefighter showed the guy in uniform, with a headline something like "I protect your home" and a tagline that said "...and I am gay." Same thing with teachers, EMTS and others.

We're engaged in a long, slow struggle to let others get to know us and stop being afraid of us. The struggle must be engaged everywhere, but places like Missouri and Georgia are, I think, especially important battle grounds.


I wasn't going to come to the conference, but decided to register and attend for one reason -- the vandalism and protest. If you all are so rabidly against a few ex-gays giving their viewpoint (inside a church at that!), and you even include Anne Heche's mother (one of the speakers) as a "hater", there is obviously something at this conference worth hearing. The gay community of St. Louis convinced me to go to this. Thanks!!!


Matt, I'm not convinced you're being serious (your comment may be satirical) but on the off chance you are, let me just say:
1. There is no "we" behind the vandalism, as I've noted. Most leaders in the LGBT community here have been angered by those actions.
2. We're not against the right of the LWO group to assemble. They're apparently not against our right, either--Pastor Gene Moniz of the EFree church said in the Post Dispatch that they'll have coffee and Porta-Potties ready for us.
3. I'm not sure where you got the term "hater" in connection with Nancy Heche's, but if you check out Anne Heche's website, you'll see she disavows her mother's actions (message board comments from a few months ago). The point of the assembly outside the church is to let people know there are options to reconciling spirituality with being gay--and there is misinformation inside parading as science.
4. Finally, go to the conference. Then read some literature from medical and psychological associations, reports from ex-ex-gays, and test these against what you hear. Make up your own mind.

No one I know will "hate" you for that.



I'd say, after the discussion at the organizing conference, that the paintballer/sloganeers were not at the conference at all, but more likely just furious and perhaps ethanolically fueled, perhaps teenaged.

Who knows? Maybe this Matt a few posts above was one of the afternoon teenaged male hecklers calling me bitch and cunt from a safe distance (I was leaving late, walking alone to a subdivision where I had parked, and was carrying a banner on two 6 foot poles - a really scary middleaged woman).


It looks like the billboard message was changed. It is posted at. I'd see a problem with this if it wasn't for the fact that the new message is what should have been up there in the first place. It is a positive message. also I like the fact that they obscured "right wing scum, your time has come" with the the rainbow flag.


ex gays are traitors, its like jewish nazis, they identify with the opressor. they stand in the way of our rights and our equality. and they give validation to they BS that the religious reich of amerikka spews. yes im a radical queer bitch from san francisco and damn proud of it.

were here were queer and were not gonna take this shit anymore

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