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'Gay-cure' group apologizes, quits, but will it repair damage?

ExodusIntl logoYesterday, the largest and oldest “gay-cure” group, Exodus International, issued a public apology for their bogus therapy and the immeasurable harm it caused to millions of LGBT worldwide.

Today they announced that after 37 years of damaging the lives of LGBT, they have decided to shut down.

Last year Dennis Jernigan, the former Vice-Chair of Exodus, visited Jamaica. He was the guest of the rabid homophobe Dr. Wayne West and the anti-gay group Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS). Jernigan bragged to the viciously bigoted Jamaica Observer (owned by Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart of Sandals Resorts) that he was cured of his homosexuality because he is now married and has 9 kids.

He of course made no distinction between sexual BEHAVIOR and sexual ORIENTATION. So, the fact that he has 9 kids only means he had sex with his wife at least 9 times. BUT we don’t know if he was thinking ABOUT his wife while he was making love to her. For all we know, his mind could have been on another man during the whole experience.

Dennis Jernigan
Dennis Jernigan

Jernigan also expressed support for JCHS, which champions Jamaica’s anti-sodomy law. This law sentences consenting adult men to ten years in prison at hard labour for their private acts of intimacy. The JCHS is now seeking to be a party to the first-ever domestic challenge to the law, which is scheduled to be heard on June 25.

As a result of the serious harm Jernigan was causing to many LGBT Jamaicans who, like me, believed the LIE that we could be cured of our homosexuality, I decided to give the Observer my own account. I told of the misery, anguish and ultimate failure I experienced from following this deceptive “cure” and the devastating impact on my family life, including my traumatic divorce. (“I tried not to be gay by getting married — Tomlinson”)

However, Jernigan’s lying tale was published in at least 5 installments in the Observer while my story was published only once.

Jernigan subsequently resigned from Exodus’ board after a public outcry about his hurtful actions in Jamaica.

Exodus also published an apology ON THEIR WEBSITE for the fact that Jernigan had contributed to Jamaica’s infamous homophobia. However NO apology was published in the Observer.

So, pardon me if find Exodus’ latest apology hollow. If they were TRULY sorry for the harm they have caused in Jamaica, they should pay to run full paid ads in the Observer saying they do not support the country’s anti-sodomy law AND that, in fact, gays cannot be cured.

I certainly hope the JCHS will NOT seek to introduce bogus evidence that homosexuality is curable. Their former ally Exodus clearly no longer thinks so.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.


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