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"Love in Action"

HatefagA kid sent to a Tennessee-based religious organization's camp for gay kids has been thrust into the spotlight by posting the camp's rules, which amount to brainwashing, on his MySpace blog.

"Zach" writes, "Yeah, I was upset yesterday.. however I found an email about the rules and regulations of the program. My parents lied to me.. they told me (29th of May) that they didn't know what the rules were exactly, however, this email wasnt sent on the 26th of May. I see now why they 'didn't know what the rules were.' It's horrible.. they're posted below.. and I so worried. It's like boot camp... but worse. I obviously was not supposed to see this.. Seeing the bottom say "Parental Rules (not to be given to client)"

What is with these people...? Honestly.. how could you support a program like this? If I do come out straight I'll be so mentally unstable and depressed it wont matter.. I'll be back in therapy again. This is not good--"

The story has been picked up around the Internet on sites like Sploid and Janus Online, which comments, "Ex-gay programs, however misguided, are fine for consenting adults who for whatever reason think they want to change their sexual orientation (despite zero proof that it is even possible). This program is administered to minors against their will. It is forced indoctrination, including dehumanizing, degrading treatment."

While "Zach" has not posted since late May, there is an outpouring of support from commenters on his blog. It's also reassuring to see that the kid has a sense of his own oppression.

(thanks michael)

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  1. Zach is also getting a lot of support in the form of daily protests outside the gates of LIA's facility. The numbers of protesters is growing daily, from what I've read.
    This totally sickens me. To the point where I wish I could get my hands on the poor kid's parents and rip their lungs out.

    Posted by: kimmer | Jun 15, 2005 9:27:15 AM

  2. My personal favorite:

    1. Be honest, authentic, and real.

    Good advice for any situation...too bad the rank hypocrisy of the program prevents it from being fulfilled.

    Posted by: steve-o | Jun 15, 2005 9:57:21 AM

  3. I saw part of this kids blog, along with the rules over the weekend. My heart sank. I didn't realize there were places fucked-up parents could send their kids for brainwashing. I told someone, I wonder what happens if the kid pops a boner; a little electro-shock therapy? The head lunatic of this place was quoted as saying he'd rather a kid commit suicide than return to the gay lifestyle. WTF?!? I'd bet as an adult, he'll probably need some 'real' therapy. This is very wrong, on so many levels, and my heart aches for him and any other kid who gets sent to a place like this. The parents really need to have their heads examined.

    Posted by: Steve | Jun 15, 2005 10:18:02 AM

  4. my god. i thought that america was supposed to be the land of the free. isn't this shit supposed to be like, illegal? i thought such rubbish only happened in non-progressive countries, like maybe china or singapore. poor boy.

    Posted by: j. | Jun 15, 2005 10:29:39 AM

  5. This kid needs to be rescued from his sick, abusive parents, and placed in a safe, healthy, gay-positive home. The gay community needs to rally behind kids like and intervene.

    Posted by: John | Jun 15, 2005 10:30:11 AM

  6. This is just insanity put into action. Yeah, the kid needs to be rescued. Time for some oppressed super-heroes to step up and claim some justice for the kid. Where's Professor X and the X-men when you need them?

    Posted by: Darren | Jun 15, 2005 10:52:27 AM

  7. I just read his myspace..This is horrible, but it does not shock me. The radical christian people are crazy. They protest at people's funerals, for trials of gay bashers...They have zero compassion, and they really are not "christ like" at all. I wish that kid all the best, and hopefully he will manage to get the hell out of there, and his mother's control when he's old enough to!

    Posted by: Roy | Jun 15, 2005 10:54:26 AM

  8. This entire episode seems like the movie "Saved"...if you haven't seen it then you need to rent it, very very funny stuff even though it's adressing a serious subject.

    Poor Zach, and the rest of the anonymous kids who are locked up in this hole. I say we form a Towleroad Coalition and plan a rescue mission! How about it Colonel Andy?

    Posted by: Wayne | Jun 15, 2005 10:55:57 AM

  9. For starters we can bombard Love in Action (give me a break!) with e mails and phone calls telling these Nazis what we think of their so-called "Ministry."

    Posted by: kimmer | Jun 15, 2005 11:05:25 AM

  10. Holy Fuck.

    Hasn't he posted twice more since that post? Both on June 3rd?

    Posted by: Rob | Jun 15, 2005 11:16:36 AM

  11. This terrifies for two reasons.

    1. How will he survive being there?

    2. If he gets kicked out, will he survive at home?

    Posted by: Megan | Jun 15, 2005 11:26:55 AM

  12. "This includes listening to classical or instrumental music that is not expressly Christian (Beethoven, Bach, etc. are not considered Christian)."

    Bach isn't "considered Christian"? Johann Sebastian Bach? What the fuck? I mean, what the fucking fuck?!?

    Posted by: steve | Jun 15, 2005 1:06:46 PM

  13. Go to their website and send them email! They probably won't read it all, certainly won't believe it, but maybe we can bring their server down with traffic.

    Posted by: Wayne | Jun 15, 2005 1:08:13 PM

  14. If the prevailing interest of the State supported that "Amber-alert" siezure of that young girl with cancer in Texas; then it should apply here...send in the Marshals. The parents of all the camp's inmates should be investigated and prosecuted as needed for abuse. With parents that heartless, legal emanciptaion may be the only course of action.

    Posted by: Ted B. | Jun 15, 2005 1:32:19 PM

  15. I found the email of the Congressman for that district in Tennessee (the 9th). Harold Ford Jr. is his name and is his email address. He's a "Blue Dog" Democrat so he may not be interested in intervening, but it's worth a shot.

    Posted by: John | Jun 15, 2005 2:48:34 PM

  16. I did a lot of research on this type of stuff in law school and wrote a rather lengthy paper on it... I'd like to see Zach get a good lawyer and sue the camp for intentional infliction of emotional distress. They know they're inflicting damage on these kids, and they continue to do so. The legal theory is there to sue places like this out of existence and make a pretty strong statement in the process.

    Posted by: Dan | Jun 15, 2005 6:26:32 PM



    Posted by: Jaimie Mitchell | Jun 15, 2005 9:10:28 PM

  18. ok, not sure how to paste a link in this forum, but the site addy is above, and it doesnt take 2 seconds. again, thanks.

    Posted by: Jaimie Mitchell | Jun 15, 2005 9:13:01 PM

  19. I think the people who've done this to Zach are evil. Thanks, Jaimie, for the URL to the petition.

    Posted by: Giovanni | Jun 16, 2005 9:15:02 AM

  20. poor zach...
    what is the difference between a kristian konversion kamp and a the taleban training camps our boys and girls overseas are charged with destroying, anyway? Oh, that's right: one volunteers to be trained as a terrorist while Zach and his bunkmates are imprisoned against their will. Welcome to Amerikkka. Where do I line up for my pink triangle?

    Posted by: SODOMIGHT | Jun 16, 2005 6:01:24 PM

  21. "Men: Shirts are to be worn at all times, even while sleeping. T-shirts without sleeves are not permitted at any time,
    whether worn as an outer garment or an undergarment. This includes ³muscle shirts² or other tank-tops. Bikini-style underwear is prohibited.
    Women: Bras must be worn at all times, except while sleeping. Thong-style underwear is prohibited."

    So chicks can have them hangin out while they sleep, but guys cant even take their shirt off??

    Posted by: Marc | Jun 25, 2005 10:29:09 AM

  22. Commented a while back in the first flush of real anger I felt. Have now calmed down to a good healthy rage. Just finished reading thru the camp rules. has anyone noticed how all their camp rules stress how they want to modify the outward appearance of behavior, and nothing about how they seek to change the inner person? Of course, that leads to questions about the character of the person trying to enact the changes...and what are their qualifications for performing psychological services on minors anyway.

    Posted by: Paul | Jun 27, 2005 3:03:00 PM

  23. Sadly, it appears that yet another young man is the latest victim in the endless tale of punishments given gay and lesbian youth who defy superstitious bigotry to openly acknowledge their inborn natures.

    The case in Tennessee reinforces the need for campaigns with massive demonstrations to force our agenda for equality onto the national scene. Demoralization and apprehension in the GLBT communities were the upshot of the Republican-christian axis barrage of election related bigotry in the last year. Those attacks and incidents like the one in Tennessee highlight the unacceptably feeble laws and organizational tools available to protect us, and especially our youth, from being victimized as we grow and come to recognize and celebrate our genetic birthright. Our legal organizations should be convincingly encouraged to seek out and press lawsuits to punish and bankrupt groups like ‘Love In Action’, sadistic swine like Smid and the young man’s parents, who heedlessly put him in that snake pit. We don’t need more induced suicides or murders. Dan, who commented that legal grounds are available, has a good approach – the KKK was brought to its knees by lawsuits of the Southern Poverty Law Center,

    The idea that our lives are unpardonable or that we deserve cruelty is a priest/preacher driven predatory madness, a ruthless carryover of the barbaric superstition of the Dark Ages. Today it’s used by sociopathic bigots to shield themselves from justice for their violence and crimes. It hardly matters if that violence in inflicted in christian ‘reeducation’ snake pits, promulgated by popes, presidents or preachers, or delivered by the fists, knives, hammers or boots of christian thugs; all the bigots and all the thugs should be brought to court and made to pay.

    The christian cults scapegoat us to counteract their waning influence, and divert interest from child rape scandals, etc., the Republicans to draw attention away from their illegal war and plunging polls, and the Democrats to blame us for election losses. The Democrats, who in any case cannot find, much less uphold principles, are retreating from us as fast as they can thus maintaining their 200 year tradition of backstabbing after reeling in the votes. (They'll be back - like locusts, they return regularly to feed.)

    This ugly bigotry metastasizes into hostility and then abuse, giving the green light to ‘hands on’ thugs who get off on violence. According to GLSEN, 84% of gay and lesbian high school students’ endure regular verbal harassment while 40% are physically harassed. An April 2005 report of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs indicates growing violence, with a 4% overall increase in anti-LGBT violence, rising from 1,720 in 2003 to 1,792 in 2004. Murders and lynchings rose from 18 in 2003 to 20 in 2004. Total victims rose 4%, from 2,042 in 2003 to 2,131 in 2004. (Keep in mind that the NCAVP’s tallies are indicative but hardly complete because of unreported or misleading information.)

    Whatever the numbers this violence is inexcusable and intolerable. We should launch campaigns and build demonstrations demanding legislation guaranteeing that those who provoke bigotry and violence are jailed along with their thugs. We hold the moral high ground and ought to firmly plant ourselves on it, claiming our full rights as citizens. Recalling how bigoted ‘racial purity’ laws were used from 1933-1945 by an earlier religious-political axis, the Nazis, as a prelude to mass murder, anything less than winning full equality puts us in with the sharks.

    Unfortunately, many in our communities approach this problem trusting in the benevolence of the Democrats to rescue victims like the young man in Tennessee. That’s a recklessly naive view of American politics. We have zero reasons to adopt a hopeful, responsive attitude towards the two major political parties. A levelheaded look at both Democrats and the christian-Republican axis exposes their real agenda. What’s key for both is their stock in trade and sole product – elected offices they then sell and trade for money or privilege. It’s all about winning elections, brokering influence, and currying favor with the rich and powerful. The plain truth is that the leaders and owners of both parties are irredeemably corrupt and venal. They don’t think twice if graft money or privileges are up for grabs, betraying promises faster than you can say “lobbyist bearing brimming briefcase bursting with big bucks.”

    Irrespective of platform language, neither party supports or legislates full equality. Democrats approved ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and Bill Clinton cheerfully signed the federal anti same-sex marriage law. Kerry caved on same-sex marriage, emboldening our enemies and confusing our allies. Michigan Democrats betrayed us, stealing negotiated union benefits from gay families. In Montana, many of them voted to defeat a much needed state anti-bias law and in Minnesota they insured the victory of the anti-gay marriage amendment in the House. In the California Assembly, 25% of them voted to defeat a bill to legalize same sex marriage. In Indianapolis they recently defeated a municipal anti-discrimination law, because it would 'cost too much' for businesses. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. They’re accomplished phonies who’ll promising anything to anyone but after the election, watch your backs..

    Democrats lost because they consistently betray their constituents - they’re closet Republicans with the wrong answers to everyone’s big political questions. They’d have steamrollered the election campaigning for immediate and total withdrawal from Iraq, embracing trade union programs
    and full rights for ourselves, immigrants, women, and minorities and by promising to curb the voracious greed of corporations and punishing racist and homophobic slanders with jail time. But they didn’t. They never will - it would 'cost too much'.

    For a hundred and forty years, since Lincoln’s reelection, the American people have been sullenly cynical about elections, candidates and politics. Force fed one 'lesser evil’ after another it’s not surprising that vast numbers of us can’t stomach these dismal frauds. Why should we?

    There are productive alternatives to careless, sterile reliance on the charity of Democrats and Republicans.
    It’s okay to claim full equality from them but self defeating to depend on their benevolence. Throughout American history, from Sam Adams time day to today’s battles the only sure way to success has been campaigns of mass mobilization utilizing cutting edge political demands. That’s what freed us from English imperial rule, broke the back of slavery, got votes for women, crashed through the power of the rich to build unions; it was used by the civil rights movement and insured a successful end to the American invasion of Vietnam. Fertile alternatives to the barren wastefulness of reliance on the two major parties are the union backed Labor Party, or supporting independent African American politics, a major agenda item for the 1500 delegates at the convention of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. Their sites are and A concentration on building organizations to campaign and mobilize our communities and allies to fight for full equality is the next step we need to take.

    Posted by: Bill | Jul 2, 2005 7:37:36 PM

  24. Having been at Love in Action some years back and attending there program all I can say is His Parents did whats best for him.. sorry he can see that at the moment...

    Posted by: Ian | Jul 20, 2005 4:58:17 PM

  25. WTF!!! People must truly be demented to send their kid to a place like this! Just because they are gay bi or les or anything doesn't mean they should take away the uniqueness of their kid! It takes alot of guts to come out to the people you love and then for them to send you away for it just because they don't like it! Sorry to say but it doesn't seem like they love you if they send you away! Yea they may want whats best but how do they know sending him away was best?

    Posted by: Tina | Jul 23, 2005 6:21:13 PM

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