“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)


  1. kimmer says

    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.

  2. steve-o says

    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.

  3. says

    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.

  4. j. says

    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.

  5. John says

    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.

  6. Darren says

    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?

  7. says

    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!

  8. Wayne says

    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?

  9. steve says

    “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?!?

  10. Wayne says

    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.

  11. Ted B. says

    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.

  12. says

    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.

  13. says

    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?

  14. Marc says

    “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??

  15. Paul says

    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.

  16. Bill says

    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, http://www.splcenter.org.

    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 http://www.cbtu.org and http://www.thelaborparty.org. 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.

  17. Ian says

    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…

  18. Tina says

    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?

  19. Michele says

    To the parents of Zach: How will you feel when Zach comes out (no pun) of this “therapy camp” PRETENDING to be someone he’s not, goes through life so depressed at not being able to BE HIMSELF and decides to take himself out? How will you feel then? I’m sure you’ll be needing some type of therapy then, huh?
    Go back to school and get out the “new and improved” biology books. Realize that homosexuality is IN THE GENES! It is NOT a chosen behavior! If you must, think of it as a type of birth defect, that he didn’t get the “normal straight genes”, he received the homosexual ones. (No offense to gays! Please!) Would you not love and accept your child had he been born with no arms?
    No, I’m not gay, but having many gay friends I do keep up with what’s real. Obviously, they’re more real than you are.

  20. molly says

    Excuse me, but I am one of the so called Christain mothers that you are all bashing. It sounds to me like you are doing the same thing to us as you say we do to you. HOw dare you stereotype all Christians? I do not bash you but you bash me. Hey, how would you like your early 20’s son to move 3000 miles away from you and move in with a man older than his parent? It that is not pedaphilia i do not know what is. Any answers?

  21. John says

    You’re right, Holly. You have no idea what “pedaphilia” is. Someone in their early 20’s cannot be a victim of pedophilia because, you see, they are no longer a child. Lots of people, gay and straight, get married to other people much older than they are. Because of the way society treats homosexuals, many young homosexuals are left extremely emotionally scarred. It makes it very hard to keep up a stable relationship with such heavy psychological problems. That is why some homosexuals look for older partners: they tend to be better adjusted, less likely to be involved in drugs, more financially stable, etc. It is strange side-effect of the treatment our community gets that could easily be remedied by simply being able to trust mothers like yourself to help defend us and help end gay oppression in our society. If you could help us with that, perhaps your early 20’s son could find someone his age around his own neighborhood. Either way, though, the world is smaller than it used to be due to the airplane and the internet. Sometimes people fall in love with people who live far away. I totally understand why any parent would not want their child to be so far away from them, but it has nothing to do with homosexuality.

    If you want to be a good mother and keep your son nearby, help him look for a stable, well-rounded guy his age. I, myself, would much rather bring someone home to meet my parents who is my age and in a roughly similar class. I have a twin sister who has just enough of a hard time finding someone worthy among heterosxual boys. Gay boys tend to have even more issues, due to severe mental trauma of living in a society that treats us like monsters. I am sorry if anyone here made you feel “bashed”. But I hope that you take to the time to really truly imagine what it feels like to know something so deeply about yourself and, yet, have the world hate you and blame you for it. It’s terrible. I don’t think you’d fully understand unless you could actually live through it. I am going to assume that you actually have an early 20’s son, because it sounds like you are coming from a place of threatened confusion about someone close to you on this. My answer: love him. Help him look for someone his age. Realize that God has given him the chance to live a life less ordinary. Realize that God has made him gay to teach you something about humanity. He wants nothing more than for his mother to be proud of him and to support him. His attraction to other boys is something absolutely at his core: he only knows the color of eyes with the aid of a mirror; he only knows his name because that is what people call him; but he knows he is homosexual because he just is.

    I thank you for your bravery in trying to understand. Many of us fight extremely depressing thoughts of suicide on a daily basis because society does not understand us. The best and only thing for us is to find ourselves valid partners in this life experience. Someone to love.

    The organized and overwhelming anti-gay environment in American society is true bashing. Those who spout anger about religion and parents tend to have been very hurt by them and I hope they can find peace.

  22. says

    To Holly:

    The age difference between your 20 something son and his lover is NOT pedophilia, if he were still under the age of consent (18 where I come from) then yeah it would be. Maybe your son moved to get away from his over-bearing and non-understanding parents? That’s what I did…
    And yeah, the guy I moved in with was older than me.

    But maybe I wouldn’t have moved out had my folks not fought all the time, been super over-bearing, and if I’d lived in a more tolerant area. I traded red-necky and restrictive Ironton Ohio for interesting and limitless Seattle, Washington. And I sure as hell wasn’t gunna keep living with mommy and daddy way into my 30’s. =P

  23. Blaze_Foxxie says

    Again to Holly:

    Bashing? Well ya see honey, you and your stuffed shirt fundie buddies are the majority, and us prissy homos are the minority. Just as blacks were the minority in the 50’s, and blacks didn’t like being called the N-word all the time, so they came up with words like “honkey” and “cracker.” Us gays don’t like being called “fags” all the time so we came up with words like “breeder.”

    Not all white people are the same though, and not all christians are the same either. But UNTIL you actively show some disapproval of the KKK and Pat Robertson we just lump you in with the other zealots.

    Remember all the anti mixed marriage laws imposed by white christians? Throughout history there’s always been some group opressing another, usually in the name of God or some other invisble entity. And it usually takes 20-30 years of social reform to make it all into crap we’ll look back on via The History Channel.

    30 years from now when being gay is as common and tolerated as being black, people like Fred Phelps and John Smid will be as laughable as the Nazis or Ku Klux Klan. Like, damn… those guys were morons, eh?

    Sordid Tales, reincarnation of fascists.

  24. MOLLY says


  25. John says

    Thank you Molly (I thought it was “Holly”, earlier – bad fonts on this site). I hope you can understand where anger at Christianity comes from. As a gay Christian, it angers and hurts me deeply that people use Jesus’ name to attack gays, give money to super-rich people, and engage in mass-murder (oh, excuse me, “justifiable war”).

    It is the well-meaning Christians like yourself that get caught in the middle. The political party in charge of this country uses your fear and confusion against you in order to fully violate Jesus Christ’s teachings. That is why people on the left are sick and tired of religion being spouted in every corner of America: because they see it as hypocritical and dangerous. This political party took one valid theological complaint (abortion), mixed it with several non-valid concerns (gay rights? swearing? videogame violence? steroids in baseball? flag burning?) and used it to get Christians to sign off on:

    * Divorce
    * Government-supported rape in prisons
    * Mass-Murder (War)
    * Taking money from the poor and giving it to the rich
    * Racism – Karl Rove spread rumours about McCain’s “Black Baby” to scare red-state voters away
    * Silencing people of faith (Christians who follow Jesus’s beatitudes, rather than the strange militant capitalist Jesus of America)
    * Increase in loss of Health Care for less wealthy families
    * Bearing false witness against one’s neighbor (spreading outrageous lies about gay people and anyone else who doesn’t agree with them politically)

    We live in the richest country in the world, so totally drenched in God’s blessings, and we are still worried about how the inimical liberal chimera, “The Left”, is just ruining America with too much freedom and too much giving to the poor? When there is a church, mosque, or temple on almost every single block in America, some of which are 10,000 seat mega-churches, how is it that homelessness and poverty still exist?

    The minute any person in America tries to stick up for the lonely, the disowned, the poor…they are shouted down by the bullies of tyrannical religious right. Then these bullies infuse their congregations with hateful rhetoric, comparing the love between two people of the same sex to beastiality, incest, and murder. Their followers, in turn, spread this rhetoric and it does nothing more than rob people of their own religion. Meanwhile, the pastors of these mega-churches, satisfied to have attacked other human beings with one quote from the bible while fully ignoring everything about pork and the charging of interest, slink back to their mansions to write articles scolding financially disadvantaged women for seeking vocational parity with men.

    Gay people continue to be painted as selfish hedonists who only care about “what feels good”, like we don’t know the difference between buying something and stealing it; between committed love and promiscuity. There is a difference between all of these things and we are just trying to make that clear, but we are being shouted down by people who proclaim one set of values for others and another for themselves.

    Modern Christianity has gotten away from its roots and turned into a corrupted hate machine. People wonder how Arabic society went from being the most technologically advanced society on the planet to seething pit of hatred. It’s because the people allowed their religious leaders to play on the basest of their prejudices and fears. It happened gradually, but eventually scripture became the law of the land. The problem is that scripture contains a lot of nastiness in addition to the good. That nastiness became instituted as Sharia, wherein people who are raped can get the death penalty. It all started as an attack on freedom: of speech, of sexuality, of association. The same thing can happen in America and there is a group of people who would like to stop that from happening. Unfortunately, we are being governed by a vile group of warmongering profiteers who seek only to divide us by our basest instincts into warring factions. The absolute irony of it all, is that they’ve managed to put a Jesus Christ halloween mask on top of it all.

  26. Dark Halo says

    How come that if you have a religion you have a ‘god-given’ right to be nasty to people? Any stereo-type or pre-judgement of homosexuals stem from that one book in the western world. Any homophobia whether the person is religious or not their phobia will stem from that book telling everyone that it is sick and wrong. I would love to see the success rates of these places. They probably have one satisfied customer who is in a forced marriage with a member of the opposite sex and is hoping to, after twelve years, start baginning sexual relations any day soon. I feel for the poor guy.

  27. Jeremy Saenz says

    All I know is that the things I have learned after spending 6 months at Love in Action have saved my life. I would not trade the experience for the world. I choose to live a God honoring life no matter what my “feelings” are telling me. Scrpiture is very clear on what it says about this issue. Are my attractions gone? No, but I know that I can choose righteousness over lust. That’s what I do everyday. It is not easy, in fact it’s the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. I did not choose to have the attractions or desires, but I can choose what I am going to do with them. To me and my faith, it is worth it. The pain is worth the reward. Take it as you will… I know that my life counts.

  28. Fritz says

    Jeremy…I dont see how one could be some one that they are not all because the beliefs of a certain group of people. Youre saying that you’d rather people fake their happiness their passion and their love? You rather that they go through life with pain just because they think God wont acceot them? Let me tell you something, If God is that judgemental and God is so unforgiving and if God doesnt understand, then maybe the gay population is better off not goping to heaven… Im not gay but i know if Gods like that Id rather not go to heaven either. So you go ahead and watch it rip apart human souls and hurt your own. I hope you enjoy knowing how fake you have made yourself, how FAKE you wish every gay to be. And if you have urges, does that not still make you gay?

  29. ryan thompson says

    my parents have bombarded me with this shit for the last year and im leaving monday morning to go to love in action in memphis. i hope its not as bad as it seems from this stuff. im worried..

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