"Ex-Gays" | Film | News | Tennessee

Watch: Documentary About Tennessee 'Ex-Gay' Camp 'Love in Action' and Teen Zach Stark to Premiere


Those of you who have read Towleroad for six years may remember the story of Zach Stark, the teenager who made headlines back in June 2005 when he announced on his MySpace blog that he had told his parents he was gay and they were sending him to the Christian fundamentalist "ex-gay" therapy "Love in Action" camp in Memphis, Tennessee. Zach's story was followed closely that year through his release at the end of July.

A documentary about "Love in Action" will have its world premiere at Frameline 35 - the 35th Annual San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, this June.

Watch the trailer from the film, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. That story happened when I was in high school and was just coming to terms with my own orientation - became all of my worst nightmares of what coming out would be like, made manifest.

    If his old MySpace still exists it may have a message from me on it - possibly under one of the ridiculous pseudonyms I used back then...

    Posted by: Steve | May 2, 2011 8:32:59 PM

  2. I have a few friends who have, thankfully, survived many of these 'treatment facilities', two of whom were at "Love In Action"

    And what do they have to tell? Simple, it's the same in every camp:

    1. hammer home the idea that you will burn in Hell, for all eternity, if you do not work to end your "same-sex attractions."

    2. the statement that if you fail, and you are not 'cured', it's because you didn't work hard enough, and you've not let "Christ into your heart"

    3. bolstering the "knowledge" that your family and everyone you love will not merely be disappointed if you do not succeed in converting, but that you will be unloved. for the rest of your life.

    unloved in life and damned to hell for eternity.

    that's how these groups work.

    it's shameful.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | May 2, 2011 8:52:31 PM

  3. So what has happened to Zach? Does he think he's been changed?

    Posted by: marco | May 2, 2011 9:09:20 PM

  4. Religion is the worship of death and rigrously enforced denial of sexual pleasure.

    ALL religion.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 2, 2011 10:10:37 PM

  5. Marco, my understanding (and this may have changed) is that Zack considers himself straight with gay temptations.

    Posted by: Mike | May 2, 2011 10:54:38 PM

  6. "Straight with gay temptations"? Puh-leeze!

    Posted by: Gigi | May 2, 2011 11:30:31 PM

  7. I would like to see a follow up with Zack. I pray to the gods he's not stuck in that artificially made hell of shame and nonsense.

    Posted by: JeremyW | May 2, 2011 11:33:57 PM

  8. @Mike

    Thanks for the update.

    So sad to think that he has to repress his natural inclinations to please his "god".

    Unfortunately, there is another young man named, CJ, from a different documentary called "Out in the Silence" that now says he's straight too. It's such a shame too because he and his mother did so much to fight bigotry in his school system.

    Posted by: marco | May 3, 2011 12:13:01 AM

  9. Huh? I never heard that he was claiming to be straight. On the contrary, he went through their program, got out a few weeks later and then laid low to placate his parents. But I understood that he is now over 18 and out. I don't know him and what I read about him could be wrong, but if he really was presenting himself as a Love In Action success story, I don't think that the documentary filmmaker would center the film on him and I doubt that he would choose to participate.

    Posted by: Reg | May 3, 2011 12:33:48 AM

  10. There was a really early rough cut of this shown at The Evergreen State College back in 06 or so. I'm so glad to hear the film maker has brought it all together and is getting it shown. I remember having a ver visceral connection to zach when all this was going down. I too probably have myspace comments floating around out there that were quite impassioned.

    As for his conversion, I find that highly suspect. He never struck me as the kind of person who go baack in the closet, or if he did he wouldn't stay in for long, especially if he was no longer under his parents boot.

    Posted by: Brandon h | May 3, 2011 1:43:28 AM

  11. Best of luck to you, Zach, wherever you are.

    Posted by: N | May 3, 2011 4:40:49 AM

  12. Thanks a lot mate, that was very interesting documentary!

    Posted by: ペニス増大 | May 3, 2011 5:01:44 AM

  13. These organizations using Jesus to "cure the sin" of homosexuality are disgusting. I don't understand how they can operate legally under such a false pretense. I suppose, once again, they hide behind the word "religion" in order to do so much harm to people, especially young people. There outta be a law against these money-grubbing so-called conversation groups but doubt they'll ever be outlawed.

    Posted by: Rob | May 3, 2011 9:19:47 AM

  14. Wow. I've been reading Towleroad for six years.

    Posted by: kirkyo | May 3, 2011 10:05:52 AM

  15. These programs exploit the notion that for every problem there is a solution. "Parents! Is your child gay?! There's an app for that!"

    Posted by: anon | May 3, 2011 12:02:03 PM

  16. I am curious how this story turned out. But apparently after getting released from the program he kept a very low profile until he made an appearance in 2007 for the film-makers. I gather that is what is what will be in the documentary.

    And he still seems to want to keep a low profile. I am not sure if my curiosity needs to be quenched at the cost of his privacy.

    I happen to think there are people who are bisexual who can put aside their gay side and live life as a total heterosexual. And it is a shame that these people think everyone is like them. But I also think their sexual orientation has not changed. They are still bisexual.

    Posted by: Charlie | May 3, 2011 1:07:03 PM

  17. John Smid: another self-hating closet case.

    Posted by: Danny | May 3, 2011 6:49:48 PM

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