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Virginia Bill Banning Conversion Therapy for Minors Dies in Senate Committee

Shurka
(screenshot)

Sad news out of Virginia today as a bill that would have banned harmful conversion therapy to minors in the state was killed by a Senate committee, the Washington Blade reports:

Members of the Senate Education and Health Committee by a 7-8 vote margin tabled Senate Bill 988 that state Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) introduced on Jan. 12.

“It is extremely disappointing that our lawmakers cannot come together in support of a bill that would protect Virginia’s LGBT youth,” said James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, in a statement. “We cannot continue to allow our youth to be put through this so-called ‘treatment’ that can cause depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior. At best, allowing this harmful treatment on our youth is irresponsible, and at worse, it could contribute to the unthinkable.”

The House Health, Welfare and Institutions Subcommittee earlier in the day heard testimony for and against House Bill 1385, an identical measure that state Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington County) introduced last month.

“Homosexuality is not a disease or a disorder,” said Parrish. “Prohibiting any health care provider from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with any person under 18 years of age is necessary to protect our youth as they come to terms with who they are.”

Mathew Shurka, who underwent “conversion therapy” in Virginia and three other states for five years, testified in support of HB 1385 and SB 988.

“This is about protecting children,” Shurka told the Washington Blade.

Shurka said some members of the commitee appeared uncomfortable with his testimony, rolling their eyes and giving him no acknowledgment during his speech. 


James Franco, Zachary Quinto, and Charlie Carver's Sex Scene Revealed in New 'I Am Michael' Photos

Michael

A set of new stills from the upcoming film I Am Michael, about former gay rights activist turned "ex-gay" poster boy Michael Glatze and starring James Franco, Zachary Quinto, and Charlie Carver, gives us the first look at a three-way sex scene between the actors as well as other key moments.

Franco plays Glatze while Quinto plays his then boyfriend Bennett. The duo bed Carver's character in a club, according to a November report from E!:

"They first meet in a club. The music is pumping. It's the eighties!" a source said. "When Charlie's character questions Franco about having a boyfriend, Franco says, 'He'd like you, too.'"

Cut to the bedroom, where the three are naked, intertwined and "kissing," the source said. "You see their asses." [...]

The three enjoy a romance, but when Michael leaves, the breakup is "disastrous and heartbreaking," the source said.

The film, produced by Gus van Sant, is premiering at Sundance. It's based on the Benoit Denizet-Lewis NYT article "My Ex-Gay Friend". Denizet-Lewis is a co-producer on the film. The film is directed by Justin Kelly.

Additional stills show the main characters at a rave party, Carver and Quinto together, Franco alone and despondent in what appears to be a tiled bathroom, Franco and Quinto kissing, and Franco embracing Emma Roberts.

Check them out, AFTER THE JUMP...

6_michael

Continue reading "James Franco, Zachary Quinto, and Charlie Carver's Sex Scene Revealed in New 'I Am Michael' Photos" »


Virginia Introduces Bill Banning Conversion Therapy For Minors

Conversion Therapy protest

Conversion therapy has been proven time and again to not only be ineffectual in changing an individual's sexual orientation from gay to straight, a sentiment even endorsed by former "ex-gay" leaders, but is instead likely to be harmful, particularly to minors. As this truth has permeated through society, state after state has begun introducing bans on the quackery, forbidding it to be administered to minors. Legislators in Virginia are joining the movement with the introduction of a bill today that - much like in New Jersey, Illinois, and California - forbids enrolling minors in conversion therapy.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights issued a statement on the proposed bill:

“Today, more than ever, it is clear that state legislatures need to step up to the plate to protect LGBT youth from the dangerous and discredited practices of conversion therapy,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights Staff Attorney and #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator Samantha Ames. “We commend Delegate Hope and Senator Lucas, as well all the local organizers who have worked tirelessly to get this bill introduced and ensure all Virginian children are able to grow up in communities and families where they are loved for exactly who they are.”

A similar bill failed to pass in the state House last year, so Delegate Patrick Hope and Senator Louise Lucas may have a fight ahead of them to get this one through.


Illinois Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Ban Harmful Gay 'Conversion Therapy' for Minors

LGBT advocates in Illinois today announced plans to launch an initiative intended to facilitate passage of a bill introduced on Friday in the General Assembly which would ban gay "conversion therapy" for minors, Equality Illinois reports:

CassidyState Rep. Kelly Cassidy (pictured) of Chicago introduced the bill on Friday. House Bill 217, the Conversion Therapy Prohibition Act, would make it illegal for mental health care providers to engage in sexual orientation change efforts with anyone under the age of 18. A Senate version will be introduced soon, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston.

“Illinois should be at the forefront of banning this failed and discredited non-therapy that attempts to change the unchangeable, our innate sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest civil rights organization advocating for LGBT Illinoisans.

“It is tragic,” said Rep. Cassidy, “that LGBT youth suffer at the hands of so-called experts whose therapies have been refuted by every legitimate medical and mental health organization. That is why my bill would label the therapy as ‘unprofessional conduct’ and subject the perpetrator to disciplinary action.”

Bans on so-called "conversion therapy" have been passed in D.C., New Jersey, and California. An effort to pass one in New York state failed last June after GOP leaders blocked the bill from coming to the floor for a vote.


Former Exodus International VP Comes Out As Gay: 'I Am OK With Who I Am'

Randy Thomas

In another case for the "Well OBVIOUSLY" files, former vice-president of ex-gay group Exodus International Randy Thomas has come out of the closet. In a post on his personal blog, Thomas makes it explicit:

I have read many stories of people who have “come out again” or accepted they are gay after some time in the ex-gay world. Many of their stories are compelling and well-written. But, sometimes I wish they would get to the point right off the bat. Just say it and then tell the story. So that is what I am going to do: I am gay.

The rest of the post goes into the story of where he's been and how he got to where he is today, with religion occupying a substantial part of his psyche. To his credit, he has made public apologies for the hurt that he and Exodus International have inflicted upon the gay community, and for initially opposing gay marriage.

Whether one accepts or rejects said apologies, another ally is always welcome - especially one that further undermines the "ex-gay" myth - and they at least put Thomas leagues ahead of some "ex-gay" wacakadoos.


Company To Take Down Ex-Gay Therapy Billboard In Dallas, Says It Was Misled By Advertiser

Billboard

The president of the advertising company that's hosting an "ex-gay" therapy billboard in Dallas says the company was misled about the nature of the sign or he wouldn't have allowed it to go up.  

Yesterday Towleroad broke the story about the billboard ad paid for by David Pickup, a well-known practitioner of ex-gay therapy in Dallas — and one of the authors of a plank endorsing reparative therapy in the Texas GOP platform. 

Terry Kafka, president of Impact Outdoor Advertising, told Towleroad on Wednesday that Pickup led the company's sales manager to believe the billboard was an advertisement for couples therapy. Kafka said he hadn't even heard of reparative therapy until he began getting complaints about the billboard on Wednesday. 

"We were misinformed," Kafka said. "I'm not a proponent of it. I'm not on that bandwagon. When we have a controversial advertisement, we always discuss it internally, and we didn't even discuss it because our sales person was under the impression it was for couples therapy." 

Kafka said the sign has been up for two-and-a-half weeks and was scheduled to come down Jan. 26 anyway. 

"We're going to attempt to get it down sooner but that's the worse-case scenario," Kafka said, adding that he will not renew the contract or lease billboard space to Pickup again. 

"I have no interest in promoting that," Kafka said. "I have no interest in doing business with him." 

Pickup refused to address Kafka's allegations.  

"I can't comment on that, because nobody contacted me from the company," Pickup said. "I thought that the main thing this sign would do was raise awareness for those people who really want and need this therapy." 

Pickup would not say whether the billboard has generated new business. Asked whether he expected it to be controversial, he said, "I wasn't certain what would happen." 

If you'd like to thank Kafka for his decision, send them an email through the form here.  


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