Last week, Newsweek published two full-length stories on the so-called "ex-gay" movement's decline. One story, titled "Ex-Ex-Gay Pride," highlighted former "ex-gay" activist, John Paulk, who last year renounced the "ex-gay" movement and his involvement with it. The second story, "Never Scared Straight," told the story of Mathew Shurka, who went through attempts to change his sexual orientation, and is now a vocal critic of the dangerous practice.
These two stories contrast quite a bit with the statements of the new owner of Newsweek. Johnathan Davis, who along with business partner Etienne Uzac now owns Newsweek magazine, took to his Facebook page back in February of last year to lend support to professional "ex-gay" activist Christopher Doyle. Davis stated that Doyle's work to convince readers that everything we know about the modern LGBT rights movement and our scientific support is actually deception "cuts like a hot knife through a buttery block of lies.” The Guardian asked Davis about his statements on "ex-gay" programs, when they were first revealed:
When asked if he believed that gay people could be cured, Davis said: “Whether I do or not, I’m not sure how that has any bearing on my capacity here as the founder of the company. I’m not sure how it’s relevant. People believe all sorts of weird things. But from a professional capacity, it’s unrelated.” The post was then removed from his Facebook page.
The two articles seem to imply that the editorial direction of the magazine is not going to be influenced by the anti-LGBT statements of the new owner, and it is possible that a critical eye will continue to be cast on the dangers of the so-called "ex-gay" movement.
Mathew Shurka is now involved in efforts for New York State to ban dangerous "ex-gay" therapy for minors. On April 29, he spoke to New York lawmakers in Albany about the harms of such therapy, and he'll testify again on May 15 in New York City. He continues to tell his story of his "ex-gay" experience and advocate that such practices be blocked for those who are under 18 years of age.
John Paulk continues to live a quiet life outside of the media spotlight, a wish he expressed a year ago when he came out as gay and renounced his involvement in the "ex-gay" movement. He has divorced his wife, Ann, who remains a leading anti-LGBT activist and proponent of "ex-gay" therapy.
Both Newsweek articles are a very good examination of what has happened to the "ex-gay" movement over the course of the last several years, and many of the key players. They are worth a read. GLAAD will continue to ensure that journalists know all the facts about ex-gay programs, and hear from those who have been harmed by such dangerous practices.