DOMESTIC VIOLENCE | CHILD ABUSE
Pix Rev. John Smid from a televised news conference 6/19/05Angrily calling a kid a "faggot" is verbal abuse
| Essentially, this is what Zach's Blog
describes in his distress about what his biological family has done to him | Oh, they might not have used the exact word, but you can be sure the sentiment was there | For it is intent of his family
to humiliate, embarass, shame Zach into "changing" into whatever it is they feel comfortable with [presumed heterosexual], not to help him cope with what, or how, he finds himself to be [self-identified as gay]
To people who are unfamiliar with Zach's story, Zach is 16. Zach's blog is where he chronicled what life is like in the closet at 16 | Zach came out to his parents after much debate on his blog |
Zach's parents' response to coming out [at age 16] was to have him placed in an "reparative therapy" institution [ironically named Love in Action
and run by an "ex-gay" man, John Smid who [according to LIA's website "...left his homosexual lifestyle in 1984
"] LIA purports to be a ministry dedicated to combating "Satanist practices" but seems focus primarily on working with people who identify as gay | His parents whisked him away to this "ex-gay" camp, against his will | As of 6 June 2005 Zach was scheduled to be entered into LIA's "Refuge" Program | Zach remained ambivalent about this at best
| He is not 'choosing' an ex-gay life, it is being forced upon him | The "Refuge Center" has already asked him this:
Attendance in the program does not comes free | People in the "Refuge" program pay for the Refuge 2-Week Program $2,000
and $4,500 for the six week extension program | Applicants, [or, in Zach's case, his parents consent] must fill out a detailed entry form
before being accepted into the program that asks a wide range of information about you [typical of an inpatient program, I'll give it that] and applicants are required to sign off on a liability disclaimer that seems particularly curious, holding harmless the program in the event of "any risks attendant thereto
" by taking part in the Refuge
experience ...I'm wondering if this applies to suicide attempts while enrolled | The disclaimer reads as follows:
I am aware that this program is not a substitute for psychiatric treatment, psychotherapy, or professional therapeutic counseling.
I am voluntarily participating in the activities of Refuge with full knowledge of the facts stated herein, and I hereby agree to accept complete responsibility for my own psychological, mental, and emotional well-being, as well as any and all risks attendant thereto.
As consideration for being permitted by Refuge, or one of its affiliated organizations, to participate in their activities, I hereby agree that I, my heirs, assigns, guardians, administrators, executors, legal representatives, and the like will not make any claim against, sue, or seek to attach the property of Refuge, or any of its affiliated organizations, as a result of these activities or the negligence, or other acts, of any nature whatsoever, however caused, by any employee, agent, officer, director, participant, or any other person or entity that might be claimed to be liable to me as a result of my participation in this program.
I've got to wonder about any
program that exempts its staff from legal action as a result of being in some form of therapy | This would not be allowed in a certified mental health program, why would this be the case in one claiming to be based on spiritual principles | Again, I wonder, has anyone who has "graduated" from the LIA program committed suicide afterwards? | Frankly I wouldn't be surprised though I wonder who keeps the statistics on organizations such as this one |
I suppose I was fortunate that coercive treatment centers such as these were not as easy to locate when I was a kid | Sure, I was in a "home for emotionally disturbed children
" [the parlance of the day], run by a large, Christain evangelical religious organization where, ironically, at the age of 9, I first learned about sex acts and male-male sex contact in particular | I spent time attending some sort of counseling when I was an adolescent at "bad boys school" [street parlance] again, sex was ~if not prevalent~ certainly readily available | Seems to me that only the focus has changed for Zach | Instead of the "counselors" casually joking about "fudge packers" [the bad boys school, is that a technical term?] we have a place run by a man, John Smid, avowed ex-gay, obsessed with his own sexual demons and claiming to "cure" gay kids of their sexual orientation | That, too, is child abuse | It is none other than Psychological warfare on impressionable children ...and what, exactly are the anti-gay faux-religicos accusing gay people of doing? Recruiting is it?
There have been protesters concerned for Zach's well-being
outside the Refuge Center and they won't go away until Zach gets to speak |
My prayers are going for Zach to get through this in one piece and not too damaged either psychologically or spiritually | Most likely, when it's over, Zach [and others like him] will have to learn what it takes to survive the ex-gay movement