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Homophobia Met Head On

by Dan Waterhouse
Local activists carry a message to Focus On The Family event that there are differing viewpoints.
The Fresno queer community met homophobia and hate rhetoric head on Saturday. The Focus On the Family’s ‘Love Won Out’ conference at Peoples Church on Nov. 6th was greeted by members of Fresno’s queer and straight-ally communities protesting their anti-gay message.

From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., at least 50 picketers manned posts at the church driveways, passing out pamphlets to conference attendees and letting them know there are differing views. Estimates were as many as 120 people participated at various times throughout the day.

"We’re not protesting the right of people attending to believe the way they do," protest organizer Robin McGehee said. "We just want them to know there’s a different view."

Conference presenters claim such views as "there’s an emotional source of homosexuality that occurs at 2 or 3 years of age." One woman who attended the conference claimed to have been shown "the truth" by the church about her lesbian partner. She said the conference helped her realize that she turned to homosexuality because her abusive father had turned her against men.

Several conference representatives came out throughout the day to argue their views They said that the conference’s message was for Christians to "love" gays "regardless" of their choices. Their motto of "hate the sin, love the sinner" was promoted in varying forms to protestors all day. The Love Won Out website, located at LoveWonOut.com, clearly indicates that the conference’s mission is not so loving or inclusive. Their mission, as stated on their own homepage, is actually the "prevention and treatment of homosexuality."

Mainstream counseling organizations say homosexuality is not "preventable" nor "treatable."

Protestors were subjected to slurs of "faggot" by passing cars, church goers condemning them to hell, and one car passed by while a small rock was thrown out the window.

A representative of Exodus, a group that claims it is possible to become an "ex" gay, said that "just showing one side, that you’re born that way, is hateful." Which was exactly what 'Love Won Out' was doing.

The Exodus representative was visibly upset by a sign saying "this conference promotes suicide." He told organizer Baltimore Gonzalez the sign was "phony." Gonzalez, who works around teen suicide locally, disagrees. He says for teens struggling with issues of sexual identity and orientation, hearing all day from conferences like Love Won Out that you are sick, dirty, or need to change, promotes self hate.

Gonzalez, co-chair of Fresno County’s Marriage Equality California chapter, said the community was mobilized to picket the conference when "we learned that several kids, Gay Straight Alliance members, were being forced to attend this event against their will by their parents."
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where-you-live supremacism
Sat, Nov 27, 2004 10:43PM
unless you live in boondocks too
Sat, Nov 27, 2004 7:32PM
"learning" the lesson of 2 nov.
Sat, Nov 13, 2004 5:21PM
Dan
Sat, Nov 13, 2004 5:06PM
Dan
Sat, Nov 13, 2004 5:05PM
it's been said here
Sat, Nov 13, 2004 2:50PM
mello-jello
Sat, Nov 13, 2004 1:39PM
San Franciscan
Tue, Nov 9, 2004 10:18AM
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