On Tuesday evening, Voice of the Voiceless -- a group of self-professed "ex-gays" -- gathered in Washington, D.C. to celebrate and raise awareness about their ex-gayness at the "First Annual Ex-Gay Awareness Dinner." They did this, naturally, by holing up in an undisclosed location and keeping out any press outlets they feared would report objectively about the event. About sixty people are alleged to have attended.
Earlier that day, "ex-gay" extremist Greg Quinlan led a whopping contingent of fifteen "ex-gay" activists to Capitol Hill to lobby in favor of "ex-gay" therapy, which has been discredited and debunked by literally every single mainstream organization of medical and mental health professionals. It's unclear how successful those meetings were, especially given the fact that Tuesday was the first day of the Republican-led federal government shutdown.
The event is just the latest in a string of high-profile failures for what's left of the "ex-gay" movement. In July the Family Research Council -- an SPLC-certified anti-gay hate group -- tried desperately to make "Ex-Gay Pride Month" happen. But they just couldn't get it off the ground, so they made vague claims of "harassment" and alleged "anti-ex-gay extremism" and called the whole thing off.
They tried again the following month, holding a lobby day on Capitol Hill and a flashy press conference in front of the Supreme Court. Thousands of "ex-gays" were predicted, fewer than ten actually showed up.
As Zack Ford notes, there is no way to independently confirm the organizers' attendance figures, as the guest list for Tuesday's dinner was kept top secret. And as for the speakers:
The only people who spoke were either people who are not ex-gay, like the Liberty Counsel's Matt Barber and Bishop Harry Jackson, or those who profit from their ex-gay identities and are already established pundits on the topic, like Voice of the Voiceless founder Christopher Doyle and PFOX president Greg Quinlan.
Quinlan reportedly called for greater visibility for "ex-gays" at the top-secret, closed-door event, urging attendees (without the slightest hint of irony) to "scream and yell for equality and justice for all."
The (*ahem*) highlight of the evening was the debut of "Rise Up," a song by "ex-gay" singer/songwriter and former Exodus International vice president Dennis Jernigan that was billed as the "anthem of the Ex-Gay movement."
Video of the horribly cheesy power ballad is after the jump.