Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays
Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) is a non-profit organization providing outreach, education, and public awareness in support of the ex-gay community. PFOX advocates the view that homosexuality is not a product of biological determination. The president of PFOX is Greg Quinlan. Richard Cohen is a past president.
PFOX, founded in 1998, is headquartered in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Richard Cohen, who describes himself as ex-gay, was the president of PFOX for a period of time. After Cohen was interviewed by Jason Jones on the March 19, 2007, episode of The Daily Show, PFOX systematically removed all references to Cohen from their website.
Greg Quinlan is described by PFOX as a former homosexual who came out at the age of 23. He has stated that he "departed from homosexuality" in 1993, and went on to found the Pro-Family Network, an organization describes itself as advocates for conservative values, including opposition to same-sex marriage.
PFOX is a signatory organization of Positive Alternatives to Homosexuality (PATH), which is "a non-profit coalition of organizations that help people with unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA) realize their personal goals for change -- whether by developing their innate heterosexual potential or by embracing a lifestyle as a single, non-sexually active man or woman." As a member, PFOX has adopted PATH's statement of principles. PFOX tends to support conservative views and is supported by the Family Research Council.
The PFOX website states: "We must seek the facts and love our children unconditionally without having to affirm their homosexual behavior." PFOX also advocates acceptance of people who identify as ex-gay. The group is known for promoting views that transsexual people are biologically appropriate at birth. Their proposed solution is opposed to the widely accepted[need quotation to verify] method of sexual reassignment surgery. They propose counseling to deal with the problem. They also believe being gay is a political identity. PFOX neither provides nor renders therapeutic services.
In December 2007, when the Washington, D.C. Board of Education approved new health and physical education guidelines, PFOX voiced opposition to the "grade-specific sex education and information about HIV/AIDS" on the basis that "the standards are not age-appropriate and would undermine abstinence-only messages." PFOX opposed legislation to protect transgender people from discrimination, stating their concern that it gave "male cross-dressers access to women's restrooms".
On October 16, 2008, PFOX sued the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) for failing to protect former homosexuals under its sexual orientation anti-discrimination law. This was after the OHR stood with the National Education Association (NEA) in its refusal to provide public accommodations to ex-gays. The court ruled in favour of the NEA, and also stated that ex-gays are a protected class that must be recognized under sexual orientation non-discrimination laws.
Many of PFOX's views on the developmental causes of homosexuality and gender identity are in the minority of popular opinion. Their statement that thousands of people become ex-gay each year has been called into question, and ex-gays are often seen, realistically, as a very small group.
In 2004, the National Association of Mental Health declined PFOX's application for booth space at their annual convention. In 2005, PFOX was barred from presenting a workshop at the National Parent-Teacher Association (NPTA) Convention. They have also been denied participation at events held by the National Mental Health Association and the American Association of University Women. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)—which participated in 2004 and 2005 at the NPTA convention—has responded to PFOX:
- PFLAG and others also find the basic premise of PFOX's rationale confusing. If someone is not gay or bisexual, they are heterosexual. "Since this is the case," says PFLAG's executive director Jody Huckaby, "PFOX should have no concerns."
- Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays - "About Us"
- Roehr, Bob (5 April 2007). "Ex-gays purge leader". Bay Area Report. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
- Anything but straight: unmasking the scandals and lies behind the ex-gay myth Wayne R. Besen, Haworth Press, 2003; ISBN 1-56023-446-6, ISBN 978-1-56023-446-3; pgs. 223-226.
- "Positive Alternatives To Homosexuality (PATH)". Pathinfo.org. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
- Positive Alternatives To Homosexuality (PATH) Statement of Principles
- "Transsexual Surgery: Its Pros and Cons" by Anne Lawrence, M.D.
- "Across The Nation: Washington, D.C., Board of Education Approves Health Education Standards That Include HIV/AIDS Information". Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 17 December 2007. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
- Marimow, Ann E. (22 November 2007). "Leggett Signs Bill For Protection of Transgender People". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-12-18.
- Davis, Janel (21 November 2007). "Leggett Signs Transgender Discrimination Ban Into Law". Gazette.net, Maryland Community Newspapers Online. Retrieved 2007-12-18.
- Bolcer, Julie. "Split Decision on "Ex-Gay" Protections | News". Advocate.com. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
- "'Ex-gays' sue DC human rights office | News Story on". 365gay.com. 2008-10-14. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
- "'Ex-Gay' Is Now a Legally Protected Sexual Orientation. That's Good / Queerty". Queerty.com. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
- Brune, Adrian (2004-05-28). "Mental health group bars PFOX from convention". Washington Blade. Window Media LLC. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
- The National Mental Health Association Rejects Ex-Gays[dead link]
- Excerpts from National Coverage (2005): PFLAG Returns to NPTA Convention for Workshop on Safe Schools U.S. Newswire (June 23, 2005).
- PFLAG Returns to NPTA Convention, from PFLAG website