The National Black Justice Coalition, America's only civil rights organization dually committed to ending racism and homophobia has joined forces with Soulforce, Beyond Ex-Gay, Truth Wins Out,& Equality Florida for a three day conference November 20-22 in West Palm Beach, Florida to begin the tedious work of stamping out heterosexism, reparative therapy, and the pervasive notion that straightness is superior and preferable.
Taking their cue from a groundbreaking American Psychological Association report released earlier this month that advised psychologists to avoid telling their clients that therapy or other treatments can change them from gay to straight, these LGBT organizations are challenging ex-gay groups like Exodus International and societal attitudes regarding sexual orientation head on.
In my view, the conversation about whether gays can change is a distraction from the much more important question; which is "Why do those in power encourage change in the first place?, asks Jeff Lutes, Executive Director of Soulforce.The answer, of course, is the rampant heterosexism that infuses nearly every aspect of our culture."
"In the same way that racism keeps whites in power over people of color and sexism keeps women subordinate to men, heterosexism keeps those who are straight dominant over those who are not, " he adds.
When was the last time you heard a debate about whether therapy and prayer can change a straight person to gay?
But the only way things change is if you and I are willing to be “anti” so that no one ever again has to be “ex.”
NBJC Interim Director Dr. Sylvia Rhue, who stepped into the role temporarily after the resignation of Alexander Robinson will be one of three keynote speakers including Dr. Jack Drescher, and Rev. Deborah L. Johnson of Inner Light Ministries. Johnson's gripping speech at the 2007 NBJC Black Church Summit can be seen here.
Do you think this conference can be effective in promoting a shift in our culture when it comes to accepting people who are different?
For more information on the conference visit the Soulforce website here.