Did you know that the year homosexuality was declassified as a "disease" by the American Psychiatric Association—1973—was the same year that the ex-gay movement was founded?
The correlation is revealing: by its declassification, the APA implies that sexuality is genetic; the ex-gay movement, however, in its emphasis on changing behaviors and thus ways of being (specifically, here, one's sexual lifestyle), relies upon the notion that sexuality is a behavioral choice manifest through a person's actions.
And while I personally agree with the latter—that we are in control of our sexual lifestyle, from who we have sex with, to how (ie, style) we have sex, to how often (ie, frequency) we have sex—the ex-gay movement makes me uneasy, particular when (non-consenting) minors are involved.
"Love in Action" is one of those ex-gay movements that accepts minors into its program, minors who are unwillingly placed into the program by their parents. Morgan Jon Fox, in his latest documentary hitting film fests this summer, This is What "Love In Action" Looks Like, goes inside the ex-gay movement to reveal, with sympathy and respect, what exactly occurs when children are forced into the program. He interviews a number of teens who have been in the program and who have emerged from it with their GAY CARD intact; he even has some great interview footage of John Smid, the founder and former director of "Love in Action."
The film is available free online at Hulu. I was able to e-chat with Morgan about his film in the following exchange (below); while there's not much of a female perspective or presence in the film, it's still a good watch and it provides an unique insight into a facet of queer youth existence that many in rural America are facing today.
Hi Morgan. Can you tell our readers why you decided to make This is What Love in Action Looks Like?
I am a filmmaker living in Memphis, TN. I normally write and direct my own film. However, in the summer of 2005 when I heard about this teenager named Zach, who was going to the same High School I graduated from, and was being forced to attend a program to try and make him straight... I helped his friends organize a protest at the facility where Zach was to attend. I brought my camera on the first day of that protest and within days this situation had become