Faulkner's disappearance renews debate on 'Ex-Gay' Therapy
The last person to have heard from Faulkner was Travis Swanson, a man who claims to be his boyfriend. That was on June 15, before Faulkner’s family appears to have intervened in their son’s relationship.
His mother Debra told FOX News Bryce is "fine" and that stories to the contrary are "not true." A statement by Bryce, released through a family representative, denied coercion on the part of his family.
Rev. Brett Harris, a pastor who has led a Web-based effort to get in touch with Faulkner, suspects otherwise. He has continued his effort despite receiving nearly 20 death threats from the site’s visitors and a lawsuit threat from the Faulkner family.
"It would be simple for [Bryce] to get on a webcam and say ’I don’t want to be gay anymore, I went to this camp on my own volition.’ If he does that, God bless him and I’ll take the site down," Harris told EDGE. "But there is no information coming from Bryce himself. This instantaneous conversion story that Debra is putting out there is baloney. She bullied and brow-beat him."
"[Bryce]’d lose everything including the family’s love if he continued the relationship," Harris continued. "The loss of love is a very powerful thing, especially the loss of the love of your family. The fear of that happening is a great motivator to keep someone in a conversion therapy program."
Fear, often in combination with financial dependence, continues to play a major role in the decisions of some young gay men to enter into ex-gay programs, including those offered by national groups like Exodus International and Love in Action, according to gay and psychiatric observers opposed to their practices.
These companies sponsor hundreds of programs around the nation which vary greatly from one-on-one therapy sessions to intensive group live-in programs.
Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, an organization whose mission is to expose the "ex-gay industry," argues programs like Exodus deliberately market their programs to religious parents of recently out gay children. He was not surprised by the Faulkner case.
"These groups understand very well that they’re marketing to desperate, vulnerable people who are looking for a lifeline. They tell [parents] what they want to hear, and when they hear those promises, they write the checks," Besen shared.
"The people who run these programs aren’t qualified to give the psychological advice they’re providing. They’re causing great harm and avoid accountability at all costs. We don’t know what their failure rate is, but we know from survivors that they’re not doing so well in terms of success."
The article continues with Coerced Into a Labyrinth. It highlights the people interviewed for this story. "Their stories reinforce reports from the overwhelming majority of Western mainstream psychological and psychiatric organizations that frown upon gay therapy programs."
To support the campaign to find Bryce Faulkner, visit savebryce.ergonomicalministries.org
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