My Photo
Location: Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Doing my part to irritate Republicans, fundamentalists, bigots and other lower life forms.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Update on Zach: Tennessee investigates 'ex-gay' program

For those of you who have read about Zach, the Tennessee teenager sent by his parents against his wishes to a religious-based ex-gay center, there is an update and a glimmer of hope.

Tennessee has begun an investigation into the facility, according to an article that appeared in The New York Blade. According to the article:

The state of Tennessee has begun an investigation in response to allegations of child abuse at Love in Action, a Memphis facility that advertises homosexual conversion therapy for adolescents, according to the state department of health.

K. Daniele Edwards, a spokesperson for Child Services at the Tennessee Department of Health, confirmed an investigation is underway but declined to comment on the details. She noted that she presumes the Love in Action program would require licensing by the state.

Love in Action is not licensed by the Tennessee Departments of Health, Mental Health, Human Services, Child Services or Education, according to Rachel Lassiter of Gov. Phil Bredesen's communications office.

That's a good start, but the article goes on to add:

"Emotional abuse is difficult to prove in the state of Tennessee," said Pamela Dickey, director of the advocacy center for Childhelp USA in Knoxville. "You have to document that the child is undergoing depression or suicidal ideation, that he can't sleep, or can't eat."

Ummmmm ... seems to me that "depression and suicidal ideation" would be fairly common responses for teenagers whose parents had them locked away in one of these ex-gay gulags.

But the most outrageous comment by far in the article is the one in which John Smid, the allegedly ex-gay director of the Love in Action program pleads for "tolerance" at a news conference.

Perhaps Mr. Smid was way too busy trying not to think about boys in the gym showers, their bodies all naked, wet and lathered up with soap, on the day when the teacher explained the meaning of irony. If ever there was a posterboy for irony, it's Smid who pleads for tolerance for an organization dedicated to promoting intolerance.