Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) sent out a mailing today titled “NAACP Rocks,” referencing a 2006 letter of appreciation from the organization to PFOX. According to the attached copy, PFOX held an exhibit at the NAACP annual convention that year. It is not yet known if they participated in 2007 or if they will be there this year, but the email suggests they plan on participating in 2009.
The PFOX exhibit displayed useful information on unwanted same-sex attractions and tolerance for the ex-gay community. We distributed many brochures, flyers, stickers, and buttons. The attendees were enthusiastic about our booth and our ex-gay volunteers staffing the booth were well received. Many people remarked at how glad they were to see us and took extra handouts to distribute at their church back home. Gay groups like the Human Rights Campaign have exhibited at the NAACP for many years, but PFOX was the first and only ex-gay booth there.
We would like to exhibit there next year. Please make a love offering at http://www.pfox.org/donate.htm or send a gift to the address below so we can pay the exhibit booth fee.
Thanks and see you at the NAACP convention next year!
Here are examples of the brochures PFOX might have circulated.
Like I’ve said before, it may be impolitic to raise the question “Are blacks more homophobic than whites?”, but (like I’ve also said before) there’s a deep, historic, and vehement streak of homophobia that’s “deep, like a river” in the hearts of too many black folks. So, it doesn’t surprise me at all that PFOX would exhibit there. The probably found an audience that supported their mission and shared their beliefs.
Not to scratch open old wounds, but this is something we’ve seen before.
The truth is that McClurkin can bring in the element of the Democratic party that openly despise and actively support legalizing discrimination against the community Rev. Sidden’s addition to the program is supposed to mollify. What’s unsaid here is that the LGBT community, and our families, are less important to Obama and — let’s just say it — to the Democrats than the constituency that McClurkin’s participation represents and is intended to attract. We are as much an afterthought as the belated addition of Rev. Sidden to the tour.
This is either a case of not knowing what would happen when McClurkin’s participation inevitably became known, or just not caring, because his participation would almost certainly pull in African American voters whose selective reading of scripture means anti-gay bigotry is a big draw and an even bigger uniting factor. Neither likelihood inspires much confidence, but I’m inclined to believe the second scenario is closer to the truth. The only thing more troubling than that is that they thought they could get away with it.
Let’s just face it. We’ve seen it in Democratic campaigns. We’ve seen it in the exploitation of the marriage equality issue. Homophobia is a sure fire way to reach a great many African Americans. It gets “butts-in-the-seats” and in the voting booth. It’s a growth demographic for PFOX.
What, if anything, we do about it remains to be seen. I do, however want to counter one thing that I saw in a comment at Ex-Gay Watch.
We live in a world of diverse opinion, do we just censure everyone we disagree with? I might not like the way PFOX is run, but I don’t desire to curtail their rights to exhibit anymore than I would want to curtail HRC from exhibiting–even though I disagree with certain aspects of their group as well.
How is it a “right” to exhibit at any organization’s convention? By the same token, would the NAACP then have to let a white supremacist group exhibit, in order to avoid curtailing their rights?
If HRC wanted to exhibit at the next “Love Won Out” conference, would they have a “right” to exhibit there?
Sure, HRC and PFOX both have the same right to promote their points of view. But that doesn’t translate to a right to do so in a particular venue or on a particular platform. By that logic, a gay rights organization would have to allow anti-gay organizations to exhibit at their conferences — imagine Focus on the Family at Creating Change, or Westboro Baptist Church at a GLAAD conference.
And not only that, but offer the anti-gay groups the venue and platform that the gay organization has paid for; essentially requiring them to support with their own dollars the very people that oppose their missions.
PFOX does not have a “right” to exhibit at the NAACP convention. If they exhibit at the convention, they do so at the pleasure of the hosting organization. If the NAACP decides it would be better for PFOX not to have spot in their exhibit hall, PFOX’s “right” would not be “curtailed.” After all, no one is stopping PFOX from having its own conference, hosting its own website to promote its message, or exhibiting at any other conference that will have them.
They would have all the same rights they had before. The NAACP doesn’t owe them an exhibit spot, any more than PFOX would owe me the chance to post on their website or exhibit at their events.
It is not a question of a right to free speech. Period. Let’s at least get that much straight. No pun intended.