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[UPDATED] Trigger Warning! Focus on the Family is coming to a theater near you!

A friend and I recently went to see the new Hobbit movie. The lights dimmed and imagine my surprise when the following movie preview flashed across the screen:


My friend and I both gasped at the same time. This was the last thing we expected to see just before the Hobbit. The very organization that has traumatized untold numbers of LGBT people is going mainstream. If you are a survivor of the conversion therapy movement, you should prepare yourself to see the people who informed the abuse you faced thrust in your face when you visit your hometown movie theater.

After 38 years of targeting LGBT adults and children for demonstrably harmful and traumatic “therapeutic” techniques, on May 28, 2013 Exodus International announced that they would no longer support conversion therapy and apologized for the trauma and suffering their group inflicted on LGBT people. Exodus International President Alan Chamber said, “I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center, the organization that tracks American hate groups, describes Focus on the Family (FOTF) as one of a “dozen major groups [that] help drive the religious right’s anti-gay crusade.” FOTF continues to actively promote conversion therapy practices, even going as far as to picket the American Psychological Association for not endorsing their efforts to “cure” LGBT people.

FOTF asserts that “homosexual behavior violates God’s intentional design for gender and sexuality” and that “Scriptural teaching that homosexuals can and do change their sexual identity.” FOTF claims that trans people “casts doubt on God’s clearly articulated design by acknowledging a well-known truth and supplementing it with a blatant lie. In this case, this acknowledgment of the two sexes (the truth) is supplemented with the view that male and female are merely two possible genders along a completely “fluid” gender spectrum (the lie).”

FOTF asserts, “Gay and ‘transgender’ activists will not rest until they have utterly laid waste to the traditional and biblical understanding of one of the most important and fundamental distinctions in creation – gender.” They go on to claim that the “body and spirit are meant to be holistically united from the moment of conception. Thus, humans are called to embrace their embodied gender and not seek “sexual reassignment” when they struggle with feelings of gender confusion.”

FOTF preview

FOTF movie preview: Irreplaceable | Click to view on YouTube

Make no mistake. FOTF is a group that has caused real and lasting harm. If you go to the movies, you need to know that you may suddenly find your abuser on the very screen you’re paying to see, lauding their new “traditional family” movie.

Fathom Events is the one responsible for promoting FOTF’s movie. I called them up and they made a couple of things clear:

  • While they’re promoting FOTF’s content, they “don’t support” FOTF’s anti LGBT stance.
  • If you’d like to voice your concerns to Fathom Events, you can do so by sending an email to .

When asked if they had promoted any content with LGBT characters, the Fathom Event representative was unable to name any.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be writing Fathom and will update this post with their written response. If you choose to contact them, please share their response in the comment section.

The type of conversion therapy FOTF promotes was banned as being abusive in both California and New Jersey. In fact, text in the New Jersey law notes that the American School Counselor Association’s, the American Psychoanalytic Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry all condemn ex-LGBT therapy – the very “therapy” FOTF promotes.

American School Counselor Association:

It is not the role of the professional school counselor to attempt to change a student’s sexual orientation/gender identity but instead to provide support to LGBTQ students to promote student achievement and personal well-being.  Recognizing that sexual orientation is not an illness and does not require treatment, professional school counselors may provide individual student planning or responsive services to LGBTQ students to promote self-acceptance, deal with social acceptance, understand issues related to coming out, including issues that families may face when a student goes through this process and identify appropriate community resources.

American Psychoanalytic Association:

As with any societal prejudice, bias against individuals based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression negatively affects mental health, contributing to an enduring sense of stigma and pervasive self-criticism through the internalization of such prejudice; and Psychoanalytic technique does not encompass purposeful attempts to ‘convert,’ ‘repair,’ change or shift an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Such directed efforts are against fundamental principles of psychoanalytic treatment and often result in substantial psychological pain by reinforcing damaging internalized attitudes.

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry:

Clinicians should be aware that there is no evidence that sexual orientation can be altered through therapy, and that attempts to do so may be harmful. There is no empirical evidence adult homosexuality can be prevented if gender nonconforming children are influenced to be more gender conforming. Indeed, there is no medically valid basis for attempting to prevent homosexuality, which is not an illness. On the contrary, such efforts may encourage family rejection and undermine self-esteem, connectedness and caring, important protective factors against suicidal ideation and attempts. Given that there is no evidence that efforts to alter sexual orientation are effective, beneficial or necessary, and the possibility that they carry the risk of significant harm, such interventions are contraindicated.

  • Focus on the Family gave $727,250 in cash and services to support the Prop 8 measure to prevent marriage equality.
  • In speaking on California’s law codifying protections for trans kids, Focus on the Family claimed that California trans school children don’t exist.

4/16/2014 UPDATE:

Focus on the Family has accused the TransAdvocate in trying to oppress them by silencing and censoring them.

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Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams is a trans historian and pioneer in addressing the practical needs of the transgender community. She started the first trans homeless shelter in the South and co-founded the first federally funded trans-only homeless program, pioneered affordable healthcare for trans people in the Houston area, won the right for trans people to change their gender on Texas ID prior to surgery, started numerous trans social service programs and founded the Transgender Center as well as the Transgender Archives. Cristan is the editor at the social justice sites and, is a long-term member and previous chair of the City of Houston HIV Prevention Planning Group.
  • The philosophical basis oof Christian drug rehab programs may not be well known to healthcare providers.
    Drrug addiction is not really believed to be a simple habit orr lifestyle gobe haywire.
    It is crucial that active addicts seeking help understand these differences in order to make educated choices
    about their treatment.

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  • Maria
  • Evie

    “…casts doubt on God’s clearly articulated design…”

    So all y’all peeps using inhalers, put them down this instant — ’cause if God gave you asthma, he probably didn’t intend for you to breathe!

  • Mary

    A case, again, of the persecutors feeling persecuted. What makes you think, Tim, that anyone is condemning straight people or traditional marriage, just because they consider you a bigot for not agreeing that gays should also have a right to marry? Isn’t it so? You don’t believe that this amounts to discrimination and bigotry? Who is refusing you the right to live your life as who you are or to marry? Seems you confuse things.

  • Sam

    Oh Tim–You’re talking to an audience so well educated in the discursive practices of signifiers, such as “traditional family,” that we actually have an impossible time responding to people like you. There’s not enough shared language between you, and me, for this to be a meaningful conversation. I could talk to you about historical conceptions of marriage (linked mostly to male privilege and power), and about how marriage as a romantic notion actually emerged as a romantic re-imagining of the Victorian age. I could give you an equally long lecture about the Foucauldian analysis of Power and Knowledge as linked, whereby it becomes impossible for your faulty logic to simply “convert” the oppressed into the oppressor (which is one of the oldest and emptiest tricks in the book). I could tell you a lot of things… but it won’t work. You’ll have to label my language as recondite academic liberalese, and I’ll always have to label you as provincial and lacking in sufficient background. We can only ever argue, because we are separated by not only an ideological chasms, but by educational, academic, and linguistic chasms. This is not to put myself squarely in the position of “superior,” (though I certainly have my opinions), as much as it is to say that our education, academics, and linguistic understandings are fundamentally diametrical. Unless you, or I, experienced a dramatic psychological upheaval which re-orders our approaches to the world (like dick did for me), you and I will never be capable of having a conversation. We will only be able to argue. So perhaps the best thing for you to do is not comment on websites like the Transadvocate, and perhaps the best thing for me to do is not respond to whatever asinine comment you may respond with.

    • Indica

      Yeah, I understood what you were talking about and you still come off like a pretentious ass hole. lol

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  • tim

    I find it interesting that when I say that I support traditional marriage, I’m automatically labeled as “anti-gay” but it never seems to work the other way too — i.e. people who support gay marriage should in turn also be labeled “anti-traditional” or “anti-straight.”

    Focus on the Family supports traditional marriage and is being labeled a hate group. Well, I label you and Southern Poverty Law Center equally hate groups for speaking against supporters of traditional marriage and straight people.

    • Rats, I couldn’t embed this image. I’d respond to your comment but there’s so much false equivalence that I don’t even know where to start. So just…here

    • Cody

      This is so stupid I cant even think of a way to respond.
      When you say you support traditional marriage, of course someone will think such a thing. You shouldn’t have to support traditional marriage, because there is a very minuscule amount of the population in the WORLD that is “against traditional marriage.” ‘Non-Traditional’ is hated by a lot of people in this world, mostly because of RELIGION. Seems very ridiculous to me.

    • Alyson

      Except you can’t “support traditional marriage” without being against gay marriage, whereas everybody who supports gay marriage also supports non-gay marriage and straight people getting married.

      It’s anti- because you’re trying to restrict something, you are against it. They are not against anything you are doing, except that attempt to restrict something. So they are anti-anti-gay, but not anti- anything else.

    • friday jones

      When you use the term “I support traditional marriage” as code to obfuscate that what you are actually expressing is opposition to “non-traditional” marriage, then when people label you as “anti-gay” then that’s just removing the shoddy mask you’re hiding behind so ineffectively.

      Why do you hate honesty, Tim? Because giving your honest unvarnished opinion would reveal to all the world that you’re driven by hatred and that your mind is like a pit of roiling serpents? It sure seems that way.

    • Jamie

      Um…I honestly have yet to meet one person who supports marriage equality that is opposed to “straight marriage”. That’s the funny thing about…you know…equality.

    • Maria

      When people say they support gay-marriage they want to expand marriage to everyone, I wonder if your church thought you that when people get equal marriage rights suddenly heterosexual marriages are prohibited or something?

      My question is, are you ignorant or cruel? Because you know, jesus told us to screw the old testament rules and only uphol to commandments; to love one another and to love god, no comments on LGBT there.

    • Lynn Guss

      Well said!