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Steve and Jose
August 13 - 16, 2011
Steve & Jose: Asia 2011: INDIA - SINGAPORE - NEPAL
The Singapore Question:  "Why are
evangelicals stuck at rejecting gays?"
A question raised at the Singapore "Ex-gay" seminar
The question and answer time was all but over.  The moderator took one last question.   After being
acknowledged, the young Singaporean man stood to his feet and with a slight agitation in his voice, he
asked:  “After sixty years, why are evangelicals stuck at rejecting gays?”

The incredulous tone in his voice was sincere.  It wasn’t so much disgust as it was surprise and
disbelief.  In other words, how can the “ex-gay” movement, having failed so miserably throughout its
thirty-five-plus year history, still continue today as a viable, fervent movement with internationally
acclaimed advocates among evangelicals and a remarkable number of every-day, worldwide, gay
Christian followers?  Why hasn’t the “ex-gay” movement died a natural death?

In the interest of time I referred him, and the Singaporean audience of about 70 people, to an email
interview published on the Internet which my husband and I had had with Sylvia Tan of Singapore, an
editor with Fridae.com an Internet news service that covers the Asian world of LGBT people.  In
anticipation of our Singapore seminar, Sylvia, who was present in the audience, wrote us while we were
in Goa, India and asked us several questions, including a similar question like this one the young male
adult was asking.

Since 2005, using July and August as our travel time for empowering LGBT people of faith worldwide,
we had more recently travelled to Asia presenting our seminar “Is There Really Such a Thing as ‘Ex-
gay’?” in Kathmandu and Kuala Lumpur (2009), Hong Kong and Beijing (2010), and now in Singapore
(2011) where we were being hosted and sponsored by the Free Community Church, a church for, and
predominately made up of, gay people.

Referencing our own experiences as former “ex-gay” followers and the published writings of “ex-gay”
leaders and proponents, the seminar enumerates and analyses the premises upon which the
evangelical “ex-gay” movement is constructed.  The seminar, a study I wrote which my husband and I
present through Powerpoint, brings to light the movement’s fallacies and shortcomings: religious and
traditional biases, unsubstantiated claims of success, the use of selective psychological theories and
methods, monastic-like spiritual disciplines religiously employed, subtle marketing and the image of
“change” portrayed to the public, and the startling realization that the national and international “ex-gay”
leaders themselves clearly qualify “change” in sexual orientation as merely behavior modification, that
is, the “ex-gay” so-called is always homosexual – he or she simply modifies his or her actions to conform
to a heterosexual mindset and lifestyle.  According to the writings of “ex-gay” leaders themselves, no
real change takes place sexual-orientation-wise.

In view of the content covered in our seminar, and in view of the fact that we document the beginning of
the evangelical “ex-gay” movement from the mid 1970’s – just more than 35 years ago – the
Singaporean’s question was right on target:  “Why are evangelicals stuck at rejecting gays?”

Sylvia, in the email interview she had conducted with Jose and me just days earlier asked us:   The
debate about conversion therapy/ reparative therapy has been going on for decades despite increasing
social acceptance around the world and psychological associations condemning such therapy as
harmful. What is driving the ex-gay industry and why can't it be put to rest?

In answer to Sylvia’s question, Steve wrote:

“The evangelical Christian church, which is to a degree an isolated community, is the driving force of
the ex-gay industry. Young people who grow up in the evangelical church become a new crop for
harvesting by the ex-gay movement; these evangelical young people are “trapped” within an exclusive
community that talks about being “born again” and having a “victorious Christian life” over sin. Young
evangelical gays (before they even know they are gay) are indoctrinated with a theology of sin,
victorious Christian living, and anti-homosexuality, so that by the time they experience their own sexual
orientation as homosexual they are already conditioned to believe that it is sinful and that “Christ is the

“Couple this with the total ostracism that comes from being openly gay as an evangelical Christian –
ostracized by family, friends, the church, status, position, career – and you have the powerful making of
the hope that one can, should change. The ex-gay movement, for the above reasons, has the force it
has because of the evangelical Christian theological mindset and its mode of exclusivism (belonging to
the community by way of correct doctrine and right practice). Wherever evangelicalism has gone
worldwide, the ex-gay movement has followed.”

To the same question, Jose, after reading my response, wrote a shorter reply.  He said:

“As long as society and its religions continue to propagate the idea that to be homosexual is somehow
less than ideal, there will be a market for these therapies that offer change. The fact is that it is very
stressful to have to justify one’s own existence and assert one’s dignity. Who would “choose” to be
different when that difference can result in disdain, ostracism, condemnation or even abuse from the
greater society and in many cases one’s own place of worship?”

The answer I gave Sylvia was, in part, a description on how evangelicals think – they have a kind-of
tunnel vision – which prevents them from stopping long enough to put the dots together on the failure
and shortcomings of the “ex-gay” movement.  The evangelical is on automatic, talking always in terms of
what is biblical, keeping him immune from significant observable data and critical sources that would
alter his views.   He is a religious ideologue.

Jose’s primary focus was on the emotional and psychological warfare an evangelical gay Christian
would have to endure if he were to choose to come out.

So then, whatever answers are given to the Singapore question as to why evangelicals are stuck at
rejecting gays, for Jose and me, it should most assuredly incorporate the following:  The so-called
biblical, tunnel-vision mindset of evangelicalism, and the emotional, psychological battle young
evangelical gay Christians would have to endure in coming out, combined together create a
perpetuating force whereby the “ex-gay” movement, pulling from its re-occurring church-going pool of
new and unsuspecting young human lives, reinvents itself generation after generation.  This on-going
life of the “ex-gay” movement is held in disbelief of thinking people – both the religious and non-
religious from around the world – just like our questioning Singaporean gentleman who asked “Why are
evangelicals stuck at rejecting gays?”


This composition was written on November 18 - 20, 2011 in the Bronx, NY, incited from my handwritten notes which were
made following the Singapore seminar during our travels in Asia, August 2011.

This writing is in reference to the panel discussion Steve and Jose conducted in Singapore on the Sunday afternoon of
August 7, 2011, at the Free Community Church.
The Singapore Question:  
“Why are evangelicals stuck at rejecting gays?”
By Rev. Stephen Parelli
This composition was written on November 18 - 20, 2011, in the Bronx, NY , incite from my handwritten notes which were
made following the Singapore seminar during our travels in Asia, August 2011.

This writing is in reference to the panel discussion Steve and Jose conducted in Singapore on the Sunday afternoon of
August 7, 2011, at the Free Community Church.
This web page was
created in and published
from the Bronx, NY, on
December 21, 2011

Vists to this web page
since December 21, 2011:

Steve & Jose's Other Sheep
Asia 2011 Ministry
India, Singapore and Nepal

Table of Index

India (Index Page)
July 2 - August 12, 2011

Daily Logs:

Major Events:
  • Young Lay Leaders Conference
  • Day 2 - Jose presents
    psychological dynamics of
    church bias towards
    sexual minorities
  • Day 3 - Future projects


Singapore (Index Page)
August 13 -16, 2011

Daily Log:

Major Events:
  • Steve & Jose present "Is There
    Such a Thing as 'Ex-gay'?"
  • Steve & Jose present a
    Powerpoint on their India 2011




Rev. Oyoung:

Nepal (Index Page)
August 17 - September 1, 2011

Daily Logs:

Major Events:
  • "Putting a Face on
    Homosexuality" - Meeting with
    area pastors


Nepal Evaluation Report: