National LGBT Briefs: Protest, Praise and 'Ex-Gay' in Oregon

Infamous ''fence'' pastor both challenged and supported, while an Oregon psychiatrist faces complaint and Biola gets a gay group

Compiled by Will O'Bryan
Published on May 31, 2012, 6:48am | Comments

North Carolina’s Rev. Worley Warmly Welcomed

It was May 13 when Pastor Charles Worley of Maiden, N.C.'s Providence Road Baptist Church told congregants how to ''get rid of all the lesbians and queers.'' His simple plan featured fenced-in pens, lesbians in one, gay men in the other, where they would remain till they died. Worley did not address the fact that gay people are largely the result of heterosexual couplings.

Reaction to the sermon, which made national headlines, was seen most poignantly Sunday, May 27, in nearby Newton, N.C., about six miles from Maiden. There, about 2,000 people rallied against Worley's plan, carrying signs with messages such as, ''Jesus had 2 dads and he turned out just fine,'' according to the Hickory Daily Record.

Laura Tipton, identifying herself as a member of Catawaba Valley Citizens Against Hate, told the Record, ''Hopefully our protest today will send a message that we, as a community, as a state and as a country, will not stand in the background in silent acceptance. … I hope his congregation sees that we are gathering in love. Their messages are wrong, and we will not accept them.''

Those congregants, meanwhile, packed the pews for Worley's May 27 sermon, which the Record also covered. Worley received a standing ovation as he took the pulpit, with the mood during the service described by the newspaper as ''vocal and jubilant.''

''I appreciate all the support,'' Worley told those gathered, which included about 100 visitors beyond the regular congregants. ''I've been a preacher for 53 years. Do you think I'm going to bail out on this?''

SPLC Challenges Psychiatrist For ''Conversion'' Therapy

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed an ethics complaint May 8 with both the American Psychological Association and the Oregon Psychiatric Association on behalf of a gay Oregon man who says his psychiatrist attempt practicing so-called ''reparative'' or ''conversion'' therapy to change his sexual orientation, the Associated Press reports.

The patient, Max Hirsh, 22, a student of physics and psychology at the University of Oregon in Eugene, says he went to the psychiatrist, who was not named in the report, for depression and to improve his romantic relationships with men.

''He said the expected conversion to become more popular in the future as the country becomes more conservative,'' Hirsh told AP, referring to the psychiatrist.

Christine Sun, SPLC's deputy law director, told AP that her organization wants the complaint to prompt greater restrictions and possibly legislative action with regard to this type of dubious psychotherapy.

Evangelical School’s ''Queer Underground'' Comes Out

The Biola Queer Underground announced its existence May 9, MSNBC reported, causing a stir at the evangelical Christian college in Southern California.

The announcement included a statement reading, ''We want to bring to light the presence of the LGBTQ community at Biola. Despite what some may assume, there are Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Queers at Biola. We are Biola's students, alumni, employees, and fellow followers of Christ. We want to be treated with equality and respected as another facet of Biola's diversity.''

Among the alumni of the 104-year-old Christian college is David M. Pérez, a Metro Weekly Next Generation Award winner and current president of D.C.'s Latino GLBT History Project.