On Sept. 20, approximately 1,000 people attended Love Won Out, a conference on homosexuality hosted by Focus on the Family and held in Scarborough, Ont. Developed to address the complex issues surrounding same-sex attraction, Love Won Out accomplished its goal with sensitivity and fidelity to gospel values.

Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, psychologist and president of the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, gave the opening address. He presented a thorough explanation of the evolution of same-sex desires. Having worked primarily with gay men over the past 20 years, Nicolosi has seen clear patterns in family dynamics and child development issues that can lead to homosexuality. Homosexuality, he explained, is not a sexual problem. It is a gender identity problem.

He said that during the gender-identity phase (one to three years old) the child does not make the necessary identification with the same-sex parent. Since this phase occurs so early in child development, it is why homosexuals may believe they were born that way. From their earliest recollections, they feel different from their peers and detached from their masculinity/femininity. Though there are other factors that may have a significant influence on a homosexual outcome, the problem begins in this phase of early childhood.

Nicolosi was adamant about not blaming the parents of homosexuals for their condition, as there are a number of factors influencing its development. He also outlined four gay myths that have driven the gay agenda. They are:

1. “Ten per cent of the population is gay.” In fact, numerous studies have shown that the true figure is one to three per cent.

2. “You’re born gay.” There is absolutely no scientific basis for this statement, and anyone who makes this claim should be challenged to prove it.

3. “Once gay, always gay.” Studies have shown that approximately 84 per cent of homosexuals have changed their “orientation” at least once.

4. “Homosexuality is normal in every way.” Though the current trend is to portray homosexuals as healthy, happy and well-adjusted individuals, there are over 500 studies that show self-destructive, maladaptive behaviour associated with a gay lifestyle.

“Sexual orientation” has become so politicized that any psychologist or psychiatrist who challenges these myths is often unable to get his studies published. To ensure balanced and fair representation, Nicolosi formed the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, whose website is at www.narth.com.

The conference included two speakers who gave their personal testimonials: Mike Haley, a former homosexual and gay activist, and Melissa Fryrear, a former lesbian. Both were exclusively homosexual in their attractions from an early age, yet now have normal heterosexual attractions. Their stories were inspiring and educational, illustrating the evolution of homosexual development through their own personal family experiences and social influences.

Their open sharing of the long and painful journey to be free from homosexuality was very moving. More testimonials can be found at the website www.livehope.org.

A Dr. Carpenter, a public policy analyst, spoke about the radical social transformation the gay agenda is attempting and the ways it is being achieved, particularly through schools. There were several breakout sessions that addressed other homosexual issues. These included addressing the gay agenda in schools, pro-gay theology (which is the religious counterpart to pro-gay ideology), how to deal with a loved one’s professed homosexuality, reaching the homosexual and preventing homosexuality.

The final speaker at the conference, Joe Dallas, a former gay activist, spoke eloquently and powerfully about the Christian community’s response to this issue. He chastised those who too often preach judgement without compassion, resulting in hostility between Christians and the homosexual population. He spoke about the need to serve without compromising the biblical standard of holiness. He added that Christians should not be intimidated by the gay agenda and should continue to vocalize their position through the media by writing letters to the editor and calling in to radio programs. They must speak out against injustice towards homosexuals and treat them with respect and dignity despite their lifestyle. He asked that we offer support to the leadership addressing these issues, as they often face public ridicule. Quoting Martin Luther King Jr., he reminded his audience that the church is the conscience of the state.

The information presented at Love Won Out verified that homosexual attractions can be changed and children can be prevented from becoming homosexual. Ex-gay activists and struggling homosexuals provided us with a rich resource of information to continue to articulate God’s truth about human sexuality. Out of the crucible of their suffering, they have brought light and a message of hope to our battered society.