Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) is a non-profit organization that promotes conversion therapy and the ex-gay movement.[1] PFOX advocates the view that homosexuality is not a product of biological determination. The president of PFOX is Greg Quinlan.[2] Richard Cohen is a past president.


PFOX, founded in 1998, is headquartered in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Richard Cohen, who describes himself as ex-gay, was the president of PFOX for a period of time.[3][4] After Cohen was interviewed by Jason Jones on the March 19, 2007, episode of The Daily Show, PFOX systematically removed all references to Cohen from their website.[3]

Greg Quinlan is described by PFOX as a former homosexual who came out at the age of 23. He has stated that he "departed from homosexuality" in 1993, and went on to found the Pro-Family Network, an organization describes itself as advocates for conservative values, including opposition to same-sex marriage.[2]

PFOX is a signatory organization of Positive Alternatives to Homosexuality (PATH), which is "a non-profit coalition of organizations that help people with unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA) realize their personal goals for change -- whether by developing their innate heterosexual potential or by embracing a lifestyle as a single, non-sexually active man or woman."[5] As a member, PFOX has adopted PATH's statement of principles.[6] PFOX is supported by the Family Research Council.


The PFOX website states: "We must seek the facts and love our children unconditionally without having to affirm their homosexual behavior."[1] PFOX also advocates acceptance of people who identify as ex-gay. The group is known for promoting views that transsexual people are biologically appropriate at birth. Their proposed solution is opposed to the widely accepted[7] method of sexual reassignment surgery. They propose counseling to deal with the problem.[8][9] They also believe being gay is a political identity.[10] PFOX neither provides nor renders therapeutic services.[11][12]


In December 2007, when the Washington, D.C. Board of Education approved new health and physical education guidelines, PFOX voiced opposition to the "grade-specific sex education and information about HIV/AIDS" on the basis that "the standards are not age-appropriate and would undermine abstinence-only messages."[13] PFOX opposed legislation to protect transgender people from discrimination, stating their concern that it gave "male cross-dressers access to women's restrooms".[14][15]

On October 16, 2008, PFOX sued the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) for failing to protect former homosexuals under its sexual orientation anti-discrimination law. This was after the OHR stood with the National Education Association (NEA) in its refusal to provide public accommodations to ex-gays. The court ruled in favour of the NEA, and also stated that ex-gays are a protected class that must be recognized under sexual orientation non-discrimination laws.[16][17][18]

In December 2014 PFOX got national exposure for putting up a billboard next to highway I-95 in Richmond, Virginia. The billboard featured the text "Identical twins: One gay. One not. We believe twin research studies show nobody is born gay", in between photos of two men, seemingly identical twins.[19][20][21][22] Both images on the billboard were stock photos of one man who identified himself as being "openly gay and happy my entire life", and criticized PFOX and their billboard.[23][24]


Many of PFOX's views on the developmental causes of homosexuality and gender identity are in the minority of popular opinion. PFOX's assertion that being gay is a choice relies heavily on two scientific studies which deny the existence of a "gay gene." The results of one of the studies, which was conducted in 2000, was later disputed by its main researcher.[19][25] The American Psychological Association has studied the efforts of people seeking to change their sexual orientation, resulting in a 2009 resolution concluding, ’’there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation,’’ and recommending that mental health professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.[26][27]

PFOX was described in the Washington City Paper as "ignoring the interests of ex-gays", and having almost no ex-gay members. The organization is composed almost entirely of people who state they have always been straight; of the ten people who make up the groups board of directors, only one states they are ex-gay. A PFOX representative has stated that PFOX meetings are "for families and friends of strugglers only, and not for ex-gays.”[12]

In 2004, the National Mental Health Association declined PFOX's application for booth space at their annual convention, calling the group’s principles a divergence from the association's core mission.[28] In 2005, PFOX was barred from presenting a workshop at the National Parent-Teacher Association (NPTA) Convention, due to the NPTA objecting to PFOX's views of sexuality.[29] They have also been denied participation at events held by the American Association of University Women.[30] Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)—which participated in 2004 and 2005 at the NPTA convention—has responded to PFOX:

PFLAG and others also find the basic premise of PFOX's rationale confusing. If someone is not gay or bisexual, they are heterosexual. "Since this is the case," says PFLAG's executive director Jody Huckaby, "PFOX should have no concerns."[31]

In 2010, gay rights advocate Wayne Besen described PFOX as being "as sickening as it is scandalous", saying that the PFOX group had been tied to "an eliminationist campaign, worldwide, against gay people" including the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill.[32]

See also


  1. 1 2 About Us, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays
  2. 1 2 Greg Quinlan Bio (PDF), Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, archived from the original (PDF) on 30 October 2012
  3. 1 2 Roehr, Bob (5 April 2007). "Ex-gays purge leader". Bay Area Report. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  4. Anything but straight: unmasking the scandals and lies behind the ex-gay myth Wayne R. Besen, Haworth Press, 2003; ISBN 1-56023-446-6, ISBN 978-1-56023-446-3; pgs. 223-226.
  5. "Positive Alternatives To Homosexuality (PATH)". Retrieved 2010-05-05.
  6. Change Is Possible, Positive Alternatives To Homosexuality (PATH), archived from the original on 8 April 2013
  7. "Transsexual Surgery: Its Pros and Cons" by Anne Lawrence, M.D.
  8. Gender Identity Confusion (PDF), Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2012
  9. We Ask You to Affirm Gender, Not Take It Away! Vote NO to Gender Identity Law (PDF), Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, archived from the original (PDF) on 29 June 2012
  10. Everything you always wondered about homosexuality, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, archived from the original on 3 November 2013
  11. Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays: Welcome to PFOX, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, archived from the original on 25 June 2014
  12. 1 2 Hess, Amanda (11 September 2009). "The Ex-Gay Movement that Wasn't". Washington City Paper. Archived from the original on 3 July 2014.
  13. "Across The Nation: Washington, D.C., Board of Education Approves Health Education Standards That Include HIV/AIDS Information". Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 17 December 2007. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
  14. Marimow, Ann E. (22 November 2007). "Leggett Signs Bill For Protection of Transgender People". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-12-18.
  15. Davis, Janel (21 November 2007). "Leggett Signs Transgender Discrimination Ban Into Law"., Maryland Community Newspapers Online. Archived from the original on 17 June 2010. Retrieved 2007-12-18.
  16. Bolcer, Julie. "Split Decision on "Ex-Gay" Protections | News". Retrieved 2010-05-05.
  17. "'Ex-gays' sue DC human rights office | News Story on". 2008-10-14. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
  18. "'Ex-Gay' Is Now a Legally Protected Sexual Orientation. That's Good / Queerty". Archived from the original on 2 March 2014. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
  19. 1 2 Sieczkowski, Cavan (10 December 2014). "'Ex-Gay' Group Erects Billboard Saying 'Nobody Is Born Gay'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  23. Wong, Curtis M (12 December 2014). "Model Kyle Roux, Who Appears On 'Ex-Gay' Virginia Billboard, Says He Is A 'Proud' Gay Man And Not A Twin". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  24. Bahorich, Susan (12 December 2014). "Openly-gay model in 'Nobody is born gay' billboard reacts". NBC 12. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  26. "Insufficient Evidence that Sexual Orientation Change Efforts Work, Says APA" (Press release). 5 August 2009. Archived from the original on 13 July 2014.
  27. Geidner, Chris (20 November 2010). "World Bank Relents". Boston Edge. Archived from the original on 16 July 2014.
  28. Brune, Adrian (2004-05-28). "Mental health group bars PFOX from convention". Washington Blade. Window Media LLC. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  29. "'Ex-gay' group booted from conference", WND, 4 April 2006, archived from the original on 8 April 2013
  30. Excerpts from National Coverage (2005): PFLAG Returns to NPTA Convention for Workshop on Safe Schools, archived from the original on 18 October 2007
  31. PFLAG Returns to NPTA Convention, Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays, archived from the original on 24 October 2007
  32. Geidner, Chris (10 November 2010). "PFOX in the World Bank Henhouse". Metro Weekly. Archived from the original on 12 July 2014.

External links

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