LGBT Community and Allies : Defend Our Right to Peer-Led Experiential Weekends
This petition is now closed.
Please sign the attached petition if you agree the attacks on People Can Change are unfair and distorted. Stand up to defend our right to create and participate in activities like these, which are now under threat.
To LGBT Community and Allies:
Critics have recently launched attacks on the nonprofit organization, People Can Change, and its sponsored weekends, including Journey into Manhood, and Journey Beyond.
These programs have been characterized in a manner that is out-of-context and distorted, causing them to appear to outsiders as bizarre and even harmful. Some people are now demanding these weekends be shut down; the vast majority of these individuals have not personally experienced these programs. We have. We declare that we have found these weekends to be beneficial to us. We do not claim that everyone should participate in such experiences. But we have benefited a great deal from them and desire they continue to be offered for those who freely choose to participate.
For many of us, it was on one of these weekends we experienced change, not necessarily the change from gay to straight, but the change of learning to love ourselves unconditionally, without shame. We dropped all the cruel and negative labels others placed on us, and claimed new truths that affirmed and empowered us. We did not experience harm to ourselves or others (such as family members) through our participation in psychodrama (e.g., allegedly beating family members in effigy). Rather, we took courageous steps to destroy damaging stories that had been playing in our minds for years, stories that had led to depression, anxiety, addictive behaviors, and suicidal thoughts. Our experiences on these weekends helped us eliminate these damaging feelings and thoughts, and in some cases have even prevented suicide.
These weekends are called experiential for a reason. They cannot be explained, they must be experienced. Making details about these weekends public does not increase understanding or compassion towards those choosing to participate. The LGBT community has for years suffered marginalization and persecution because their beliefs and practices were considered different, bizarre, and even harmful. The persecuted at times can become the persecutors. We call upon the moderate voices within the LGBT community, and men and women of goodwill everywhere, to accord us the same tolerance and respect they are asking for. Though they may not understand or agree with our choices and practices, we ask them to defend our dignity and our right to live our lives how we feel is best, including participating in those activities we find helpful.
We the undersigned, either have personally participated in these activities, or have witnessed the benefits to those individuals who have participated. We attest to the benefits of these programs or programs like these.