Friday, July 22, 2005

Gay teen to be released soon from Tennessee ex-gay camp

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According to an article in the Washington Blade Online (article), Zach Stark (pictured left), a gay 16 year old from Bartlett, Tennessee, will be released soon from Refuge, an ex-gay camp for adolescents run by Love in Action, a group affiliated with Exodus International. He has been in the camp since early June. A firestorm of media coverage, LGBT rights activism, Tennessee state investigations of the camp and ex-gay activism began after Zach posted entries about coming out to his parents and being sent to the ex-gay camp on his blog. Joe Stark, Zach's father, confirmed the identity of his son and his placement into the ex-gay camp on the Christian Boradcasting Network, where he also defended his actions.
“We felt good about Zach coming here … to let him see for himself the destructive lifestyle, what he has to face in the future, and to give him some options that society doesn’t give him today,” Stark said, "Until he turns 18 and he’s an adult in the state of Tennessee, I’m responsible for him, and I’m going to see to it that he has all options available to him.”
It is not known what type of effect the ex-gay camp has had on Zach. Before going into the camp Zach wrote about having suicidal feelings in his blog. The gay media, blogs on the web, the Memphs area media and mainstream national media sources including the New York Times, have covered Zach's story. With all of the media attention, the debate over the legality and ethics of treating homosexuality has sprung back up. ========= It is so good to know that out of the horror and tragedy which Zach has expereinced and is still experiencing, something good is coming out. Zach's struggles have sparked a debate which was well overdue in American society. In 1973, the American Psychological Association took homosexuality off its list of mental and psychological diseases. So this is the question I propose... Why isn't illegal to force people into treatment to "cure" homosexuality, especially teenagers who are at the mercy of their parents and their decisions? Hopefully, when Zach is released, he can get away from his parents. They are supposed to love him and protect him, instead they have done nothing but hurt him. He will need to get away rom them and find a family that is supportive and loving. I just pray that Zach has not given into the bigoted and hatefilled ideology of the Ex-Gay Movement.

2 Comments:

Hello :) I do not understand why you hope Zach can get away from his parents? Also, why you assume they are not loving and protecting him? From what you wrote I see it differently...not because he claims to be gay, but because to me, it seems his parents are obeying the Lord and acting as responsible parents..doesn't matter if the topic is ' drugs,drinking, or gay' and not many parents get involved , but turn a blind eye.

Working with teens I see so many parents throw up thier hands saying ' what can I do at this age?' makes me mad as all get out that they simple give up or were never involved to begin with. I am not talking about the topic of ' being gay ' but just in general in all issues of a teens lifestyle.

I do not know what kind of parents they were before all this went down and I am not about judge anyone in this situation for that TOO would be wrong of me.

God says we are to obey the ' law ' and if the law isn't going against ' God's law ' then to me, its the parents responsiblity according to the Lord to continue to have influence in their childrens lives period, since the law says a parent is accountable for their children until the age of 18.

Have you read somewhere where they have hurt him? I ask because from ' this post ' I don't see that and would like to educate myself on just how you are viewing the facts.

Please forgive me for I have not read other post in your blog , but this one stuck out son I read it and if you have talked about or shared details in another post it could be the reason I don't understand some of the things you have said in this post.

In your post here it says its not known the effect the camp has had on Zach yet.

What if Zach comes out of the camp and feels the gay life style is a sin and one is not born into it OR simple just walks away from that lifestyle? How would you feel about that? Could you share in his joy that he is obeying the Lord and giving up something that is against God's word? Or would you sit and judge his parents for the action they took in doing what they feel is the right thing to do as Parents for whatever reason they are doing it?

Also, may I ask if this teen was put away in a camp for drinking or drugs how would you feel about that and also would you be judging the Parents just as much?

Sometimes, I get so upset when others judge and lately the Lord has showed me, that I, myself have judged ' those ' people just as, they too, are judging others.

Anyway, your post got my attention because I have a heart for teenagers that are hurting and in your post it says before Zach went to this camp he wrote about wanting to end his life or something of the such I can't see the post from here now.

Sorry for such a long comment :)
posted by Blogger Pam at 7/22/2005 04:17:00 PM  
hello im 15 yeras old and im turning 16 realy soon.
according to zachs situation id like to mention that as we grow up and im sure u know, our hormones start to grow, pubitty starts to take place and then we start to think about other genders and this happends to girls aswell. we start to think about sexual things and then one day you end up making a acident happen like kissing the same agender as you or other sexual situations. i know this because this is happening to me but i know better. wat im trying to say is that give ur son a chance and he will understand that its wrong to be gay. every one goes through this growing stage of their bodies.

thanks for ur thime
posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 1/17/2006 12:47:00 AM