Irvine, CA -Â When Exodus International comes to Irvine next week, Orange Countyâ€™s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community will be ready.Â They are planning a demonstration for Saturday, June 26th, from 4 to 6 PM at the intersection of Ridgeline Drive and University Drive in Irvine.Â â€œEx-gay therapy is ineffective at best and can be dangerous at its worst.Â So when we heard that Exodus would be coming to town, we knew we had to do something,â€ said Alex Gorman, a Laguna Hills resident and team leader with Team Courage OC, a local progressive activist group.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Exodus International, an organization which promotes the controversial idea that LGBT people can and should be reformed through Christian ministry, will be holding its annual Freedom Conference at Concordia University in Irvine from June 23rd to 26th. Â As word spread about the conference, the discussion among local residents quickly turned to how the community should respond.Â Harvey Liss, a resident of Irvine and member of a local Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) chapter, was a part of the early discussions.Â â€œWe decided early on that disruption and aggression wouldnâ€™t accomplish much,â€ said Liss.Â â€œLGBT people in the ex-gay movement already feel enough confusion and shame; we donâ€™t need to add to their troubles by shouting at them.â€
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Community members who were concerned about Exodusâ€™s message decided to focus on positivity instead.Â â€œThe attendees will be getting a lot of messages of negativity at the conference.Â We want to send them some positive messages.Â We want to show them that being gay is OK and Orange County is a welcoming place for LGBT people,â€ said Audrey Prosser, Laguna Beach resident and member of the Laguna Beach Equality Campaign.Â Orange Countyâ€™s LGBT community has a broad network of support which includes not only LGBT people but family and friends, supportive clergy and congregations, business owners, and political allies.Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â â€œWeâ€™ll be waving signs with messages of positivity and support for gay people, which we hope will reach the attendees as well as local residents,â€ said Liss.Â â€œWeâ€™ll also be prepared to offer attendees a constructive alternative to the very harmful ex-gay therapy.Â Weâ€™ll have printed information which will refer them to supportive churches, therapists, and family groups.â€Â People who are interested in learning more about the event or participating can visit the event page at www.tinyurl.com/OC-LGBT-demo.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â â€œThe main event will be Saturday, but there will be opportunities to get involved throughout the week,â€ said Gorman.Â He added, â€œThis is an organic response from the local community.Â We encourage people to stand with us and show their support for Orange Countyâ€™s LGBT community.â€