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Who wants to be a hetero?

On September 8, representatives of Love Won Out ó a traveling conference sponsored by Focus on the Family that seeks to "cure" gays and lesbians ó will set up shop at Bostonís Tremont Temple for a morning seminar (complete with complimentary breakfast!). Then, on October 29, Love Won Out will be back in town ó this time with a full slate of speakers, including Nancy Heche, the mother of Ellen DeGeneresís long-forgotten ex, Anne.

Love Won Outís planned New England tour has already elicited some angry reactions locally. Last week, Josh Friedes, advocacy director of the Freedom To Marry Coalition of Massachusetts, warned the Phoenix that Love Won Outís arrival signals a new level of campaigning by national religious conservatives against gay marriage in the Bay State. And last weekend, protesters massed outside the Tremont Temple to voice their opposition to the group.

Theyíre right, of course. Love Won Outís message ó that homosexuality is a sinful condition to be escaped ó is a pernicious one. At the same time, the group is so goofy that itís hard to take seriously. For starters, Love Won Outís Web site is a case study in garbled messages: sometimes being gay sounds spooky, like being a Scientologist or a Moonie ("Alan Chambers left homosexuality in 1991 ..."). Other times, though, it just sounds like an awkward cosmetic condition ("he specializes in the treatment of men with unwanted homosexuality"). Then there are the dubious qualifications of Love Won Outís featured speakers, two of whom were educated at Biola University, a La Miranda, California, institution best known for its I Love Lucy archive.

Lamest of all, though, may be the picture of straightness that Love Won Out is selling. Hereís how the unfortunately named Melissa Fryrear, a self-described ex-lesbian and Love Won Out panelist, describes her "restoration" to "womanhood": "Goodness! Who knew there was so much to learn: plucking eyebrows, hair bleaches, hair waxings, facial mud masks, eyelash curlers, manicures, pedicures, push-up bras, tummy tuckers, rear-end boosters, last yearís colors, and next yearís fashions ..."

Take a deep breath, everybody. If thatís the best that Love Won Out can do, Massachusetts has nothing to worry about.

Issue Date: August 19 - 25, 2005
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