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Texas billboard has community on the defense

"Ex-gay" billboard has Texas community angry at its message.
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WACO, TX. - There is a billboard hovering over the streets of Waco Texas, that has some locals concerned about its message.

The large sign reads, “Ex-gays prove change is possible.”

The message is sponsored by Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX) which boasts their abilities to “cure” gay people of their sexuality.

Rev. Charley Garrison of the Central Metropolitan Church Central Texas (CMCCT) says the verbiage is dangerous to those struggling with their identity.

“Ex-gays implies there’s something wrong with gay, lesbian, and transgendered people,” Garrison said.

Although Garrison says the allure of the message is understandable it is definitely misguided and dangerous.

“Ex-gay therapy does not do any good and in fact, can do harm in increasing the suicide rate in the LGBTQ community," he said.

PFOX psychotherapist David Pickup explains that his organization does not use conversion therapy, but reparative therapy.

He says reparative therapy is for people who believe that they are homosexual because of past traumatic experiences.

"The people who are criticizing this, they are automatically assuming for everyone homosexuality is genetic or inborn. Because they are assuming this about everyone they are hurting a lot of people who have traumatic causes for their homoerotic feelings. So that's why need billboards like the one in Waco that tell the truth,” Pickup said in an ABC 9 report.

He continues to explain that scientific evidence to prove that homosexuality is a genetic trait is sparse or non-existent, and his program doesn’t wish to convert gays and lesbians, but explores issues that might make them think they are gay.

 Reverend Garrison’s supporters wanted to post their own billboard as retaliation, but he believes the money would be better put to use hosting an LGBT pride event.

"I believe there are a lot of people who share my opinion that there is nothing to be fixed. So what I was hoping for was a response that could celebrate the LGBTQ community instead of trying to fix it,” Garrison said.