This billboard from Dallas is almost identical to one that appeared in Elk River this weekend.
This billboard from Dallas is almost identical to one that appeared in Elk River this weekend.

A group founded by a Republican lawmaker and his “former homosexual” friend has purchased a billboard in Elk River that urges gay men to seek therapy to change them from gay to straight.

The Pro-Family Forum placed the billboard last week. The group was founded by Republican Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen and “former homosexual” Kevin Peterson as the Pro-Amendment Forum in 2012 to urge people to vote for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. (In 2013, Gruenhagen announced his “former homosexual” friend on the floor of the Minnesota House as that body was taking up marriage equality).

The billboard, placed by the Pro-Family Forum, reads: “Does having gay feelings mean you’re born Gay?… …People around the world say no.” Focused therapy, reparative therapy, real transformation. Real therapy really works. ReparativeTherapyCenter.com”

Here’s a Facebook image of the billboard:

ReparativeTherapyCenter.com autodirects to the website of David Pickup, a California-based practitioner of conversion therapy. Pickup’s therapy suggests that gay men need to be more masculine and get involved in sports in order to get on the path to being straight. Pickup has even created his own “ex-gay” workout routine.

The billboard is almost identical to one placed in Dallas in January. The company that hosted the billboard canceled the contract after finding the billboard to be offensive.

It is unclear which billboard company is hosting the Pro-Family Forum billboard.

The billboard comes as a pair of bills have been introduced in the Minnesota Legislature to add sanctions against licensed professionals who practice conversion therapy. Critics of such therapy not that most professional organizations have spoken out about the harms of conversion therapy.

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Andy Birkey
Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, Vita.mn and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Birkey, please stop reporting misleading information. I do not propose that men merely play sports to be more masculine to be straight. If you read my website and the professional literature, you’ll find out what authentic RT is all about. This is psychodynamic therapy that really works because it helps men be and experience who they truly are.

  2. Why is it so hard for gays to acknowledge that not all people who feel these attractions choose to act on them? They prefer not to take part in a lifestyle for reasons of their own and are equally free to seek relief from from them. Why would you expect someone to embrace a way of living that is so often filled with misery, grief and suicide? While you are busy lobbying for equal rights for gays, how about allowing others their equal rights? Every person has the ability to choose the way he or she lives their life. That is what equality under the rule of law is.

  3. “Why is it so hard for gays to acknowledge that not all people who feel these attractions choose to act on them? They prefer not to take part in a lifestyle for reasons of their own and are equally free to seek relief from from them. Why would you expect someone to embrace a way of living that is so often filled with misery, grief and suicide? While you are busy lobbying for equal rights for gays, how about allowing others their equal rights? Every person has the ability to choose the way he or she lives their life. That is what equality under the rule of law is.”

    Reparative “therapy” is often forced on minors whose parents deny them the right to choose the way they wish to live. It’s side effects include a huge increase in the risk of suicide, depression, and other mental illnesses. It also tends to raise the risk significantly for drug and alcohol abuse. For a therapy that is supposed to “repair” people, it has a devastating effect. This is among the chief reasons we protest it. Were it simply a desire by patients to change and a therapy that was effective rather than dangerous quackery, there would be far less protest and the APA wouldn’t have condemned it.

    To promote this service is the moral equivalent of promoting tobacco use or selling drugs. Sure, some people can handle it and come out the other end of the experience unscathed, but the risks far outweigh the benefits, which is why you don’t see billboards for meth or tobacco.

  4. I know someone who drives by this billboard often and they said yesterday they didn’t see it up. Can anyone confirm it was taken down?

    It seems as if the motive behind this therapy is to continue to breed hate, fear and shame under the guise of the freedom to seek what therapy a person wants. Freedom is what this country was founded on, and unfortunately it was also founded on oppression hate and violence, which reign supreme.

    Unconditional self love will heal all. For when one truly loves themself, they then have the capacity to truly have compassion and concern for others, regardless of differing thoughts, opinions, heritage and lifestyles. Hate and fear slip away, and acceptance comes fourth.

  5. What is wrong with you people. ….I have 2 gay girls…..they are precious.to me ……its called unconditional love…..so what if people are gay they are people too just like any body else. ….its people like you who cause gay people to take their life…..you are the sick ones…. dumb asses. …..I have known many gay people in my life they are wonderful people. …we all have the right to choose who we want to be with. ……its not up to you. …This is sick!!!!! Worry about your own life not anybody elses….. parents are not good parents if they don’t let their children be who they are…..Think About this ….your just throwing your kids under the bus……elk river is stupid doing something like this. …you will have a mess on your hands. …….sick

  6. Why is it that men are always emphasized? Is that suggesting that women whom are lesbians are acceptable? I find it odd that men are always repulsed by gay males, but not by females.

    At which point do you accept that we are no different? We bleed the same, cry the same, breathe the same, sleep the same, born the same, and die the same. The only difference is, is that we all have a different path chosen for us. People’s paths are different; some become doctors, nurses, teachers, lawyers, plumbers, carpenters, scientists, murderers, parents, brothers, sisters, or simply individuals of society.

    What is wrong with being gay? I’m no different than you. I lead a fairly successful life for being 22. I’ve had more life experiences than somebody 3 times my age. I’m happy with who I am. I’m supported by those whom matter to me. I wouldn’t change a thing even if I could.

    I am going to be sending you a proposal, Mr. Pickup. If it is something that you are interested in, I encourage you to contact me. I will send a copy to both of your “facilities” to ensure that you receive it in a timely manner.

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