Abomination: Homosexuality and the Ex-Gay Movement

2006 | Activism / Coming Out / Documentary / Homophobia / Human Rights / Lesbian / Marriage Equality / Mental Health / Parenting/Family / Relationships / Religion/Spirituality / Sexuality / Social Issues | 27m | USA
Directors: Alicia Salzer, MD

This 2006 short documentary was one of the first to shine a light on proponents of so-called “reparative therapy.” Abomination: Homosexuality and the Ex-Gay Movement profiles the journeys of four LGBTQ Christians who did everything possible to become heterosexual by following the “treatment” protocols of the so-called ex-gay ministries. At times heartbreaking, at other times hilarious, the approaches taken by these religious groups range from shock therapy and hypnosis to “gender coaching.” Ultimately, the “therapy” fails, even for the ministers in charge as they repeatedly scandalize themselves by “relapsing into gayness.”

Some of Abomination’s subjects spent decades in torment before they ultimately redefined their values, morals, and beliefs to allow themselves an identity that is both gay and Christian. In addition to the LGBTQ subjects, this film also introduces viewers to Mary Lou, a fundamentalist Christian mother who has a change of heart, realizing, “Jesus Christ himself would not have treated my daughter the way I did.” Abomination is a poignant testimony to the healing power of love on the road to self-acceptance. It is also a film about human rights and the fragility of our liberty in an increasingly fundamentalist America.

Reviews and Awards

“…. a starting point for discussion about the credibility of reparative therapy and the hypocrisy of the ex-gay movement. … The power of the film lies in its message that self-acceptance and meaningful unqualified love are the great spiritual healers.”—Warren Hawkes, Library, New York State Nurses Association, for Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO) “ Abomination: Homosexuality and the Ex-Gay Movement provides a range of voices that explore the truth about the failure of the ex-gay movement to change people’s lives for the better and, indeed, offers personal testimony to the pain and despair that it creates in the very people it claims to help. The people featured in Abomination …speak eloquently for the possibility of making peace between faith and orientation.” — Bill Blackburn, workshop leader, “Developing a Greater Sensitivity and Understanding When Caring for the LGBT Patient Population”