Returning to Zach’s story, it’s June 14th. According to Zach’s blog, his time (internment?) at Refuge started on June 6th, and ends on June 17th or 20th. So, he’s been there a week now, and has somewhere around a week left to go.
It’s impossible to know what Zach’s experiencing while he’s there, but the Queer Action Coalition blog has a link to an article (registration required, BugMeNot works tho’) that offers some insight through the experience of a man — Peter Toscano — who went through the Love In Action program voluntarily, before finally coming to terms with his homosexuality.
At a cost of $950 a month, Toscano, now 40, stayed in LIA’s residential program for more than two years.
The rules dictated he shave every day, and stay out of the forbidden zones: Midtown, Downtown and anywhere west of Highland. In group therapy, clients were instructed to share their sexual thoughts and homosexual experiences in clinical terms. (Smid says the group sharing of sexual experiences is no longer a part of the therapy.)
Toscano says he was in a “biblically induced coma, with a toxic mixture of fear and shame.”
“We had a mock funeral for a 19-year-old” also in the program, he says. “We actually laid him out on the table, so we could talk about what a shame he didn’t live his life right.”
While he was at LIA, a fellow client tried to kill himself.
It took Toscano, now a Quaker, 17 years of submitting to the ex-gay movement to realize that “there’s nothing that can be done … and nothing need be done” about his sexual identity.
And that’s just a glimpse. With any luck, Zach is strong enough and had enough support that he’ll be able to get through two weeks of this relatively unscathed. He’s got a couple of things in his favor, one being that he apparently knows how to reach out to people, and that so many have already repsonded with support.
Let’s hope he’s able to resist being put into a “biblically induced coma.”