PFLAG Statement on Zach’s Release

According to my calculations from the time we first got word that Zach was going to be at Love In Action/Refuge (LIA/R) for a six week extension, this is the week he’s due to get out. I haven’t seen anything in the news about an exact date, and there probably won’t be one, as I’m sure LIA/R probably doesn’t want any publicity around it, nor do Zach’s parents.

But there are news reports of his release sometime this week, along with a statement from Parents, Families & Family of Lesbians & Gays. The statement includes a story from two PFLAG parents who’ve seen "reparative therapy" up close and personal.

Mary Lou Wallner and her husband Bob know the damage of “reparative therapy” all too well. Speaking at a recent PFLAG conference in Bothell, Washington, Mary Lou told the audience that her reaction when her daughter came out was based on the teachings of Dr. James Dobson, a leading “reparative therapy” proponent. “I raised my kids on Dobson. I read his books and listened to his radio broadcasts for years. In December of 1988, when she was about 21 years old, my daughter wrote us a letter and told us that she was a lesbian. I flipped out and…the next nine years were pretty stormy. Then in February of 1997, at age 29, she committed suicide.”

“Looking back, I think a lot of it had to do with the way I taught her about homosexuality. I have since come to understand that almost anybody gets depressed if they can’t be who they really are.”

Like the Wallners, Zach’s parents and other parents considering “reparative therapy” only want the best for their children. However, PFLAG families and our allies must re-double our efforts to educate about the dangers and alternatives to this soundly discredited “treatment.”

“Ultimately we want Zach to be who he is and we accept whatever decision he makes,” said Dr. Arnold Drake, president of PFLAG Memphis. “We also want Zach and his family to know that we’ve been through this before and we are ready and able to support them.”

 That pretty much says it all. Let’s just hope Zach is okay and that his parents "get it" eventually.

About Terrance

Black. Gay. Father. Buddhist. Vegetarian. Liberal.
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