Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays
(PFOX) is a non-profit organization providing outreach, education, and public awareness in support of the ex-gay
community. PFOX maintains that homosexuality is a choice, not a product of biological determination. The PFOX website states: "We must seek the facts and love our children unconditionally without having to affirm their homosexual behavior." The organization is a signatory member of Positive Alternatives to Homosexuality (PATH), which is "a non-profit coalition of organizations that help people with unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA) realize their personal goals for change -- whether by developing their innate heterosexual potential or by embracing a lifestyle as a single, non-sexually active man or woman. Richard Cohen
was once the president of PFOX, and Cohen was a founding member of PATH. PFOX also advocates acceptance of people who identify as ex-gay. The current National Director of PFOX, whose son is openly gay, is Regina Griggs.
PFOX was founded in 1998
, and is headquartered in Fort Belvoir, Virginia
. Associates find both secular
and faith-based conversion therapy
to be valid. PFOX is a signatory organization of Positive Alternatives To Homosexuality
(PATH), and has adopted PATH's Statement of Principles
, which states: "We do work to raise awareness of alternatives to living a homosexual life..."
PFOX voiced opposition to "grade-specific sex education and information about HIV/AIDS" on the basis that "the standards are not age-appropriate and would undermine abstinence-only messages." PFOX opposed "legislation to protect transgender individuals from discrimination" with a stated concern that it would give "male cross-dressers access to women's restrooms".
Richard A. Cohen
, prominently ex-gay
, was the president of PFOX for a period of time. Cohen later left this role.
After Cohen was interviewed by Jason Jones on the March 19, 2007 episode of The Daily Show, PFOX systematically removed all references to Cohen from their website.
The medical and scientific consensus is that attempts at eliminating same-sex attractions are not effective and are potentially harmful.
The ethics and efficacy of these procedures are rejected by all mainstream medical and mental health associations that have taken a position on the topic. Their stance is that sexual orientation is unchangeable, and that attempts to do so are often damaging to the person's well-being. The American Psychiatric Association states that "ethical practitioners refrain from attempts to change individuals' sexual orientation.
Major organizations that reject conversion therapy include the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of School Administrators, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Education Association. .
In 2005, PFOX was barred from presenting a workshop at the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Convention. They have also been denied participation at events held by the National Mental Health Association, the National Education Association, and the American Association of University Women. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), which has been an invited guest to the National PTA convention in recent years, has responded to PFOX:
- PFLAG and others also find the basic premise of PFOX’s rationale confusing. If someone is not gay or bisexual, they are heterosexual. "Since this is the case," says PFLAG’s executive director Jody Huckaby, "PFOX should have no concerns. PFLAG supports safe schools for all sexual orientations - gay, bisexual and heterosexual."