Friday, July 24, 2009

Bryce Faulkner: A Crime? Or Just a Crying Shame?

I have been trying for the past several days to sort out how I feel about the case of Bryce Faulkner. Bryce was brought to my attention when I was invited to join a Facebook group whose purpose is to rescue this young man from what they believe is an attempt to deprogram him from being gay. According to the Facebook group (and the website that has been set up on his behalf), Bryce has been placed in an intensive kind of rehab program that will cause him to literally straighten up and fly right.

Now, I don’t know if in the strictest legal sense, this is a crime. But in a moral sense, I think trying to “change” a person’s sexual orientation is most definitely a crime against nature. Speaking as a gay man who fought his own orientation until he was in his thirties, I can say from personal experience that changing one’s sexual orientation is neither possible nor desirable. It’s like changing the color of a person’s eyes. You may be able to throw on green tinted contact lens over blue irises, but those irises will always be blue.

Here’s a little background on the case, taken from the Facebook group, “Friends of Bryce” (now deleted by Facebook):

This group has been created in order to try and find and save a young man, Bryce Faulkner, from the clutches of conservative Fundamentalists who are trying to "cure" his homosexuality and bring greater attention to these organizations that thrust their theological philosophies on vulnerable victims. It is my desire to not only enlist aid in finding and rescuing him, but to discuss similar stories and create a list of organizations to be aware of that perpetrate the notion that being gay is evil, spiritually void and a choice...

According to the website, Bryce has now been missing for over a month. They say:

“Young Bryce Faulkner …was brow beaten, manipulated and economically bullied into “agreeing” to an intervention to “cure” his homosexuality…Bryce Faulkner is a bright young pre-med student who, like many in college, was totally dependent upon his parents for survival. His car, his cell phone, his education, even his job were all connected to his parents’ purse strings. Bryce was making plans to come out to his parents, but before he had the opportunity to carry out these plans, his mother found his email password and discovered communications between he and his lover Travis Of Green Bay, Wisconsin. As any person from the south, especially those whom have a conservative fundamentalist family and has come out of the closet knows, the family can become quite volatile in their reaction to the news. Bryce is no exception to this. In order to manipulate Bryce into accepting "treatment" for his homosexuality, they took away everything and left him the choice of becoming homeless and destitute or going into therapy… The program he is going into is a 14-month program, one of the most severe and intense of these kinds of programs…”

You can read more about the case at Help Save Bryce! website.

This is a situation that makes my heart ache. The only thing I would have said to Bryce, if the above scenario is true, is that he should have told his parents to keep their money, car, cell phone, and funds for education. The strings attached and the cost to a young person’s psyche would far outweigh what he would have lost. No one should have to surrender who they are in exchange for worldly goods.

I have found it very difficult to find any solid information about Bryce or his whereabouts. I don’t know if that’s due to his parents holding him hostage through this intervention group, or if there are facts I just don’t know about the case. But what is damning to me about this whole issue is the fact of Bryce’s silence. In spite of increasing web coverage of the case, there is no word anywhere that I could find from the young man himself. His parents, I understand, have threatened legal action against the people behind the website and Facebook group. Again, I wonder: is trying to rescue a person from a dubious, possibly emotionally and mentally damaging situation a crime? And why won’t, or can’t, Bryce speak for himself?

If you want to show your support for Bryce Faulkner and to perhaps somehow, some way free him from the clutches of those who seek to deprogram him away from what is a very natural state of being, visit the website and leave an encouraging message, and just try to get the word out about what could very possibly be a travesty.

I know that’s what I’m doing.


  1. May I refer you to Peterson Toscano, who has been covering this since it broke?

    Silence is the norm with these programs. They are not allowed phone or internet, contact with people other than church folks or anything.

  2. Thanks for the link, Angelia...really great coverage.