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Ex-gay conference descends upon San Diego, protesters are ready

Members of the Restored Hope Network.
Photo credit:
RHN - Facebook

Late last year San Diego Gay and Lesbian News told you of a conversion therapy conference produced by the Restored Hope Network coming to San Diego this weekend.

The news was not met lightly by locals or survivors of the ex-gay treatments and a protest was immediately planned by a local entertainer.

On Thursday evening Hillcrest was the scene of a preliminary protest against the conference at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral on Sixth Avenue.

Demonstrators gathered at the church to send a message to Restored Hope that they are not welcome in San Diego.

"I've known I was a boy since I could walk, and it's been that way ever since," said Sam Moehlig to CBS 8.

His mother, Kathie, was also at the protest to support him, "My son didn't wake up one day and say 'gee the trans experience would be really cool to have'... he was born this way, this is who he is.”

But Restored Hope Network thinks that LGBT people can change who they are through religious scripture and prayer.

Restored Hopes Network's Mission statement says they are, “Dedicated to restoring hope to those broken by sexual and relational sin, especially those impacted by homosexuality.”

Jerry Reiter, an ex-gay survivor, who has been involved with exposing reparative therapy and ex-gay groups told us last year that this organization is a very real threat to the community.

"The particular group that is coming advances both ex-gay ministry and reparative therapy, and they have never met an anti-gay policy they did not like enough to speak out against it, including Uganda's 'kill the gays' bills of just a couple years ago."

In March we reported on local entertainer Lilly Holiday who is organizing a protest at the conference site.

She says she is doing it for the children.

“I feel that these people are attacking the most vulnerable members of that marginalized group: the youth,” Lilly told SDGLN. “Kids have very few legal options if their parents want to put them through something as traumatic as conversion therapy. And it is very traumatic.”

Although it is illegal in California to practice conversion therapy, that only applies to children 18 and under. Adults may still seek out this type of treatment through religious organizations that practice it.

In a June 11 post on RHN's Facebook page, they say they arrived in San Diego almost a week prior to the event:

"What a delight to be here and I know that the Lord God will do amazing things here this week in the lives of all those who seek Him. God is so good!

Looking forward to seeing many of you here soon!"

So far, 1.2K people have signed up to protest the conference over the weekend. 

You can join the protest by clicking HERE. 

The Restored Hope Network's conference will be held on Friday, June 16 and Saturday, June 17 at the City View Church just four miles northeast of Hillcrest. 

Timothy Rawles  is Community Editor of SDGLN. He can be reached at [email protected], @reporter66 on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.