Is an extremist ex-gay group coming to Australia?

//Is an extremist ex-gay group coming to Australia?

Is an extremist ex-gay group coming to Australia?

Some of us received a disturbing newsletter from the LGBT activist group AllOut yesterday saying.

They’re coming to Australia. This week, an extremist religious group is holding workshops for gays and lesbians on how to hate themselves for who they are. These type of “therapy sessions” collect cash for one purpose only: to sell the idea that people who are not straight should stifle it.

On Sunday it’s happening in Sydney. But we can shut it down. Already almost 50,000 people around the world have taken a stand against these harmful and unnecessary treatments – and All Out members successfully called governments to action in France and Argentina.

We’re setting off a global domino effect to shut down these sessions and ban “gay cures” for good. Will you call on the Australian government, and the governments at every tour-stop, to stand against “gay cures”?

Immediately I began getting emails and messages from people distressed and angry about this news.

This was disturbing to many of us because:

  1. Those of us who have been monitoring ex-gay activities in Australia for many years knew nothing about these things.
  2. The newsletter gave the impression there was a new push in this country when clearly ex-gay ministries are in decline here. Two thirds gone in the last decade

All my inquiries and research within Australia came up with nothing.

I spoke with a representative at AllOut in New York this morning. AllOut’s initiatives globally have been and are important projects worth supporting. One of their projects is to follow Desert Streams seminars around the world and do activism in those countries by engaging with the governments and making them aware of the dangers of associated with ex-gay programs.

Unfortunately the information in the AllOut newsletter sent to Australian’s wasn’t entirely correct. 

They’re coming to Australia. ….They is referring to Desert Stream…….but they are not coming here. Desert Stream is branded Living Waters here. It is not a Desert Stream organisation as such but uses Andy Comisky’s Living Waters programs and are affiliated. 

On Sunday it’s happening in Sydney. An error has been made here. AllOut got this information from this page assuming this was a Desert Stream initiative as they are doing in other parts of the world (Europe, USA & Asia). As I pointed out to the AllOut representative, these programs have actually been running regularly for the last 20 years in Australia (and appears to gettiing less and less attending)…….so this is nothing new or a US/Desert Stream initiative as expressed in the newsletter.

I will continue to keep you informed about progress here in Australia.

We will be continue to determine ways we can effectively overcome misinformation and ignorance about sexuality and gender diversity here in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. If you would like to support this work then use the DONATE button on top right hand corner.


Press quote:

“I was shocked when I read the AllOut newsletter announcing an extremist Christian organisation was coming to Australia and commencing ex-gay programs the coming weekend. Shocked because I’ve been monitoring ex-gay activities in Australia and New Zealand for 12 years now and wondered how such a significant event could have slipped under my radar. Then I began getting emails and messages from people who were also distressed and angry about the news. When I contacted a representative at AllOut in New York I discovered where the error had been made. It is easy to see how AllOut had connected dots in cyberspace and come to a false assumption. But an email or call to someone in this Australia with expertise and local knowledge would have made them realise their one plus one equalled three. The group they are speaking about has been operating for over 20 years here and the programs they said were being launched have been declining in numbers and frequency as I pointed out two years ago. A little bit of extra homework on AllOut’s part would have saved us all some unnecessary stress.”

Anthony Venn-Brown

Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International

About the Author:

Anthony Venn-Brown
Anthony Venn-Brown is one of Australia’s foremost commentators on faith and sexuality. His best-selling autobiography 'A Life of Unlearning – a preacher’s struggle with his homosexuality, church and faith', details his journey from being one of the first in the world to experience religious gay conversion therapy, becoming a married, high profile preacher in Australia's growing mega-churches, such as Hillsong, to living as an openly gay man. Anthony was the co-founder and former leader of Freedom2b. He is an educator and consultant on LGBT/faith issues and leader in deconstructing the ex-gay/reparative/conversion therapy myth. Anthony is the founder and CEO of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International. Anthony has been recognised on a number of occassions for his contribution and impact including being twice voted one of 'The 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians’.


  1. Phil August 9, 2012 at 11:10 am - Reply

    Thank you Anthony for this great update. I did wonder what was going on when you had not heard of this – your efforts are much appreciated

    Phil Browne

  2. Anthony Venn-Brown August 9, 2012 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    thanks Phil….i was rather disturbed myself when I got the newsletter. I know I am not perfect and things do slip under the radar but was shocked when I read the newsletter…then I began to get emails and messages from people asking what was going on. I did wonder…considering the beating ex-gay ministries had received recently here in Australia if they had gone completely underground and AllOut had access to some info I didn't. Good to know we are not being invaded….but we would only send them packing again like we did with Adam Hood.

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