National Gay Rights Group Moves to Burlington | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

National Gay Rights Group Moves to Burlington 

Published December 10, 2010 at 11:29 a.m.

A national gay rights group that has made a name for itself countering the so-called "ex-gay" industry — which claims to help people "pray away the gay" — is moving to Burlington.

Truth Wins Out founder and executive director Wayne Besen said he chose Burlington as a way to cut operating costs, but also believes the region's well-educated workforce will help it find new volunteers to continue its work. Besen first began thinking about the move in 2009 after he spoke at the University of Vermont.

In 2009, Vermont became the first state in the nation to enact same-sex marriage by legislative fiat rather than a court ruling. To do so, the legislature had to override a gubernatorial veto.

"Burlington is a charming college town situated on a magnificent lake with smart people who can help us monitor anti-gay religious extremism," said Besen. "By moving to Burlington, we will significantly cut costs in tough economic times. While Burlington is not a large city, it is in a great location because it is only a short flight from Boston, New York City, Chicago, or Washington."

It's not clear how many workers TWO employs and whether it will transfer those jobs to Vermont or hire when it arrives.

Truth Wins Out is a small organization that has been featured on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Rachel Maddow Show, The O'Reilly Factor, NBC Nightly News, Hannity and Colmes, CNN, The New York Times, The Advocate, The Associated Press, The Daily Beast, and The Wall Street Journal.

Among the groups that TWO monitors are The Family Research Council, Exodus International and People Can Change.

In 2006, Besen was recognized in The Advocate magazine's "People of the Year" issue. In 2009, he was named in Instinct Magazine as a "Leading Man." In 2010, Besen was awarded the "Visionary Award" at the Out Music Awards for organizing the American Prayer Hour, an event which shined a spotlight on the role American evangelicals played in the introduction of Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Just this week, Maddow interviewed the Ugandan leader who championed the anti-homosexuality bill in that country.

TWO studies the "ex-gay" industry and has exposed some of its leaders as frauds. In 2003, Besen wrote the book, "Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth" (Haworth). Before founding TWO, Besen was the lead spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign.

One or more images has been removed from this article. For further information, contact
Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Tags: ,

More By This Author

About The Author

Shay Totten

Shay Totten

Shay Totten wrote "Fair Game," a weekly political column, from April 2008-December 2011.

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation