Protesters disrupt ex-gay speaker at Georgia State

Southern Voice, Georgia/April 11, 2008

Richard Cohen, founder of the International Healing Foundation, made a presentation on "Transitioning from Homosexual to Heterosexual" to an audience comprised of 50-plus gay and lesbian protesters and about 20 supporters of his "Freedom to Choose" theories at Georgia State University April 4, 1991.

Cohen's talk was sponsored by the student group Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles, or CARP, a branch of Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church.

Cohen, who claimed to have a male lover for three years, told the audience, "Homosexuality - is the symptom of an emotional problem" and that "the facts do no support this assertion [that gays] were born homosexual." He presented his own transition from "the pain and suffering of being gay" as support for his thesis.

There were shouts and whistles from protesters throughout Cohen's talk. Some of the protesters from Queer Nation and ACT UP believed Cohen's presentation was part of a larger agenda to create a media image of lesbians and gay men as angry, abusive and unwilling to permit free speech.

Protesters shouted, "Moonie propaganda!" and "This is pseudoscientific!" Two women held up a sign that said, "Root causes of homophobia: A) Ignorance B) Hatred."

Cohen remains a controversial figure in the ex-gay movement and was mocked for showing his "holding technique" to Paula Zahn on CNN in 2006.

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