Scientology Crime Syndicate


john@wiredstrategies.com (John Aravosis)

Gay Politics: Online & With an Edge
September 20, 2000

BREAKING NEWS: #1 EX-GAY LEADER REPORTEDLY CAUGHT IN DC GAY BAR Claims he was only peeing; 40 minutes and a drink later

It's been a bad couple of weeks for celebrity gay couples. First Anne and Ellen, then Melissa and Julie, now John and Anne. John and Anne?

John Paulk - the nation's most famous "ex-gay" - was reportedly caught in a gay bar in Washington, DC late last night by Wayne Besen and Darryl Herrschaft of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Paulk, you'll recall, was on the cover of Newsweek on August 17, 1998, with his "wife" Anne, proclaiming that they used to be gay, but now are cured. John Paulk is currently Chairman of the North American Board of Exodus International, "the largest homosexual-recovery organization in the world" (they say). Paulk is literally the militant fundamentalist's number one poster boy for "ex-gays" - his wife even appeared in the infamous "ex- gay" ads two years back. Read his bio here:


[You can read Joel Lawson's breaking story about Paulk's "outing" at Southern Voice's Web site – Lawson’s story includes photos taken on the scene by HRC’s Besen:

http://www.southernvoice.com/southernvoice/news/record.html?record=10262 ]

It all began when HRC staffer Daryl Herrschaft, 27, decided to grab a drink at a local bar to unwind. "I wanted to get a drink where I didn't think I'd know anybody," Herrschaft told me. Unfortunately for Herrschaft, about 9:45PM last night someone walked in who looked very much like someone he knew: "ex-gay" celebrity John Paulk.

Herrschaft thought he recognized the man as Paulk, but didn't really focus on the import of what he'd seen until he turned around about 15 minutes later and the man was standing right behind him. Herrschaft said hi, and struck up a conversation with the Paulk look-alike in which the individual admitted his name was John, and that he was from Colorado Springs (Paulk does in fact live in Colorado Springs). Herrschaft says he asked if the man was gay, and he said yes. The man then reportedly offered to buy him a drink (Herrschaft declined).

"He was a hostile witness," Herrschaft told me. "He was evasive, but he kept me engaged. He wouldn't let the conversation die." The man claimed he worked in "graphic design," and when Herrschaft asked him his last name, he said said "Clint." Herrschaft responded, "are you sure it's not Paulk?" The man said no. After about 5 to 7 minutes, Herrschaft excused himself, found a phone, and called HRC's Wayne Besen.

Wayne Besen, HRC's deputy press secretary, is an expert on the "ex-gays" and has debated Paulk and met him more than once. Besen arrived at the bar, camera in tow, about 40 minutes after Herrschaft initially saw reputed "ex-gay" enter the bar.

As soon as Besen entered, the man apparently recognized him - and Besen absolutely recognized the man as Paulk. According to witnesses, the man tried to hide, so Besen started snapping photos. The bar owner, unaware of who Besen was, or what was going on, escorted him out of the bar (presumably because he thought this was perhaps some homophobe harassing a gay customer). Besen then explained to the bouncer what was going on, while the reputed "ex-gay" reportedly asked a bar employee if there was a back way out of the establishment - the employee reportedly refused to help.

A few minutes later, Herrschaft says the man exited the bar's front door, "head down, walking in a straight line up the street very quickly." HRC's camera-toting Besen followed him all the way to the Dupont Circle metro stop, about 2 blocks.

How is Besen sure this was Paulk? First, because Paulk reportedly phoned Besen today and told him he was at the bar, and just stepping in to use the bathroom, he now claims (Focus on the Family also confirmed to Southern Voice's Lawson this morning that Paulk was in DC on business). Paulk also reportedly called Lawson, and told him the same "bathroom" story he gave Besen. Besen reportedly asked Paulk why it took him over 40 minutes to use the bathroom (the amount of time between when Paulk was first spotted by HRC staff, and Besen's arrival), and why, if he was just using the bathroom, was Paulk reportedly seated at the bar, drink in hand (Lawson says Paulk told him it was water), reportedly in intimate conversation with another male customer? And, were Paulk simply using the bathroom, why did he reportedly lie to HRC's staff when they confronted him, pretending he was really "John Clint"?

I had raised doubts about Paulk's "cure" two years ago. At the time, I reported that "In a previously forgotten Wall Street Journal interview, the nation's most prominent 'ex- gay,' John Paulk, admitted to not being 100% cured of his homosexuality even though he was already married to a woman."

On April 21, 1993, John Paulk admitted to the Wall Street Journal that his new-found straight orientation was not as intense as that of the "average man on the street." Paulk confessed that he was unsure he would ever have the "intensity for sex with women" that most straight men have.

In the same interview, Paulk also put cold water on the notion that he and his wife were yet cured of their gay orientations: "To say that we've arrived at this place of total heterosexuality - that we're totally healed - is misleading," Paulk told the Journal. Time magazine added further fuel to the Paulk credibility fire. On July 27, 1998, the magazine reported being unable to find even one former girlfriend of the supposedly former-lesbian Anne Paulk. Mrs. Paulk refused to offer the name of a single lesbian lover. In addition, Time reports that Paulk "conceded that her ties to women in college were 'more emotional than sexual.'" Things that make you go hmmmm.

Paulk picked one hell of a place to pee, if that's his final answer to the accusations. Mr. P's is not exactly the Taj Mahal of gay bars in Washington, DC (and is conveniently kitty-corner from the most notorious pick-up spot in the city: P-Street Beach, which is actually a dark wooded area.) And there are lots of places nearby that Paulk could have chosen to go to the bathroom - like an enormous coffee shop right across the street, and the Barcelo hotel literally next door - rather than a small hole-in-the-wall bar, that frankly, to me at least, has always looked kind of scary. (And Paulk ain't exactly the butchest guy you've seen - you can catch his picture here:


In the end, "Pee-gate" came about because some smart HRC staffers were on the ball in the right place at the right time. "It was not the night I was expecting to have, or wanted to have," HRC's Herrschaft told me. "This guy [Paulk] has made a cottage industry out of preying on people's insecurities. I felt I had to do my part to expose this man for who he is."

Atta boy, HRC.


Some of Paulk's quotes about homosexuality, from Focus on the Family's Web site:

"Homosexuality is a lonely and disillusioning way of life. There is a reason why this behavior has been considered morally wrong throughout most of human history. Can you think of any other form of immorality which has been set aside for a month of celebration by an American president? How indicative of his character and our depravity as a nation."

"To those of you who are parents, I say, "Be aware!" Your children are being inundated with inaccurate - but enticing - messages about homosexuality. Television, movies, music and an increasing number of public schools constantly reinforce the idea that "gay is good." Monitor the influences your children are receiving, and address the subject of homosexuality directly with them."

"It's an honor to be a role model for those struggling to leave homosexuality behind," says Paulk. "My wife and I, and thousands of others, serve as living proof that change is possible. By taking a bold stand against the lies that say homosexuality is biological and unchangeable, we hope to encourage others desperate to escape homosexuality. "The gay activist agenda, which includes 'National Coming Out Day,' is promoted heavily by Hollywood and the media. Focus on the Family believes that 'National Coming Out of Homosexuality Day' is crucial in order to provide the American public with the other side of the issue."

"Primarily, our concern centers on the destructive messages being sent to today's youth. Millions of young people struggling with a variety of issues are being encouraged to 'come out' as a solution to their problems. Our goal is to point teens, their parents and teachers in another direction- -that of an achievable, healthy, normal heterosexual identity," says Paulk."

"We believe that a young person struggling with homosexual tendencies should also be informed of healthy alternatives to homosexuality," says Paulk. "It is irresponsible for educators to steer that person into a potentially dangerous and lonely lifestyle."


Fundies, what's that?


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