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Wayne Besen

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Wayne Besen is an author, activist, columnist and public speaker.

He is the author of of Truth Wins Out and author of "Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth" (Haworth, 2003). 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. Besen has appeared on leading news and political talk shows including: the NBC Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight, ABC's Nightline, ABC's Good Morning America, MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC News with Thomas Roberts, CNN's Talk Back Live, CNN's The Point, CNN's AC360, Fox's O'Reilly Factor, FOX's The Sean Hannity Show, and Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Prior to founding TWO, Besen served as a spokesperson for five years with the Human Rights Campaign. He also worked in corporate communications for Edelman Public Relations Worldwide, and served as a press secretary on a U.S. Senate primary in Maine. In 1992, Besen co-founded Sons & Daughters of America (SDA), a gay and lesbian public awareness campaign based in Fort Lauderdale. Besen graduated from University of Florida in 1993. However, he is best known for stepping outside of academic and media settings to prove that ex-gays are not who they purport to be. Besen has an unprecedented record of exposing ex-gay ministries as a hoax and has a demonstrated record of success:

  • Launched undercover investigation proving Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and her husband Marcus own a clinic, Bachmann & Associates, that practices "ex-gay" therapy
  • Led successful campaign to have Apple remove Exodus International's "ex-gay" iPhone app
  • Wayne Besen photo
  • Conceived and coordinated the American Prayer Hour
  • In a joint investigation with South Florida Gay News in 2010, Besen exposed JONAH's Arthur Goldberg as a Wall Street con artist who served time in jail for stealing millions of dollars
  • Photographed Focus on the Family' "ex-gay" poster boy John Paulk in a gay bar on Sept. 19, 2000. Before his downfall, Paulk had been on the cover of Newsweek, 60 Minutes, Good Morning America and Oprah.
  • Helped Uncover Rev. Jerry Falwell' personal HIV+ ex-gay leader, Michael Johnston, picking up men on the Internet and having unsafe sexual relations. Johnston also worked with the American Family Association and Coral Ridge Ministries. He was forced to step down and enter a sex addiction facility in Kentucky.
  • Helped orchestrate the public "coming out" of ex-gay poster boy Wade Richards, who was working with right wing activist Peter LaBarbera, Love In Action and Saviors Alliance for Lifting the Truth (SALT).
  • Revealed that PFOX' President, the ex-gay therapist Richard Cohen, had been kicked out of the American Counseling Association.
  • Spoken at more than 100 universities, churches, business groups and community organizations on this topic, including University of Vermont, Harvard Law School, Arizona State University, University of Connecticut, and University of Florida.


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