My problem with these so-called ex-gay ministries placing advertisements [news story, Oct. 21] is that they claim to know -- and, more important, to own -- the truth. Personally, I don't care why I'm gay: I just am, and that's good enough for me and those I love and who love me. I'm sure most heterosexuals don't question why they're straight.

If groups like Focus on the Family can't persuade infidels like me to live the way they want me to, it's not too far a stretch to see what tactics come after newspaper ads and conferences. All it takes is a few radicals who take these ideas to the extreme to add to the ranks of the Matthew Shepards of the world.

They can name their "ex-gay" conference "Love Won Out," but that doesn't make it true for those who suffer the fallout of hatred, misunderstanding and violence. I just pray that one day it will be enough for people to come out, share their truth about themselves and be accepted for who God made them, not rejected for who they're not.

DAN KAUFMAN

Arlington

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Thank you for "Ads Renew 'Ex-Gay' Debate" about John Paulk and the ex-gay movement. As a Christian lesbian, I find it interesting that Mr. Paulk admits that he went to a gay bar two years ago because it was a place he felt comfortable. He also says in the advertisement that he wanted to run in the Washington Blade that he went to the bar because he felt at home there. Does that mean that he doesn't feel at home when he's with his family or among the ex-gay crowd he hangs with?

I wish that evangelist James Dobson and John Paulk would realize that when they say that I am wrong for being gay, they are not sharing the love of Christ. They are making a mockery of it. I've read the Bible. I've studied it, in fact. I find nothing in it to suggest that my partner and I are living contrary to what God wants for us.

On Nov. 2 I will be busy "marrying" the woman I have loved for nine years. My parents, who I had always hoped would be there for my wedding, are going to be in the company of Mr. Paulk and others like him at the Love Won Out seminar that day. Unfortunately, love won't win out that day for my parents and myself.

SHARONE BELT

Annandale