Major LGBTQ organizations have stepped up to assist bisexual male escort Jo-Vanni Roman against any possible legal action by Dr. George Alan Rekers, co-founder of the Family Research Council, recent member of NARTH and a recent sexual massage client of Jo-Vanni Roman. These organizations have offered to provide legal and media consultation regarding the breaking story that Dr. Rekers' hired Roman for a subsidized 10-day vacation in Europe from a website know as Rentboy.com.
According to Joe.My.God, a gay blogger who interviewed Roman after he and Dr. Rekers were caught returning from their gaycation by photographers of the Miami New Times, those organizations include Equality Florida, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Truth Wins Out, The Trevor Project, and Lambda Legal.
"Noted Hollywood publicity agent Howard Bragman, who specializes in media crisis management, has volunteered to help Jo-Vanni Roman navigate the deluge of interview requests. They are scheduled to speak today [May 9]. Florida-based attorney Ron Gunzburger has also made an offer of pro bono support, should the need arise. Other national and state organizations may be added to this list in the next few days."
In a follow-up interview to their breaking story, Roman reveals to MNT that Rekers confessed he had hired other male escorts before him:
"The 20-year-old escort said Rekers told him he was not the first 'travel assistant' he had hired, but that he was the first to do any 'traveling' . . .
" 'He's told me that he's hired other escorts, and it's never really worked out,' Lucien [aka Roman] said. 'They don't talk enough, or they've had very weird circumstances... Basically, he's never been fully comfortable with the situation, or they've jipped him. Jipped him of time or money.' "
To add more fuel to the fire, a blogger calling himself the Chazonator now also claims to have been hired by Dr. George Rekers in the past to provide the same sort of sexual massage described by Roman in MTN's follow-up interview:
" 'He asked me to rub him a certain way, stroking the penis across the leg and under the leg area.
" 'Basically he told me to stroke across the penis and the thigh, and to go back and forth, not necessarily give it a jerking motion.'
"Lucien [Roman] claims Rekers would sometimes reciprocate the genital rub."
According to TPMMuckraker, Rekers, an influential member of the religious right and long-time advocate of ex-gay therapy, resigned this morning from the board of NARTH.
The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, founded in December of 1991 by Charles Socarides, Benjamin Kaufman, Joe Nicolosi, and others, was established to counter the 1973 decision by the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (at that time, the DSM-II). Against mainstream psychiatry and psychoanalysis, NARTH has continued to maintain that homosexuality, bisexuality and non-conforming gender identification are mental illnesses that can and should be "cured."
From its own website, under "NARTH Responds to the Recent Media Coverage of Dr. George Rekers"
" 'I am immediately resigning my membership in NARTH to allow myself the time necessary to fight the false media reports that have been made against me. With the assistance of a defamation attorney, I will fight these false reports because I have not engaged in any homosexual behavior whatsoever. I am not gay and never have been.' --George A. Rekers, Ph.D.
"NARTH has accepted Dr. Rekers' resignation and would hope that the legal process will sufficiently clarify the questions that have arisen in this unfortunate situation. . . .We also wish to reiterate our traditional position that these personal controversies do not change the scientific data, nor do they detract from the important work of NARTH . . ."
NARTH vice president of operations David Pruden has been quoted by TPMMuckrakers as to NARTH's current relationship with the conservative Baptist minister, "NARTH has never had any role in advising Dr. Rekers except to suggest that if he is innocent he needs a good lawyer . . . He has friends who are members of NARTH . . . they are free to help him in any way they select. . . NARTH as an organization has taken no official role other than asking him to explain to us what has happened and in accepting his resignation."
An appropriate organizational response from an organization in the act of throwing a big rat off its ship, before said rat actually sinks the ship.
Whether the rat will ever be able to swim back on board depends on his ability to defend himself, either in an official court or in the court of public opinion.
Two stories from the Huffington Post and On Top Magazine now suggest that Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum will face the impact of Rekers' homosex scandal in his bid for the Republican nomination to run for governor in Florida's upcoming election.
McCollum personally urged the state to hire Dr. Rekers as a state's expert witness in favor of Florida's gay adoption ban. The cost for Rekers' testimony--a hefty $120,000 out of Florida's coffers. McCollum's endorsement is plainly expressed in a 2007 letter to the Department to Children and Families.
From On Top Magazine:
"Florida is the only state with an outright ban on gay adoption. It was enacted during the infamous Anita Bryant anti-gay crusades of the 70s.
"Because gay men and lesbians have a high incidence of substance abuse and depression, they are unable to provide children a stable home, Rekers testified.
"The testimony, however, was found to be not credible by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman, who called the ban unconstitutional, the Miami Herald reported. Lederman's ruling has been appealed to the Third District Court of Appeals. A ruling is expected soon."
And in a story from the Orlando Sentinel on Rekers' testimony:
"Rekers was so embarrassing, even back in 2008, that McCollum's office blamed DCF for finding him. That infuriated a DCF official, who said the Attorney General's Office found him, which McCollum now confirms.
"The Florida judge didn't find Rekers any more credible than the Arizona judge and tossed out the state's gay adoption ban. The Attorney General's Office is appealing.
"McCollum says he is obligated to do so, having been hired by DCF to defend the 1977 law. Asked whether he supported the law personally, he said he couldn't comment on an active case. But he pointed out one of his campaign consultants is a gay man who adopted children in another state."
So, who shall we name as Hypocrite of the Week? An old, religious right culture warrior like Rekers, with infamous history of denouncing queers as"sick but curable"--yet works a yen for young guys who will give him "the long stroke"? Or a middle-aged Republican politico who champions, by any means necessary, Florida's anti-gay adoption ban, but also hires gay consultants who adopt kids from other states? Maybe we could throw those gay consultants into the competition, too, just for the fun of it.
Well, for the fun of it--enjoy the "official statement" of Rentboy.com, the site Rekers went to when he was looking for a travel companion and "luggage handler."