Reverend Donald Timone, a former priest who believes that homosexuals should change their ways with the help of prayer and 12-step principles, was scheduled to speak at Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx.
However, the Catholic school announced Monday that the controversial reverend’s talk would be postponed, and the school’s board of trustees would discuss the wisdom of having him speak at all.
Timone represents Courage and EnCourage, two “reparative therapy” groups that attempt to turn homosexuals straight via religion.
Spellman graduate Clinton Leupp, 48, was among the most vocal opponents of Timone’s philosophy. “It makes it look like it’s a support group, but once you really see what they are doing it’s disturbing,” said Leupp. “They are trying to shame these kids!”
Leupp is now a cabaret drag performer, and goes by the stage name Miss Coco Peru.
Another Spellman graduate, Carlos Solano, 38, was so incensed by the would-be-speaker that he sent a letter to other grads telling them to cease any donations to the institution. “We have reached a time where this discussion is no longer about religion but about respecting people’s individualities,” wrote Solano.
In an interview with the New York Times, Solano said, “As a gay kid there, I was bullied of course, but I always felt like I could go to a faculty member to vent or talk or whatever. I feel like since this situation is coming from up above, from administration, I feel like these teachers are being put in a position where they cannot help a student struggling with their sexuality, and this is where my anger stems from.”
As an example of Timone’s anti-gay bias, the website of the “support group” Courage claims that “by developing an interior life of chastity, which is the universal call to all Christians, one can move beyond the confines of the homosexual label to a more complete identity in Christ.”