Two men who helped organize the first Exodus conference now claim that ex-gay ministries are a fraud, which promote "homophobia and self-hatred." Their comments have appeared in gay newspapers across North America. In the mid-1970s Michael Busseee and Gary Cooper were calling themselves "ex-gay." They were both married with children and working at EXIT, the "EX-gay Intervention Team" at Melodyland Hotline Center in Anaheim, California.
Both men helped organize the first Exodus conference, held in Anaheim in September 1976. Unknown to their co-workers, Bussee and Cooper were struggling with strong sexual attraction to each other. "I kept praying and hoping that some day I would develop normal sexual attraction to my wife." Bussee told The Standard. "Gary had three kids by this time, and I had one daughter."
Finally, in late 1978, Bussee and Cooper began a secret adulterous relationship. They quit EXIT and two years later; both men divorced their wives and began living together. "I was ripped apart by the pain," recalled Ann Busse at the 1985 Exodus Conference. "I could not believe Mike had been unfaithful."