National Commentary

Meet Janet Boynes, The Bachmann Family’s ‘Ex-Gay Minister


Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s husband, Marcus, claimed that his clinic, Bachmann & Associates, did not take part in the discredited practice of “ex-gay” therapy. An investigation by my organization, Truth Wins Out, proved that he was lying.

Included in our trove of evidence was a notorious book stacked high and sold at the clinic by Janet Boynes, Called Out: A former Lesbians Discovery of Freedom,. Hovering over the pile of books was a personal endorsement from Marcus Bachmann:

“Janet is a friend. I recommend this book as she speaks to the heart of the matter and gives practical insights of truth to set people free. – Marcus Bachmann, PhD”

Given her close ties to the Bachmann family, many people are clamoring to know: Who is Janet Boynes?

The quick answer is that Boynes represents the desperation of the Religious Right to find anyone willing to claim that they have successfully gone from gay-to-straight. For example, prior to her magical “transformation”, Boynes was a strung out, drug-dealing housekeeper who lived a life of dishonesty and dysfunction. Well into her 30’s, Boynes had lived so irresponsibly that she “had no idea how to even balance a checkbook.”

It is not Boynes sordid past, however, that disqualifies her as a plausible spokesperson. It is her current penchant for distorting the lives of LGBT people and misrepresenting the facts.

One does not even have to crack the book cover to find misinformation. From the get-go Boynes’ falsely identifies herself as a lesbian, when she is very clearly bisexual. “I was not born homosexual. I made a decision,” said Boyes. “I had crushes on boys…I set my sights on boys at least two years younger than me and we snuck into the hallway to make out and smoke.”

While such contradictions and little white lies are troublesome, it is ultimately her “Big Lie” that is most disconcerting. Despite the high profile national media appearances, testimonials from Religious Right leaders, an affiliation with Exodus International, and a flashy website that promotes a splashy book – Janet Boynes Ministries has yet to produce even one verifiable “success story.”

While plugging her book, the “ex-gay” activist disingenuously says in a video that her autobiographical work, “…honestly tells the challenges of breaking free after years of being fully persuaded that this [homosexuality] was an acceptable way to live.”

The incontrovertible truth is that Boynes was never remotely comfortable with her sexual orientation. Even as a barfly and fixture of lesbian nightlife, Boynes was consumed with self-loathing due to spiritual abuse:

“I wasn’t ready to leave the lesbian lifestyle, but I was afraid of what might happen to me if I didn’t. Sometimes, I became so terrified that I couldn’t go to sleep at night because I didn’t want to die before I had the opportunity to return to God.”

One of Boynes more wacky theories is that marriage equality will lead to a mushrooming of homosexuals unlike any the world has ever seen:

“The vast majority of today’s families are heterosexual, whether they are single-parent or not. What would happen to our society if, over a period of time, half of all families were made up of two individuals of the same-sex?” (Pg. 157)

Although Boynes works hard to present a loving façade, her comments reveal tremendous antipathy towards openly LGBT people:

For those reading this book who may be considering the homosexual lifestyle, let me tell you the truth: it isn’t fun. It isn’t glamorous. It isn’t trendy. It doesn’t fill the emptiness inside. It doesn’t help you find your identity. It doesn’t give you peace – and it never, ever will.”

Who knows what the future will hold for Boynes and how long her conversion will last. As she admitted on the Christian television show Celebration with Marcus and Joni, “I’m still tempted today.”

No matter how Boynes genuinely feels, the enterprising entrepreneur clearly has an incentive to remain in the closet:

“God has been opening up many doors for me to share my story and I believe there will be many more opportunities. He has allowed me to share in churches, colleges, on the radio, and on Christian television.”

Boynes’ toxic, if not profitable, views would mean little without her direct link to Marcus and Michele Bachmann. At the moment, Michele is dodging questions on the campaign trail about Bachmann & Associates. The media keeps hounding her on what she and her husband truly believe about “reparative therapy.”

Isn’t it clear?

Of the copious number of books written about homosexuality – the only one on this topic sold at Bachmann & Associates is, Called Out: A Former Lesbian’s Discovery of Freedom.

That is all you really need to know about the Bachmann family’s radical and dangerous views on LGBT Americans.


Wayne Besen is a columnist and author of the book “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.”