My "Ex-Gay" Apology
It’s been many years since I was in ex-gay leadership, but I know—as one who also endured the treatment—that the harmful effects last for a long time. My initial involvement was prompted by a sincere, but misguided, desire to change my sexual orientation. I was motivated by the expectations of those around me, as well as my sincere desire to fix what I perceived (or had been told) was broken.
I honestly hoped the techniques would work; I did what they said I should do. I went to a counselor and got involved in a support group. I attended conferences and read many books on the subject. I studied the Scriptures and memorized verses (actually, I memorized entire books of the Bible!) to “renew my mind.” I prayed, fasted and confessed my sins. I even confessed the sins of previous generations, since I learned that my sexual desires could have been handed down from previous generations. I enlisted the help of straight men as “accountability” partners. I was anointed with oil and went through “inner healing” of past/repressed emotional trauma. Whatever new information came in about the “root cause” of my same-sex desires, I was eager to try it.
I also said the things I was told to say, which was part of the deception. It involved “speaking the truth” in a future tense: say what you WANT to be true, not what IS true. So, I said it was working for me. I used my positive words to “speak those things that are not as if they are.” (In other words, I said I was healed, when I wasn’t, because saying it would making it so.) And regrettably, I promised it would work for others. I know that because of my testimony, others joined these programs, and experienced harm in their self-acceptance. Because of my teachings, writing and public appearances, parents might have been encouraged to push their children in the direction of reparative treatment.
Please know that I regret my actions of the past. I did not intentionally deceive anyone, but that doesn’t change the fact that we were deceived. I won’t make excuses, but I will only say that I was acting on what I believed was right at the time. I see now that I was wrong. God has changed my perspective.
I take some comfort in the fact that more and more, the lies and deception of these groups are being exposed. More and more leaders have abandoned their roles and are now speaking out against the teachings of these groups. I pray that number will grow. Major medical and mental health professions have come out against this kind of treatment. States are working to make the forced enrollment of children illegal. In the long run, I believe truth will prevail.
Please forgive me for my past involvement. Please forgive me for perpetuating the deception. I ask that you forgive me if you were hurt, harmed or damaged in any way by ex-gay treatment.
If you feel that I've wronged you, and would like a personal apology from me, please use the form below to contact me. I welcome the opportunity to interact, and to hear your experience. What you share will be kept in confidence, but I am here to help if I can.
If you currently struggle with your sexual orientation, and are considering an "ex-gay" program or ministry, I'm here if you have questions.
If you are a leader in an "ex-gay" group or church...and having doubts, I welcome hearing from you as well.