With all the Twitter updates I’ve done recently, it’s hard to imagine writing more than one pithy sentence, but here goes.
I arrived in Allentown, PA yesterday after a lovely evening at a Lutheran church in Bridgeport, CT. In Allentown I am hosted by the Rainbow Players of the local MCC. Dean Hiatt, the key organizer, and I have known each other for over 25 years after we first met at LIFE ministries, an ex-gay program in NYC.
During the car ride, Dean and I compared notes about the many ex-gays we knew from that time. Oh what a bitter harvest of pain and misery! Divorce, AIDS, death, alcoholism, substance abuse, along with the loss of jobs, child custody, ministry opportunities and faith. In pursuing a ‘cure’ most instead found a curse on their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
The reality is that the vast majority of people who attempt to change their orientation are unsuccessful. In fact most ex-gay leaders today say that an actual change from gay to straight is unrealistic. What they have not yet acknowledged are the dreadful consequences that most often come from pursuing such a change. Broken homes, broken lives, broken dreams.
I am so glad that Dean has been able to reclaim his life, but still the pain and the effects of living in delusion will likely be experienced by him and his former wife for the rest of their lives. For him the toll was great and nearly cost him his life. Others, who were initially inspired by his ex-gay life and his heterosexual marriage have also harvested bitter fruit through their own failed marriages and desperate struggles.
Those who claim they care about pastoral care and the welfare of people need to consider the potential dangers in advocating an ex-gay course.
There is a better way.