I wrote earlier about Claire Willett of Portland, OR and Daniel Stotenberg of Seattle, who attended the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference and shared some of their experiences on video. Lots of survivors are also blogging about their experiences.
On Tuesday two other survivors came forward to tell their story in a very public way. Their stories reveal the diversity of ex-gay experiences. Most people believe that the average ex-gay is a struggling gay or lesbian who attends an Exodus program. Although Exodus boasts it is the nation’s largest ex-gay ministry, I believe most people seek to change and suppress their sexuality outside of Exodus on their own, through their faith communities and in non-Exodus programs.
Barbara and Lester Leavitt were devout Mormons who sought to build a strong family. One major hurdle they had to overcome was Lester’s attractions for other men. Through teachings from the Church of Latter Day Saints and direct help from the Evergreen ex-gay program, the Leavitts tried to do the impossible.
On Tuesday Barbara and Lester traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah to share their stories in front of Evergreen. It is part of Soulforce’s Ex-Gay Survivor Initiative (Christine, Daniel and I went to New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO on Sunday)
Fox News 13 covered the press conference in Salt Lake, where Barbara and Lester say that not only did the ex-gay conversion therapy not work, in their case, it did more harm than good.
See Fox News 13 report here. To hear more of Lester and Barbara’s story, see the video they posted a few months ago, [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfOrpNoCjos]