This summer Wade Richards, LIA Survivor and one of the subjects in the film Fish Can’t Fly and the book Anything But Straight, told me that Seventeen Magazine‘s Cara Nissman interviewed him for the teen girl’s magazine (that some boys really like too!) Nissman struggled to find teen “ex-gays” and ex-ex-gays willing to tell their stories. Instead of exploiting a teeenager and possibly causing trouble with their parents and peers, for the November 2005 edition of Seventeen, she settled on 26-year-old Wade Richards, someone who speaks passionately about his early teen years in the church and late teens in LIA.
The piece highlights the connection between anti-gay teachings Wade got in his conservative church and how he eventually landed into the cadilac of “ex-gay” programs.
One day after church in January 1994, when Wade was 15, he went up to a few church friends, “I need help,” he begged. “I want to serve God, but I think I’m gay.” Wade said. “Talk to the pastor,” they urged. For the next year, Wade and his pastor met every week to pray for God to change him. Hoping the prayers would work, Wade kept his feelings for guys a secret from his mom.
A year later, after his mom found out he might be gay, Wade was forced to live in homeless shelters and with friends. Two years later, still in conflict over his same-sex desires and his Christian faith, he entered LIA and received “ex-gay” therapy for 18 months.
He eventually came out and an embraced who his is as a gay man (and so much more).
Wade’s time and my time in LIA overlapped by a few months. We found out we had attended the same church in NYC and had similar experiences in churches with people trying to cast demons out of us. Oh the places homophobia can take us.
The FreeZ group at MySpace has a scanned copy of the article in their Forum, or read it at the newstand (or even BUY the magazine)
Hat tip to FreeZ member, I’m Not Your Star… for starting the topic thread.