Two More Former Ex-Gay Leaders in Australia Reveal Shift in Perspective

Last week BeyondExGay and Soulforce announced that three former ex-gay leaders from Australia publicly apologized for their roles in providing and promoting ex-gay conversion therapy.

Anthony Venn-Brown, (who appears right about now on 60 Minutes in Australia), a Christian leader in Australia, shares on his blog about two other leaders who also reveal how their perspectives shifted from when they were ex-gay leaders.

John Meteyard, a former Exodus Asia Pacific & Living Waters leader and former member of the International Advisory Board of Exodus, states,

Whereas once I was ardent in my opinion that homosexual orientation was unquestioningly a result of the ‘fall’ and God’s intention was therefore always to heal the same-sex attracted believer and help them to be ‘whole’, my position is now somewhat different.

What I now believe is that being a Christian with a homosexual orientation often causes a great deal of strain and angst for those of us so affected. The result of this strain can be traumatic, debilitating and overwhelming. I also believe that it is important that we all respect the rights of gay and lesbian believers to work through the complexities of their situation with God in their own way and in their own time.

A fellow former ex-gay leader, Paul Martin, is currently the principal psychologist at the Centre for Human Potential. Considering his experience as an Exodus ministry leader in Melbourne and his expertise as a psychologist, he concludes,

During this time, there was not one person that I met or worked with who, in any genuine way achieved the fundamental transformation from homosexual to heterosexual they so desperately desired. The stress of attempting to change their sexual orientation however increased risk of suicidality, and absolutely led to erosion of self-esteem and increased levels of depression and self-deprecation at a very deep level.

In his post Anthony raises the question, Why has it taken so long for people like these 5 and myself to speak up? He lists six possible reasons for this including,

  1. When people leave ex-gay programs they are not empowered but defeated and often live with a sense of failure and shame. It takes time to feel good about yourself again.
  2. The experience of spending years trying unsuccessfully to become heterosexual can leave a person traumatised. That takes time to heal.

The message that John and Paul share is consistent with what we have begun to explore in the US–ex-gay conversion therapy and ministry cause more harm than good. Well meaning people leading ex-gay ministries can actually hinder their clients’ wellbeing.

From reading scores of ex-gay survivor narratives and speaking with hundreds of other survivors, it becomes more and more evident that consumers of ex-gay ministries run the risk of experiencing psychological, emotional and spiritual harm, not to mention the negative impact on relationships, careers and finances.

I appreciate former leaders taking responsibility to counter the message they supported for so many years once they have come to understand the errors in their teaching and practice.

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