Former leaders of the ex-gay movement are opposing the controversial conversion therapy involved in the ex-gay therapy programs.
In an open letter published at the website of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in the US, nine former leaders of the ex-gay ministries say conversion therapy can be “terrible” emotionally and spiritually.
"At one time, we were not only deeply involved in these 'ex-gay' programs, we were the founders, the leaders, and the promoters," the letter says.
"We know first-hand the terrible emotional and spiritual damage it can cause, especially for LGBT youth,” the letter says. “We once believed that there was something morally wrong and psychologically 'broken' about being LGBT.
“We know better now. We once believed that sexual orientation or gender identity were somehow chosen or could be changed. We know better now. We once thought it was impossible to embrace our sexual orientation or sexual identity as an intrinsic, healthy part of who we are and who we were created to be. We know better now."
The former leaders include Jeremy Marks, founder of Courage UK, an ex-gay ministry that has transformed into a pro-gay ministry called Two:23 Network; and leaders from Exodus International, an ex-gay organization that shut down last year. Those leaders include Michael Bussee, Brad Allen and Yvette Cantu Schneider.
Tracey Byrne, chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, said of the letter: "While the letter claims it's not an apology, it's hard not to be struck by the humility of the writers and by their powerful witness to the heartbreaking reality of these discredited and damaging programmes," she said.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights’ #BornPerfect campaign plans to end conversion therapy in five years.
Publication date: August 4, 2014