I recently had the honor of speaking with The Atlantic staff writer Olga Khazan about the trial against gay conversion group JONAH that started this week. She quoted me to close her article:
Randy Thomas, a former executive vice president with the ex-gay Christian network Exodus International, now says he wished he had never tried to change his sexual orientation. Exodus disbanded in 2013 amid growing skepticism among its own leaders that sexuality conversion is possible.
After coming out as gay at 19, and converting to Christianity five years later, Thomas spent many years working for Exodus as a self-described “poster boy” for the idea that gay people can become straight. This past January, he came out as gay once again. (“I still love Jesus, and he still loves me,” he told me recently.)
To gay people who are considering conversion therapy, Thomas now says, “spare yourself the shame, pain, and condemnation. If you’re LGBTQ, never buy into the lie that God is angry with you. God is there for you; he loves you. You are beloved by him, and anyone who can’t see the inherent worth of who you are, just walk away.”
These quotes are verbatim and I am passionate about *every* word. It’s been difficult for me to get to this place because I truly believed and bought into the lie that sexuality could change for a very long time. Years ago, I was even friends with the leaders of JONAH at one point. But, today I know the liberating and healing truth that I as a gay man, and those who are LGBTQ, are truly loved by God for who we are. Please do not go to conversion therapy groups. Whether it is professional or peer based support groups, avoid them. Go to a reputable licensed counselor, or pastoral care, that acknowledges and embraces God’s gay children. Yes, we may need some help but it’s not our sexuality that is broken. That significant part of our core sense of self is an integral part of the foundation from which we grow.
Stay strong, no need to argue with anyone pressuring you with stigmatized cultural expectations. Simply walk away and know that there are many resources that will truly positively impact your life, not force you into a different “closet” of shame and condemnation.
Please, I highly recommend reading Olga’s entire article. It’s a heart breaking and eye-opening look into the JONAH trial
Graphic Credit: The Atlantic