Are You ‘Disgusted’ With Me? This Guy Sure Is…

If you would like to share your thoughts of the movie “Pray Away” or ask any questions about my life or the topics at hand (I am an open book!) you can contact me here. I would love to hear from you.

I have gotten plenty of messages like this so I decided to respond to this one here on the blog because it covers a lot of common topics and assumptions. J writes:

I don’t think you have any right to represent our community or profit from this documentary. As a gay man who grew up in the south Exodus was brought up quite a bit. One of my close friends was sent away to be tortured by your organization. You were a part of a system that made countless gay people think they were damaged. Many of witch took their own lives. You are responsible for their pain and I don’t think you should now be in the lime light now that you have seen the “error of your ways”. There is nothing you could do to change that. Now that the social tides have changed you have conveniently changed your opinion. You don’t represent me. I am disgusted by that platform that you are being given. You probably won’t notice this message, but I felt so strongly I couldn’t not send you my thoughts. I really don’t wish you ill, I just don’t think you should be out there representing our community.

So let’s parse this out and respond to each section.

I don’t think you have any right to represent our community or profit from this documentary.

I don’t believe I represent our community as a whole. That said, I am a member of the LGBTQ+ community by default as a gay man, even when I tried to live in denial of that fact, and regardless of other’s opinions. I also did not receive any royalties on this film or anything regarding its sale to Netflix. I am not on the staff of any of the production teams involved. I simply volunteered to share the truth about the evils of conversion therapy from my perspective.

One of my close friends was sent away to be tortured by your organization. You were a part of a system that made countless gay people think they were damaged. Many of witch took their own lives. You are responsible for their pain …

I am sorry for your friend and hope they made it out of the conversion therapy/exgay world. I now believe I was a part of a cult where the stigmatizing ideology that fueled it empowered all kinds of damage, destruction, and pain. I lost a good friend to suicide, and 22 years of my life, because of the toxic theology at the core of it all. Michael’s death ripped my blinders off and led me out of that cultish ideology. However, until mainstream Western Christianity stops teaching stigma against LGBTQ+ people, unfortunately, the abuse will (and does) continue.

… and I don’t think you should now be in the lime light now that you have seen the “error of your ways”. There is nothing you could do to change that.

Being transparent about my role in the pain, hurt, and made a villain (redeemed or not) in front of the world is not exactly the kind of “limelight” I would seek out or crave. Yet, it is one I must engage when asked. I would much rather live my life and not have to ever talk about this ever again, but I can’t. I do things like this to honor Michael and share the truth about him and his situation to honor his legacy. I do it to speak to the truth that conversion therapy is abuse, and exgay ministry must end.

And most importantly, I do it to try and help others stay alive and avoid all this pain and misery.

I do all of this from a perspective of a former leader in the upper-echelons of that movement which provides a vantage point and insights not many others share. It’s not better or worse than any other survivor from that world but it is my experience and I can help end exgay/conversion therapy from this perspective.

Now that the social tides have changed you have conveniently changed your opinion.

Social tides had nothing to do with my change of heart and mind. There was nothing convenient about my dear friend committing a violent and tragic suicide.

You don’t represent me. I am disgusted by that platform that you are being given. You probably won’t notice this message, but I felt so strongly I couldn’t not send you my thoughts. I really don’t wish you ill, I just don’t think you should be out there representing our community.”

As stated earlier, I don’t feel like I represent you or our community. I am a part of the LGBTQ+ community because of the irrefutable fact that I am gay. Your disgust with me is understandable given your assumptions. But the more important thing to recognize is the film will save lives. “Pray Away” saves lives by exposing the truth that conversion therapy is alive, expanding and continuing the abuse. Don’t let the disgust you feel blind you from the truth that I agree with you on the hurt, harm and even death the ideology that drives past and current movements has caused and is causing.

We (the former leaders) know what we did and participated in the film to share our own change of heart as an effort to convince others to do the same. “Pray Away” film is saving lives with every person who decides to not go to conversion therapy or exgay ministry as a result of watching.

Think and assume of me whatever you wish, but helping to shut down Exodus, and bearing my soul in this film, are two of the most important moments in my life. I will never regret voicing my truth in that film because it isn’t about me or even the other leaders, its about saving lives by exposing the truth.

Truly, thank you for sharing your views with me. That said, please listen to the very clear message in the movie: conversion therapy has victimized 700,000 people, continues to increase that number every day, and must be stopped.

If you would like to share your thoughts of the movie “Pray Away” or ask any questions (I am an open book!) you can contact me here. I would love to hear from you.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Don Beeson says:

    Hey, Randy. I know by closing exodus you and Alan both suffered a lot 🥲 The fact you did that shows where your heart was and is now. You could’ve continued being a part of that charade but you chose not to and took the higher ground. I agree it is the toxic main stream western Christianity brand Christianity especially most of the leadership of the Evangelical community That doesn’t realize they are the modern day Pharisees that Jesus so I oftenmourned people about. I too am guilty of being part of that in the past for which as well I regret.
    God showed to you earlier what he has shown to me much more recently that we are accepted 100% because of who He s and we have chosen to believe Him.
    I apologize for the harm I did to you. I am now a healthy gay man who needs not to be groveling for acceptance or validation from others—straight or otherwise. God not only showed you the truth before He did me but you’re also more articulate than I am LOL I hope I can regain your trust.

    1. Randy Thomas says:

      You didn’t harm me but thanks for thinking of apologizing.

  2. Don Beeson says:

    Well, I think I at least exasperated you out of my ignorance … but those days are over : )

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