The Ugliness of Gay Conversion Therapy

It is estimated that over 700,000 people currently living in the United States have undergone some form of gay conversion therapy (about half were teenagers at the time) designed to change them from homosexual to heterosexual.  Many of the groups offering this miraculous transformation are religious in origin, the premier one in this country being “Love In Action,” now renamed “Restoration Path” and still going strong in 2019.  A leading organization having offshoots all over the world was “Exodus International,” which handled many thousands of such cases before folding in 2013 [see Related Posts below].

These gay conversion groups have many methods to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals.  In the recent movies “Boy Erased” and “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” (both available for viewing on the internet) the young people—a male in the first and a female in the second—are placed in an environment very like a summer camp and rigorously trained on how to behave in a heterosexual fashion (movements, clothes, etc.).  There is a great deal of cruelty such as making boys have supposed conversations with their father about why he failed to teach them how to become true males, or, in a real life case making boys beat a pillow representing their mother to punish her for turning them into sissies—see  Girls are taught how a real woman walks, talks, looks and behaves.  Much emphasis is placed on religious doctrine as they "pray away the gay."

How often does such treatment (or the similar efforts of professional counselors like psychologists) of produce happy heterosexuals where once there were only sinful homosexuals with twisted desires?


What never?  No, never.  The best that can be hoped for is that graduates will learn how to repress their homosexual urges and live chaste and celibate lives.  Imagine how much fun that would be if it were offered to you as a life style. 

During my gay rights activist days and right up until the current moment, I’ve had a standing offer about ex-gay conversion. I will contribute $5000 to the charity of choice of an individual or organization that can produce five men who were once gay and are now straight. There are various conditions: (1) the men must have had significant gay experiences in their lives, (2) become straight through whatever process, and (3) for at least five years thereafter remained completely straight. Finally, they must not have ever been leaders or volunteer workers for ex-gay organizations (just, therefore, normal members) and pass rigorous tests to determine their current sexual orientation (see me for details—I am serious about this—this offer is still open). Since ex-gay organizations have been around for over thirty years, you’d think they’d have thousands of former participants who’d easily meet my criteria, but so far no one has taken me up on this. Note that I’m not proposing a bet. If the person/organization can’t find five men who pass the tests, they lose nothing other than a credibility that is often widely touted (though in tatters whenever considered objectively).  I would require that if five converted straight men are not produced, the expenses of testing be paid for by the entity accepting my challenge.

Frequently the founders of these anti-gay organizations sincerely repent their actions later in life.  Two of Exodus International's co-founders (Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper) fell in love while running the group and left it to get married.  When Exodus International closed in 2013 the then leader of the organization apologized for the pain, despair, and suicides it had caused during its 37 year run.   Prior to that in 2007 three former leaders of EI came out as gay or lesbian and issued a public apology for their roles in Exodus. In April 2010, one of them confessed he'd never seen Exodus actually change any participant into a heterosexual.  Here’s another repentance by a Mormon leader of a similar group:

Why doesn’t gay conversion work?  The answer is simple: sexual orientation is a not a choice, it is a biological imperative (all the science shows this, see Related Posts below).   Let me close with a wonderful rant about this on Reddit from a male heterosexual;

I'm Christian, and the way we, as a whole, treat gays is a sin.
We lack EMPATHY. We don't think CLEARLY.
I'm a straight male.
I cannot IMAGINE being told that my NATURAL SEXUAL DESIRE for the opposite sex is, according to "God's word", a sin. I would be DEVASTATED. If I felt in my heart I love Jesus, and that 'most' of the bible is true, but the very thing that makes me human (my sexuality) was a sin in itself, I would be depressed and suicidal. I would be confused that God would make me born to feel feelings for a woman that I'm now being told I'm "not supposed to feel".
My sexuality LITERALLY is WHO I AM, and no amount of "pray the straight away" could EVER make me change my natural desires for the opposite sex. I could PRETEND to be homosexual for the sake of fitting in and pleasing God, but I would always bear the burden of knowing that God created me to mask and pretend that I don't desire the opposite sex. I would resent God on some level that his own book condemns me.
We straight people take it for granted. We Christians like to say, "I'm not saying homosexuality is the ONLY sin, because I sin, TOOOOOO!" Here's the difference:
I can STOP fornicating, lying, cheating, stealing, etc. But I cannot, under any circumstance, under ANY THREAT OF HELL, make myself stop having feelings for the opposite sex any more than a gay person can. It's IMPOSSIBLE.
I could castrate myself, I suppose, as most gay Christians who claim to be "straight" do who get married and have kids, but are secretly gay and live with that secret for the rest of their life.
I can't imagine being forced to have a same-sex marriage partner and lying to myself all my life that "I'm gay now because Jesus/God loves me"
I would carry so much resentment towards the church, God and Jesus, even if I pretend that I'm a "changed man".
I put myself in other people’s shoes. I use this thing God gave us called EMPATHY, and it hurts my hurt when Christians don't think critically about what's in the bible, because not everything written is true. Most of it is, but not ALL!
Scripture was INSPIRED by God, written by men. Men, who had biases, and men who were not gay (or may have been gay themselves who convinced themselves it was sin) included it with all the other actual sins, making homosexuality look like a sin, when God's Spirit corrected me on that. It's an error in the bible and if Christians took the time to study the word homosexual in the bible and dig on their history about it, they will find it was ADDED TO THE BIBLE and was never part of the original Greek/Hebrew text. Someone who gave us our version of the bible today hated gays and wanted everyone else to hate them, too. And it worked.
Now, some people would say I'm not a true Christian if I don't believe the word is a PERFECT interpretation of what God want us to know. And that's fine. I grew up with a gay friend who saw more persecution in a single WEEK than any living Christian today has seen their entire lives. These people do not choose to be gay any more than I chose to be straight. I can't see the sexual appeal of another man even if I tried, and if seen enough naked male bodies to feel nothing. In fact, when I watched porn, I didn't care for the male performer - give me the lesbian stuff any day of the week.
But, I digress.
Christians don't understand that when you call someone’s sexual orientation a sin, it's literally like calling THEM a sin, and there is no way for them to escape this internal torture except pretend it doesn't exist (get married, have kids, and say to yourself and others "I'm delivered!") or exit the church and abandon God altogether because you were defect. At least, I know that's how I'd feel if being heterosexual was a sin in the bible.
I had to seek the Holy Spirit on this issue because something wasn't adding up, and when God confirmed to me in multiple ways that homosexuality is NOT a sin, but that it was INCLUDED in scripture by men who THOUGHT it was a sin based on their own prejudices and biases, it made me sad.
EDIT: Found an excellent article backing up my "claims" that homosexuality is not and never was a sin. This article is to help my gay brothers and sisters that you are perfectly fine the way God CREATED you and that your feelings ARE natural.
You are NOT to be FORCED to change who God made you to be to "appease" no damn church even after salvation. You are NOT going to turn straight after you get saved, so don't let no Christian put in your head that he will "help you in that area". Your soul is literally attracted to the same sex. Your soul mate IS the same sex, whoever he or she is. It's NOT a curse! It's NOT a sin!
And for you judgmental Christians out there who think I'm "less Christian then you" because you believe blindly in text over the Holy Spirit, I strongly suggest you set aside your assumptions and do a "heart check" before God "checks you".
A lot of these people want to live happy lives with their lovers in marriage, that's why they pushed for it. Not to "encroach" upon your right to marry the opposite sex. For centuries you've forced these people to have multiple sex partners and never be allowed to commit under the union of God because of you prejudices and biases due to your undying faith in the Bible over the heart of God.
Sorry for the rant. I felt it needed to be said as a warning to you Christians who think you got it all "figured out". You are in for a rude awakening when God reveals how much sin you have in your heart to these people, and you won't be able to use the "But, the bible told me so" as an excuse. Okay. I'm done. 

Currently fifteen states and the District of Columbia, plus various cities, make gay conversion therapy illegal; .  More should join them and stop this unconscionable cruelty that targets America’s children as their misguided parents send them trudging down a very ugly path.

Related Posts:

A Guide to the Best of My Blog,” April 29, 2013;

“How To Change Gay People Into Straight People,” September 20, 2010;

“Choose To Be Gay, Choose To Be Straight,” January 25, 2011;

“A Homophobic Organization Throws in the Towel: Goodbye to Exodus International,” June 21, 2013;

“How To Cure Homophobia,” July 30, 2015;


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