Growing up as a lesbian in the Christian Community, I have heard many times that “thousands of people have come out of homosexuality.” Places like Exodus International and You Can Change offered a way out, claiming that it was possible to not be gay anymore and become straight instead. With this notion, I thought that perhaps it was possible to end my lesbian desires and be a heterosexual. The more I tried to leave my desires behind for the same gender, the more I thought there was something deeply wrong with me. It seemed that no matter how hard I prayed and tried to change, my love for the same gender remained constant and no new desire for the opposite sex ever came. Now as an adult, I have seen the true flaw in these ex-gay organizations promises:
The problem is their definition of “ex-gay.”
If you ask most people, when they hear the word “ex-gay,” they think of someone who has changed their orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. The truth is that this is not the case at all. If you talk to the leaders of these organizations privately, you will discover that they have changed the definition of “gay” without telling you, only assuming that you hold their same definition. (This is described in-depth in the book Torn, by Justin Lee.) The true definition of gay is someone who has a sexual attraction to only the same gender. The definition that these “ex-gay” organizations hold for the word gay is someone who is sexually active with someone of the same gender. This changes everything! If “gay” is someone sexuality active with the same gender, than someone who is ex-gay is simply someone that is not actively having sex with the same gender.
So if we go by the definition of gay and ex-gay according to these organizations, than following their logic we must also assert that any single heterosexual not having sex is now an “ex-straight.” By their definition, even a married couple who stopped having sex should be labeled as ex-straight. Then we have the problem with the word “ex.” When we think of ex, we think of someone who is no longer involved with someone or something. If you think of someone as an ex-straight, you would most certainly have the assumption that they were no longer straight and maybe even assume that they were now gay! The truth is, these people are still straight, they are just not having sex. So the entire definition of ex-anything is misleading when applied to sexual orientation.
So now looking back on the true definition of “ex-gay,” someone who is not having sex with the same gender, I can now see that thousands of people have NOT turned from actually being gay, but that they have chosen to be alone. None of them are truly no longer having attractions and romantic feelings towards the same gender. Therefore these ex-gay organizations have deceived millions of people into believing sexual orientation can be changed when in fact, it can not.
Some “ex-gays” have even gone as far as starting a marriage with the opposite sex, but no matter who you ask in these situations, you will find that none of them have true sexual and romantic feelings for their opposite gender partner (unless already bisexual), nor have they ceased from experiencing an attraction to the same gender. This is then living a lie and dragging another person down a road to unfulfillment and rejection for their own selfish idea of spiritual gain. This type of behavior bears bad Spiritual fruit because it is intentionally hurting someone else for the sake of their own perceived idea of Salvation requirements.
Exodus International has since changed these labels to “someone suffering with SSA (Same-Sex Attraction.)” They have been more honest in their attempts to express that therapies, such as reparative and conversion therapy, do NOT work to change ones sexual orientation and do more harm than good. Once again, we must look at the Spiritual fruit of these actions. Reparative and conversion therapy have not led thousands to be straight, nor have they led thousands to even be happy single homosexuals. For the most part, they have led many away from wanting to remain Christians and many more have been led to suicide. These therapies do not offer a “gay cure” and they do not lead people to holiness. Instead, they offer a way to destroy self-worth and make people feel condemned to hell for feeling love. They twist pure love into making it feel like a sinful desire of the flesh. They transform their love into simply being a lust for sex and shame them for feeling this way. Those who have made it out of these ex-gay therapies without completely leaving their Christian faith generally live a long life of confusion and unhappiness due to their struggle with their perceived contradicting identities as gay and Christian.
The bad reputation of Christian organizations that seek to change sexual orientation has left a gaping hole in the Spiritual lives of gay and lesbian individuals. If one was not raised as a Christian, there is little likelihood of them wanting to pursue Christianity due to the perceived notion that one cannot be gay and Christian at the same time. Because sexual orientation cannot be altered, many gay and lesbians feel rejected by the church and thus rejected by God. An entire group of potential followers have been lost due to this wrong perception. If you believe that being gay is a sin, please pray for discernment and do your own study into the Biblical passages that appear to condemn homosexuality. I don’t mean just opening up the Bible and reading the 6 verses that seem to speak about it. I mean really go back into the Hebrew and Greek and look at all of these verses in context. For a guided study into these verses, please visit http://turn.to/gaychristians