Sunday, August 19, 2007

Australia’s Former Ex-gay/Reparative/Conversion Therapy Leaders Change Perspective – But why has it taken so long?

Ex-gay ministries credibility around the world is being substantially challenged as an increasing number of people come out with their stories saying - it just doesn’t work. In fact, reparative/conversion therapy causes harm that can take years to overcome.

For some time I’ve been collecting testimonials from men and women who have gone through these programs and also former leaders. After the apologies of 3 former ex-gay leaders at the Ex-gay Survivors Conference in Los Angeles (organised by Soulforce and, I thought it was time to release some of the statements.

Why has it taken so long for people like these 5 and myself to speak up?

From all the emails I’ve received and people I’ve met, I think it’s obvious why only now people are finding the courage to speak up.

1. When people leave ex-gay programs they are not empowered but feel defeated and often live with a sense of failure and shame. It takes time to feel good about yourself again.
2. The experience of spending years trying unsuccessfully to become heterosexual can leave a person traumatised. For many, to go back to these experiences reminds them of the pain of some of the darketst days of their lives. Some would just rather move on. It takes time to heal. Some may never.

3. Resolving the issue of the perceived conflict between your sexual orientation and your faith have often gone on for many years and after leaving the ex-gay world/teachings/philosophy can still take years to sort out. Some never do. The conditioning is deep and subconscious.

4. It’s only been the last decade that mental health professions have taken time to research and see if there is any scientific evidence to back up ex-gay claims. None has been found. Australian Psychology Association , American Psychiatric Association.

5. Claims have been made by Exodus and other groups that 1,000’s of people had become heterosexual and got married to prove it. History tells us that this is only a change in behaviour and not orientation and that’s why these marriages have not stood the test of time. I have a folder full of stories like mine. 12, 16, 20 even over 30 years married. Then having to admit, in essence, nothing really changed, leaving wives feeling betrayed and children hurt.
6. In Australia, ex-gay survivors and former leaders were all in isolation thinking we were the only ones, but ‘A Life of Unlearning’ has not only changed individual lives it’s brought people together. There is now a growing network of people who are committed to ensuring that the others don’t waste years trying to do the impossible. I.e. Change from being gay to straight.
Read each statement below and hopefully it will be give those seeking deliverance from their “unwanted same-sex-attraction” a more realistic picture so that they may devote their time and effort to a genuine healing of self.

I issue an appeal to ex-gay ministries in Australia. If you are professionally qualified to work in the areas of sexual addiction and sexual abuse, then continue that important work. But to have any integrity you should also let your clients know that 1,000’s of us have found peace, freedom and resolution by loving our gay and lesbian selves instead of rejecting, suppressing and denying who we are. The invitation is always open for an informed and respectful dialogue.
Thank you also to the current ex-gay leaders who have honestly acknowledged that the gay thoughts and feelings have not gone away and never will.

I’d like to honour all the people below for their courage and honesty.
I know this will help ensure fewer people will be harmed and not waste years of their lives heading down a dead end track. And of course it will literally save lives.

Former Ex-gay Leader - John Meteyard
Exodus Asia Pacific & Living Waters Leader and on the International Advisory Board of Exodus 

Former Ex-gay Leader - Vonnie Pitts (Veronica Canning)
Christian City Church Pastor and Living Waters Leader


Fomer Ex-gay Leader - Kim Brett
Exodus - Associate Former Leader - Living Waters and Liberty Inc

Former Ex-gay Leader - Wendy Lawson
Exodus Leader Melbourne

Former Ex-gay Leader - Paul Martin
Exodus Leader – Melbourne

As more former ex-gay leaders have come out and are willing to tell their stories I have added their statements also to this blog:


© Anthony Venn-Brown
Twitter: @gayambassador
Facebook: Anthony Venn-Brown - A Life of Unlearning

Anthony Venn-Brown is the co-founder and former leader of Freedom 2 b[e], Australia’s largest network of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people from Christian backgrounds. He is also an educator and consultant on LGBT/faith issues and leader in deconstructing the ‘ex-gay’ myth. Anthony’s autobiography 'A Life of Unlearning', details his journey from married, high profile preacher in Australia’s mega-churches to living as an openly gay man. Anthony has been twice voted ‘One of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians’ (2007 & 2009) and this year was one of four finalists for the ACON Community Hero Award.


  1. Excellent post. I'm glad you said something about this on my blog. Thank you.

  2. Thankyou Anthony for your blog. Thanks also for your comments on Signposts. I am not same gender attracted but am a passionate advocate for the rights of sane gender attracted people. I'll be sure to pass you blog onto my colleague across the road who is in ministry and in a same sex relationship. May God bless your ministry.

  3. thanks mark for your kind words. they come today to refresh my soul whilst i'm in the midst of some nasty things being said about me.

    BTW......have you thought about signing the 100 Revs statement.

  4. If it is of any help here's a link to a brief description of my story:

    If you want more detail please let me know.


  5. great to hear from you Drew....the more of us tell our stories then hopefully more people wont waste their time hating themselves.....but loving and accepting that it is okay to be gay.

  6. Thanks for all your comments. As an outsider of the exgay movement, I think it is paramount that an explanation of the verses in the Bible about homosexuality be hailed. It is about pedophilia happening at that time, and that is what I believe the Bible was describing. Any other explanation is mere heresay and opinion. There are reasons for everything. Pedophelia coupled with possible homophobia is at the root of all the verses, that is the bottom line. I think people trying to resolve their sexuality/Christianity need to hear these things as the beliefe are what are killing their spirits. I think this could be a tremendous help. Like scholars, one needs to dig for the truth to assist with resolution.

  7. thanks for your post Devlin.

    I'm pretty familiar with the verses I think you are referring to. I'm not aware that there is any mention of pedophilia. They are however speaking about temple prostitution, idolatry, rape and pedastry (older men with teenage boys).

    The bible verses never speak of same sex orientation as we know it today.

    If you'd like to read further you'll find information on these links.

    hope that helps


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