The ex-gay movement is crumbling. The latest is John Paulk. For a long time, Paulk championed the ex-gay movement appearing on Newsweek under the heading “Gay For Life?” and championing the conversion of many a child.
So far, Paulk refuses to come out of the closet, but at least he is no longer willing to ruin people’s lives by pushing a discredited theory based upon Nazi-era science. Paulk recently emailed PQ Monthly saying:
Until recently, I have struggled all my life in feeling unloved and unaccepted. I have been on a journey during the last few years in trying to understand God, myself, and how I can best relate to others. During this journey I have made many mistakes and I have hurt many people including people who are close to me. I have also found a large number of people who accept me for who I am regardless of my past, any labels, or what I do.
I no longer support the ex-gay movement or efforts to attempt to change individuals — especially teens who already feel insecure and alienated. I feel great sorrow over the pain that has been caused when my words were misconstrued. I have worked at giving generously to the gay community in Portland where I work and live. I am working hard to be authentic and genuine in all of my relationships.
For many Christians, reconciling homosexuality and their faith can be and has been hard. Truth Wins Out has been following Paulk for some time, and would like to see him take a more public role “renouncing and working against the harmful ‘ex-gay’ industry.” They would like to see him advocate for bills that would ban ex-gay therapy for minors.
Wayne Besen of TWO noted that “John was quoted in nearly every major newspaper in America. It is no exaggeration to say that the ubiquity of [his] media efforts ensured that the vast majority of Americans were subjected to testimony that Paulk had ‘prayed away the gay.’”
He also noted that “At these splashy Love Won Out shows, Paulk sold a vision — for a profit — that offered false hope and healing to desperate and vulnerable Christian parents who were terrified and confused when their children came out of the closet. The most heartbreaking part of these events was when these parents were either blamed for turning their children gay, or they were falsely told their child’s homosexuality was the result of molestation.”
The ex-gay movement is part of the larger war on sex, gender and culture in this nation.