Young Lives At Stake

Andrew Ciscel http://www.flickr.com/photos/ciscel

I’ve been very pleased to see that in the state of California, programs that try to turn gays straight – so-called ‘reparative therapy’ programs – have been outlawed for kids under the age of consent. They still operate for anyone older, and in the rest of the USA. And also here in Australia and the Asia Pacific Region.

The Editor of the US gay magazine The Advocate writes:

 “Ex-gay” therapy is bogus and harms children. Based on that proven fact, Gov. Jerry Brown of California in September signed a law banning conversion therapy on youths by licensed therapists. It’s a major milestone that recognizes the potentially fatal harm caused by this quackery. Yet one of the repercussions is that . . . . . challengers are attempting to confront case studies and data with a free speech argument that puts kids at the mercy of homophobic parents or communities.  . . . we must be armed with information and take to task the media outlets who set fact aside for the purpose of hyping a story. The lives of young LGBT people truly hang in the balance.”

Ex-gay programs exist here in Australia. Luke Williams has written about them here:

If a minor was to walk into a [reparative therapy] centre in their local suburb today, they would not be required to gain their parents’ consent, nor are they given any sort of disclaimer explaining the official medical position on  [reparative therapy].

This is concerning when you consider the . . .  American Psychological Association’s ‘Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation’,  found that ‘aversive and behavioural interventions’ caused ‘harmful mental health effects such as increased anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and loss of sexual functioning in some participants’.

Group leaders and administrators of ex-gay . . . generally do not have any health qualifications.

Brisbane psychologist Paul Martin has helped children as young as 14 who have been severely damaged by these programs and is contacted by a new patient every few weeks. Martin is uniquely placed to help: he went through one such program himself, and then ran ex-gay therapy programs, before coming out as gay and  making amends by treating fellow survivors.

In Australia it’s usually disguised as ‘counselling’, to avoid scrutiny and regulation. But the history of this vicious lie is littered with depression, destruction of families, and deaths. It doesn’t repair anything: it destroys. Deep depression may be induced by these ‘counsellors’ who brainwash their victims into believing they are sinful, perverted and abnormal. And when the victim inevitably fails, telling them it is their own fault for not trying hard enough.

Let’s be clear: it is incontrovertibly proven fact – even “ex-gays” themselves admit it –  that you cannot remove homosexual desires and replace them with heterosexual ones. You can only suppress them, with lasting psychological damage. The only people who have any ‘choice’ are those with an underlying bisexual orientation. Anyone who tells you different is a liar.

Time after time after time, so called “ex-gay” star patients have either been found to be lying, or have admitted it was all wishful thinking, and embraced their homosexuality. Many, like Paul Martin and Anthony Venn-Brown here in Australia now actively campaign against this vicious practice.

And it’s not just the individual who is damaged: their families suffer too:

“reparative therapists not only hurt their clients but they often upend the lives of spouses. These unfortunate individuals marry so-called “ex-gays” who mistakenly think they have been converted – but later find that their “progress” was a mirage brought on by wishful thinking and pressure from their therapist. This ‘therapy’ also encourages clients to blame their parents for allegedly causing their homosexuality, leading to resentment, broken bonds, and the disintegration of previously close families.” [Truth Wins Out http://www.truthwinsout.org/blog/2012/05/25196/]

The number of groups operating here and their reach may shock you. I have compiled two lists: the first is from Christian group The Saltshakers, and appears to be reasonably up-to-date. I have included as much contact detail as I have been able to find, as well as a snippet from the website, where available. The second list comes from Parents & Friends of Ex-Gays, a Christian front group that promotes reparative therapy. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this list.

To email any of the groups, click on the partial address shown for a security code, which will get you the full address. This is necessary to stop spambots crawling all over us!

THE SALTSHAKERS LIST

Liberty (Queensland) 

“Liberty Inc”
PO Box 2083, Tingalpa, Qld, 4173, Australia
Phone: (07) 33904250

Web site: http://www.libertyinc.org.au

We also have a Parent Support Group for parents whose children are in the homosexual lifestyle. The group meets in Brisbane.

We’re based in Brisbane, Australia but help people all over the world. In fact, if you’re from overseas and want to remain totally anonymous, we’re a great option for you.

Info info@libertyinc.org.au  Feedback feedback@libertyinc.org.au   CEO ceo@libertyinc.org.au  Chairman chairman@libertyinc.org.au

Liberty Inc., PO Box 2083, Tingalpa , QLD 4173 , Australia

Liberty Christian Ministries

Carlingford, Sydney, NSW   Phone: (02) 9818 8111

www.libertychristianministries.org.au/“Beyond Egypt” Email: info@beyondegypt.org.au

Their aim (in part):

  • Providing support, hope and education to Christian men and women who struggle with unwanted same sex attraction
  • Providing support to families, spouses and friends of those who struggle with unwanted same sex attraction or who have embraced a homosexual lifestyle
  • Educating the church and the wider Christian community about same sex attraction and how to care for and pastor those affected by it.

“Liberty Christian Ministries Inc. aims to:

  1. Offer support, hope and education to Christian men and women who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction. This can take the form of one-to-one meetings and running support groups;
  2. Provide support to families, spouses and friends of those who have embraced a gay identity or are struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction. Support groups in the western and northern suburbs of Sydney are available to help meet this need;
  3. Educate churches and individuals in an attempt to raise awareness about the Bible’s true perspective on sexuality and how it can be expressed in ways which honour Christ. We endeavour to equip churches to better care for the many people who struggle in this area and seek to live a life according to the standards set forth in Scripture. Liberty aims to do this by providing speakers for churches and conventions, upon request;
  4. Meet needs through its online presence by providing critical insights on the issue of unwanted same-sex attractions with features such as book reviews, testimonies, audio and visual literature, commentary on social issues, links to affiliated ministries, answers to frequently asked questions, and other information.
  5. Produce resources to equip the community of Christian believers to support those dealing with unwanted same-sex attractions (such as the Pastoral Journey) and those who love them.

“Liberty Christian Ministries’ activities arise out of its aims, which include:

  1. Speaking to churches and church workers of all denominations to address issues concerning same sex attraction from a Biblical perspective and to promote pastoral care for Christians struggling with same sex attraction;
  2. Running seminars for counsellors, pastors and other interested people aimed at addressing issues relevant to those dealing with same sex attraction, their families and friends;
  3. Maintaining an office and handling calls from people looking for support, counsellors or educational resources. We do not offer counselling directly but seek to refer interested people to expert counsellors;
  4. Making regular updates to our website to cover relevant issues;
  5. Stocking current Christian books, DVDs CDs, and other literature dealing with same sex attraction and related issues which are available for sale. We are proud of our book “What Some of You Were”, which contains readable and compelling stories from people who have been helped by our ministry;
  6. We work in full accordance with the Faithfulness in Service Guidelines 2007 of the Sydney Anglican diocese (PDF version available).

“What Liberty Does Not Do:

Liberty does not necessarily share the same philosophies, interpretations of Scripture, and methodologies as other ‘ex-gay’ ministries.  We want to make it clear that we:

  • do not support or advocate homophobia and anti-gay vilification, even though we disagree with the decision to live the gay lifestyle;
  • do not advocate sexual orientation change.  Our goal is to help people live holy lives in God’s sight, as laid out in Scripture (1 Peter 1:13-16);
  • do not guarantee that Liberty or the support that it provides is, in and of itself, sufficient for people to be healed of their unwanted same-sex attractions.  Ultimate healing and wholeness is found only in Jesus Christ when we meet Him face to face (1 John 3:2-3);
  • do not promise or practise therapy.  Liberty is a support ministry and we recommend people seek professional help where appropriate;
  • do not evangelise the gay community or engage in political lobbying;
  • do not believe that same-sex attractions can be ‘cured’ or ‘fixed’, particularly in an instantaneous fashion.  Like all temptations that Christians struggle with, these issues need to be submitted to God in prayer, and we need support from a loving Christian community and illumination through God’s Word.  There is no guarantee in Scripture that homosexual desire will simply ‘go away’, although this has been known to happen;
  • do not advocate and practise hug and touch therapy.  Such methodologies can be very destructive and entrap people again in the sin that they’re trying to get away from.  Rather, we aim to help people get to the spiritual, emotional, and psychological roots of these issues and find victory in relational wholeness.

But they are very clear: you can’t be gay and go to heaven:

“May ‘gay Christians’ call Jesus Lord.  But even Jesus said “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven”.  Those who deny they sin but still claim fellowship with God are liars (1 John 1:8-10), and only those who do the will of God the Father are those who truly are friends with God (1 John 2:4).  Someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works! (James 2:18).  Having self-professing faith in God is insufficient.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Ministry One

Contact: Nick Kuiper  Email: nicolaaskuiper@gmail.com

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

On Eagles Wings to Asia
Contact: Peter Lane  Email: oneagleswings2asia@yahoo.com.au  www.oneagleswings2asia.com

 WHO WE ARE

Since  2001 “On Eagles  Wings to Asia” has been helping men and women in Asian countries find a way out of sexual and relational brokenness. It is a ministry of Exodus Asia Pacific in Australia which in turn is a member region of the worldwide Exodus Global Alliance.

This road to freedom is a long journey, often filled with confusion, frustration, and temptation.  Without support, most people would not make it.  But there are Exodus ministries all over the world which offer experience, understanding and encouragement so desperately needed by those seeking to grow beyond the control of their sexuality.

Our purpose is to see God’s intent for sexuality honoured in the lives of those seeking our help.

Those who develop maturity through their ongoing submission to the Lordship of Christ and His inspired, authoritative Word, experience God’s compassion and enablement through fellowship within a church body of supportive Christians.
VALUES

As an evangelical international and interdenominational Christian mission, On Eagles Wings adheres to the following values:-

* To advance the message of sexual redemption

* To affirm the Church as the primary body responsible for world evangelization.

* To follow Biblical standards of sexuality, stewardship, personal and professional integrity and excellence in ministry.

* To respect peoples’ freedom of choice.

MANDATE

To unify and equip Christians to minister the transforming power of the Lord Jesus Christ to those affected by sexual brokenness.

………………………………………………………………………………………….

Turnabout

PO Box 227, Maroochydore, Qld, 4558, Australia   Email: trsabodeportraiture@hotmail.com.au

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Sanctuary International

PO Box 942, Buderim, Qld, 4556, Australia
Email: sanctuary4u@gmail.com  www.sanctuary4u.faithweb.com

Sanctuary International is located in Buderim, Queensland.
It was “established to help provide support and encouragement for women who struggle with emotional dependency and/or same sex attractions.” Sanctuary is a member ministry of Exodus Asia Pacific.

The Director is Laurie Jean Wilson.

“Having struggled with lesbianism from the age of sixteen, I found in Christ an adventure I could not resist. This adventure has led me through a healing journey to know who I am as a woman of God. I encourage women to be strengthened in God for the daily battles they face in relationship.”

Their mission is “Creating a safe place for same-gender-attracted women to journey towards wholeness in Christ.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Mosaic Ministries – Beauty from Brokeness

Located in Dingley, Melbourne. Mosaic provide counselling and also run support groups.
Email: info@mosaicministries.org.au www.mosaicministries.org.au/

MM operates to educate, equip, encourage and support Christian communities, individuals and their families to understand and manage issues relating to sexual orientation.

We provide assistance to alleviate confusion and isolation which is often experienced by those who struggle and their loved ones.

We offer pastoral care on a one to one basis and in support group settings.

We are a resource for the Christian Community and those who are 3endeavouring to become better equipped and resourced to handle issues relating to sexual orientation and appropriate gender identity.

Recommended reading http://www.leannepayne.org/home/index.php I don’t want to be homosexual: is anyone in the church listening? Vast range of books and tapes.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Setting Captives Free 

Contact Rob Robertson  Email: rob@settingcaptivesfree.com www.settingcaptivesfree.com

Runs – among others, the Door of Hope course – freedom from the bondage of homosexuality – but you must have the right motive

“When I came to Setting Captives Free, I wanted God to just take these sinful desires away from me so that I would no longer feel guilty for what I was doing. I wanted to stop hurting my wife and making her cry. I wanted to be an example of purity for my children so that they would have someone to look up to. I wanted to tell the leaders in my church that I was no longer falling so they would be proud of me. ‘My guilt… my wife…my children… my church‘ were the motives for seeking freedom, but I never thought once about God or seeking purity for His glory. My reasons for wanting to be free from lust, porn and sexual immorality were purely selfish at the beginning, but once I began to see how God could use my testimony of purity for HIS glory it made all the difference …”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Living Waters

Liiving Waters is an in-depth, Christ-centered program for people seeking healing in areas of sexual and relational brokenness. It is a healing, teaching and discipleship series that addresses the reality that we are all broken in our ability to love others well. The goal of Living Waters is to lay a foundation for sexual and relational wholeness in our lives. There are Living Waters groups in Australia, China, Indonesia, New Zealand, Philippines, and Thailand. The Living Waters program is provided by Desert Stream Ministries – a ministry that is affiliated with Exodus.

 www.desertstream.org/ www.livingwaters.org.au www.livingwaters.org.nz

An international ministry. In Australia the ministry is located in Sydney and is headed up by Ron Brookman. It also operates in Melbourne.

Living Waters runs courses to help Christians deal with sexual and relational problems. They address issues such as:

  • Gender confusion (particularly Homosexual and Lesbian struggles)
  • The effects of abuse
  • Unwanted sexual compulsions
  • Co-dependency
  • The fear of intimacy
  • Problems with the internet: chat rooms, pornography
  • The True Feminine * The True Masculine
  • How our sexuality develops and may be damaged
  • The healing of our sexuality

Click here for their website.

Living Waters is about…

  • Restoring sexuality!
  • Promoting & ministering sexual purity
  • Reaching the church & nation with grace to restore broken sexuality
  • Testimony of God’s healing
  • Groups for restoration and support
  • Resources for church & individual
  • Truth to challenge immorality
  • A safe place to call for help
  • Delegations for speaking engagements
  • Prayer for sexual purity in the church

For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor – 1 Thess 4:3-4

Our Aim:

  • To establish a ministry in each state

Strategies for 2013:

  1. To conduct seminars and retreats in each state
  2. To produce resources for small groups or individuals to meet needs in large churches or isolated communities
  3. To model church, based on reaching the community through promoting Godly sexuality
  4. To do this we need visionary partners!
  5. We are not supported by any church or organization, Living Waters depends on gifts from supporters to exist.
  6. The challenge gets greater as standards decrease in church and society. The need to offer healing grows as sinful sexuality increasingly mars God’s image in people, wounds them and breaks marriages.
  7. The LW Board believes the Lord is raising an army of supporters to ensure the growing impact of this timely ministry.

Will you become a visionary partner?

To do so, you agree to support us

  • Financially at a monthly/quarterly level you can afford,
  • Prayerfully, as you are led.
  • As an ambassador, making known the ministry, as you are able.

 


 Living Hope Ministries

http://livehope.org/  Forum  https://livehope.org/online

Living Hope’s mission is to proclaim God’s truth as we journey with those seeking sexual and relational wholeness through a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

We provide a safe place for individuals seeking restoration and healing through weekly support group meetings, moderated online support forums, in-depth discipleship programs, and active partnerships with churches around the world.

We believe the Scriptures are clear about God’s design for sexuality, and that ultimate freedom is found through submission to Christ. The Gospel of Jesus has the power to transform hearts, and a vibrant relationship with Him changes every aspect of our lives. By providing an environment where men and women are given the freedom to grow in the truth of God’s Word, we see restoration and wholeness emerge from confusion and chaos.

…………………………

Exodus Auckland

PO Box 175, Takanini, Auckland, New Zealand Phone: 64 9 268 0346 Email: exodusnz@maxnet.co.nz


Catholic Groups

Catholic groups exist in many regions of Australia to support both those who struggle with same sex issues within the Catholic faith and there are support groups for parents and family.

Their aposolates may be found on this net site:  http://couragerc.net/WWCAustralia.html  and more information on Courage: www.courage.cam.org.au

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

THE PFOX LIST

This is a much older list from the main US source for information on ex-gay programs. Some of these groups may have closed down, or moved elsewhere. And there is a degree of overlap with the Saltshaker list. I find it terrifying that there are so many many people prepared – without any proper qualifications – to mess with the minds of vulnerable people, especially children. I have heard of kids as young as 12 being sent to these programs – and it doesn’t come out well.

Barnabas House (New South Wales) Jane Dawson; 18 The Avenue, Hurstville NSW 2220

Courage – Australia Chapters
Broadway, Lynn Ryan, Write – PO Box 893 Broadway 2007
Dingley, Fr. Danial Pietrzak, Phone – 03 9551 7579, E-Mail: MELBOURNE@hotmail.com
St. Lucia, Fr. Gregory Jordan, S.J., Phone 07 3878 0638, E-Mail: gfjordan@mailbox.uq.edu.au

Debbie and Alan Hirsch (Victoria; formerly Exodus Central) 011-61-3-699-1536; c/o 412 Dorcas St., South Melbourne, Victoria 3205

Exit Ministries (New South Wales) Tel: (02) 9578-3622 Ian Lind. 011-61-2-698-3622 c/o Christian Life Centre, 188 Young St, Waterloo, Sydney NSW 2017, Australia

Homosexuals Anonymous 
HA-Brisbane: 07-3390-4593
HA-Canberra: 02-6291-7792
HA-Perth: 09-367-9420

Liberty Christian Ministries Inc. (New South Wales) Directors: Chris and Truda Keane. PO Box 67, Summer Hill, NSW 2130. Telephone: 011-61-02-9798-4685.

Liberty, Inc. (Queensland) Director: Paul Wegner; Phone: 61 7 3390 4250, Fax: 61 7 3371 4705; P.O Box 2083, Tingalpa, Queensland, 4173, Australia. E-Mail: exodus@itconnect.net.au

Living Waters – Canberra Phone: (02) 6296 1587; c/o Tuggeranong Baptist Church, PO Box 82, Erindale ACT 2903 Web: http://www.geocities.com/lwact E-Mail: lwact@yahoo.com.au

Love in Action (South Australia) Director: Nick Kuiper; Phone: 61 8 8341 7373; GPO Box 115, Adelaide, 5000, Australia E-Mail: billy_2@mail.chariot.net.au

Open Door Community (New South Wales) Tel: 02 6583 8413. Fax: 02 6584 1033. c/o St. Thomas Anglican Church, Port MacQuarie NSW 2444

The Recovery Line PO Box 1321, Fyshwick ACT 2609. Telephone: 011-61-02-6291-7792. E-Mail: recoveryline@altavista.net

Regeneration (formerly listed under Jim Gallagher) Director: Pastor Jim Gallagher; Phone: 011-61-66-243519; Fax: 61 2 6622 4711; PO Box 517, Lismore, NSW, 2480, Australia E-Mail: jimnruth@lis.net.au

Restoration (Queensland) Bruce and Rhonda Sleaford; 76 Jindabyne Circuit, Forest Lake, Q 4077, Australia

Roy and Dawn Ball (Victoria) Phone 011-61-6-251-530. PO Box 222, Wodonga, Albury, Victoria 3689.

Sanctuary (Queensland) Director: Laurie Jean Wilson; Phone: 61 7 5445 4898. Fax: 0754770711; PO Box 942, Buderim, Queensland, 4556, Australia E-Mail: wilsonlj@ozemail.com.au

Spencer Gear (Queensland) Director: Spencer Gear; PO Box 2106, Bundaberg, Queensland, 4670, Australia

Steve Richards (Queensland) 45 Webb St, Logan Lea, Q 4131, Australia.

Turnabout Director: Tim Schewen; Phone/Fax: 61 7 5446 6017; PO Box 227, Maroochydore, Queensland, 4558, Australia E-Mail: trsabodeportraiture@hotmail.c om

Uniting Churches in Australia
Stephen Richards, Logan Uniting Church, P. O. Box 239, Springwood, Queensland 4127, Australia. Phone: (07) 3290 1277. Fax: (07) 3808 6696.
Work in Progress Director: Dr. John Meteyard; Phone: 61 7 5530 7126; PO Box 358, Mudgeeraba, Queensland, 4213 Australia

……………………………………………………………………………………………….

EX-EX-GAY

Anthony Venn-Brown is an ex-ex-gay evangelical preacher. He founded Freedom2be, for gay evangelical Christians, to help them reconcile their faith and their sexuality. What follows is from a recent newsletter about his work, from his new organisations, Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International.

Recently I was a guest in the Sydney ABC studios on Sunday night to give my perspectives on reparative/conversion therapy. In the studio was also the pastoral worker, Haydn Sennitt, from Liberty Christian Ministries, who works with people who have ‘unwanted same sex attraction’. You can read about the program and listen to the podcast here.Haydn shared the story of his promiscuous and unhappy gay life, his disillusionment and his desire to be straight. Then presenter, Noel Debien, asked me to respond. My first response was that listening to Haydn story was in many ways exactly like mine ……‘déjà vu’ I said.

After the Sunday night program Haydn responded on the organisations website. An extract is below.

Haydn’s story is Haydn’s story

Last weekend I appeared in a radio interview on ABC radio to discuss the issue of recent Californian legislation on reparative therapy.  Another guest appeared on the show, a so-called  ‘gay Christian’ and former pastor named Anthony who left his wife, family, and ministry to live a gay life.  At the outset of the interview, Anthony commented on my journey of leaving homosexuality by saying with unsurprising condescension something along the lines of, “Oh, when I listened to Haydn’s story I get a feeling of déjà vu!  I was exactly the same 30 years ago”

The implication, hint hint, is Change did not work for me, and therefore it cannot for Haydn.  We have many things in common: both were/are married, have two daughters, identify as Christian, and even once/do attend the same church, therefore expect him to go down the same track that I have.  Haydn’s really gay, and nothing he can say or do to the contrary will change that.  Haydn, why fight yourself?  There is no integrity in that.  Why stick to your wife and children and deny ‘who you are’ and live with a ‘lack of integrity’ when you can join others who ‘understand you’?  You’re ‘lying’ to yourself and everybody else and one day you can and should leave your family because it’s all a hopeless sham.

My integrity is found in sticking with my wife and keeping to the marriage vows that I made to her and others.  It is very true that I was not always faithful to my wife after we got married  and we are working through those things in individual and marriage counselling. A lot of my unresolved brokenness has affected our marriage and I am responsible for it.  But we’re working at it and our relationship is getting stronger because GOD is with us and very much been the instigator and sustainer of our marriage.  He’s healing me through being a husband as well as a father to my two daughters and none of them are a mistake; indeed it is personally offensive and scurrilous to suggest that those whom I love and give me so much joy are a ‘sham’.  And their very existence begs the question that if I was ‘born gay’ how could it be that I would have the biological ‘equipment’ to sire two children and enjoy sexual intimacy with a woman?  If there is integrity in ‘being gay’ it seems to be lost on me because my own circumstances by the power of God demonstrate that gay identity is not a reality.

Venn-Brown responds . . . . . .

Considering that certain false assumptions had been made about my comments as well as other comments Haydn had made I thought it would be good to email him. I carefully constructed a 1500 word gracious, respectful but honest response. Part of that email is below.

 Hi Haydn

I was sort of hoping we would be able to chat/debrief after the ABC interview. I sensed though this is not something you would like to have done.

Someone notified me of some of your recent blogs entries.

I did think that the assumptions you have made about the meaning of my déjà vu statement on the ABC has taken things a little too far. Your assumptions and wording of what I meant by déjà vu are rather heartless statements and assumptions that I wouldn’t make.

You and I do have many similarities in our journey. Fortunately I have not had to deal with sexual abuse or a tortured relationship with my family you seem to have had. Your brief time living as a gay man with the many meaningless and often anonymous sexual encounters is tragic. I lived like that myself for some time before I got married. And like you some of that continued during my marriage life. It appears from what you have said and written that this was mostly at beats, sauna’s or a part of the gay ‘scene’. My life today though living as an openly gay man is very very different. Its moral, full of wonderful people and most of my gay friends are in monogamous committed relationships. You and I previously were obviously moving in the wrong circles.

This is certainly not just about me. ….my story or your story. We now have 40 years of ‘ex-gay’ history to draw on. The patterns are quite clear. I have worked with 100’s of people like myself and like you. Currently I am working with a ex-gay leader who is in the process of facing the reality late 50’s. And another  man I worked with recently early 60’s. When you speak about the decisions and choices people like us have had to make you make it sound like the issue was that we left the marriage to live a ‘gay life’  and insinuating it is about sex and that we choose selfishly.  Or that we have ‘given in’ to our homosexuality. This is very far from the truth and demonstrates that you are unaware of the personal pain we have experienced in coming to a place of acceptance. Believe me it was and is never that easy. It’s unfair that you speak so demeaningly about this.

I do feel sad for you…..and your wife. This is not a condescending sadness in any way. It is genuine compassion having experienced myself some of your pain and seen how my former wife also suffered. You have blogged about your unfaithfulness and betrayal of your marriage vows. I am saddened to read that in such a public space and wonder what impact these sorts of disclosures have on your wife’s mental health and sense of self worth.

A women recently emailed me her story after Ron Brookman said at the marriage equality committee he had recently performed the marriage of 3 men who were ‘former homosexuals’ .

My story… I am straight and I was married to a closeted gay Christian man. This is a scenario that occurs over and over again in the Christian world. The gay man or women has heard all their lives from the pulpit that they are an “abomination”. Mostly there is never even a distinction made between same-sex attraction/orientation and same-sex behaviour. So gay Christians learn to hide, to never be authentic, to never reveal their struggles. They marry a person of the opposite sex because that’s what is expected. This is a marriage doomed to failure. The unsuspecting straight partner knows something is wrong but can’t work out what. The gay partner eventually finds every excuse in the book to avoid intimacy and most often also becomes emotionally distant and detached, depressed and anxious. The straight partner has lost not only an intimate partner but also a friend and companion, and their self-esteem is quite often shattered in this facade of a marriage.

 I’m sad for Ron Brookman’s wife, and for the wives (and children if these marriages don’t make it) of the other men he talks about in this interview. I’m sad for everyone who will believe what he says. I’m sad for myself… separated, now divorced from my Christian, closeted, gay-in-denial ex-husband (also in ministry). I’m sad for my ex-husband’s first wife and children. I’m sad that he quite possibly will do this again to a 3rd woman because of fear and shame, and because of messages like this one from Ron Brookman that say that it’s possible to be a “former homosexual”. I support honesty, authenticity, and integrity. And… I’m very very sad for my ex-husband, and for all the unnecessary anxiety, depression, fear and shame that keeps him in the closet.

So Haydn we all suffer in this together in this terrible dilemma of being gay in a Christian culture that is ill-informed about sexual orientation.

How do I know all these things……from the experience of working with 100’s of people who have tried the path of marriage….some used to attend Liberty….many other ex-gay style programs..

As always I am willing to dialogue or chat with you. Our meeting and the content will remain confidential if that is what you desire.

Sincerely

Anthony

(There was, of course, no reply: Ed.)

If you are al tempted by the thought of these ex-gay programs, or to put your child through one, I strongly urge you to contact Anthony first

Anthony Venn-Brown Founder and Director of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International (ABBI)

Author of ‘A Life of Unlearning – A Journey to Find the Truth’

M: +61 (0)416 015 231 E: anthony@gayambassdor.com W:www.gayambassador.com Twitter:@gayambassador

Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International creates a better world for LGBTI people through education, information and dialogue. Please email for more detailed information.

Be Sociable, Share!

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. And now he’s been nominated for LGBTI Journalist of the Year 2017, which is great news, as he hasn’t won any of these things for years! If you want to nominate him too – the more the merrier – you can do it here http://www.australianlgbtiawards.com.au/public-nominations.html

“Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe.” (Daniel Witthaus, “Beyond Priscilla”, Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)