Founder of USA’s largest conversion therapy programs announces that ‘ex-gay’ therapies are harmful and a lie. Wait but there is more. While debunking conversion therapies he also comes out as gay to the public.
‘Hope for Wholeness’ therapy Group:
‘Hope for Wholeness‘ is a conversion therapy group in the United States. It was founded by McKrae Game in South Carolina about 2 decades ago, in 1999. The group promotes ‘faith-based’ therapy. It was originally called the ‘Truth Mnistry’, and started as an affiliate to Exodus International, a network of organisations that targeted “people who wished to limit their homosexual desires”. However, Conversion therapy, as a practice, is widely discredited. It focuses on the eradication or suppression of an LGBTQ+ individual’s identity through counseling or ministry. According to the group website, homosexuality and transgenderism are considered as a form of ‘brokenness’.
Game’s asks forgiveness from the LGBTQ+ community.
In 2017, the board of directors of the group abruptly fired Game. Furthermore, according to The Post and Courier, the 51-year-old came out as ‘gay’ this year, in June. He even has a Pro-Pride themed profile picture on Facebook. He is still married to his wife Julie, who knows about his sexual orientation.
Game was once called the leading voice in propagating ‘conversion therapy’. For years, he attempted converting LGBTQ+ people. Furthermore, he also practiced the therapy principles on himself. However, after being removed by the Board of Directors, and coming out as gay, he has come to a realisation.
Today, Game is trying to come to terms with the harm he has caused by promoting the programme. He told The Post and Courier that, “Conversion therapy is not just a lie, but it’s very harmful”. Furthermore, in the interview, he said that the programme is “false advertising”.
“I was a religious zealot that hurt people. [He continued]. People said they attempted suicide over me and the things I said to them. People, I know, are in therapy because of me. Why would I want that to continue?”
– As reported by New York Post
Game took to Facebook to apologise
Through a Facebook post, last week titled “I WAS WRONG! Please forgive me!” he asked an apology for advocating such a practice.
20yrs in exgay ministry I WAS WRONG! Please forgive me! ❤️Unpacking the memories. In the discussions leading up to The…
In his Facebook post, he wrote that he regrets the harm he has caused. He regrets creating such an organisation with a misleading slogan that claimed to give “Freedom from homosexuality through Jesus Christ”. He wrote,
“Promoting the triadic model that blamed parents and conversion or prayer therapy, that made many people believe that their orientation was wrong, bad, sinful, evil, and worse that they could change was absolutely harmful.”
Game has readied himself for the intense backlash, especially after coming out to the world. People still target him on facebook through messages. They say that the programme traumatised them.
Conversion Therapy in the USA:
18 states in the USA, including New York, have banned Conversion Therapy. Medical organisations world-wide have opposed and debunked the programme. Also known as ‘reparative’ therapies, they are seen as psychologically traumatising.
In 2014, 9 leaders and founders from some of the most well-known ministries and programmes of the country wrote an open letter. In the letter, they demanded a nationwide ban on conversion therapies. They wrote,
“As former ex-gay leaders, having witnessed the incredible harm done to those who attempted to change their sexual orientation or gender identity, we join together in calling for a ban on conversion therapy.”
“It is our firm belief that it is much more productive to support, counsel, and mentor LGBTQ individuals to embrace who they are in order to live happy, well-adjusted lives.”
-As reported by The Post and Courier
The American Academy of Paediatrics also warned against the therapy as early as 1993. However, the practice of ‘de-gaying’ people has existed for over a century. It employs different techniques with the most common technique being talking therapy.
Conversion therapies must be discouraged:
Many believe that conversion therapy is a cure for homosexuality. Advocating such ideas needs to stop. While medical institutions around the world have been rejecting and warning about the practice, it continues to prevail.
We have previously seen a sexologist from Kerala claiming to cure homosexuality. He had bizarre theories that usually the youngest son of the household is gay. Groups such as Hope and Wholesome, use faith to suppress one’s homosexuality. They claim that the person will go to hell if they did not stop. Such practices blame the parent for the child’s sexuality. It only leads to shame and anxiety.
It is, however, good to see that people who were previously leading such programmes, are now opposing it. They are raising their voices against the harm such therapies have on the mental health of people.
What’s happening in India? Read: 1st Indian state to ban ‘normalising’ surgery on intersex infants
Source Credit: Huffington Post, New York Post, Pink News, Post and Courier, Queerty,