Common Themes in ‘Ex-gay’ Stories

//Common Themes in ‘Ex-gay’ Stories

Common Themes in ‘Ex-gay’ Stories

Ex-gay or conversion therapy (overcome unwanted same sex attraction) stories are all pretty much the same.  The common themes in these stories include:

  • It’s my parents fault I’m gay – my father didn’t love me and/or my mother was overbearing.
  • I was sexually abused
  • I hated myself as a gay person
  • I had substance abuse issues and mental health problems
  • My life was completely messed up and was really disillusioned the  ‘gay lifestyle’ (whatever that is)
  • I had numerous meaningless sexual encounters and therefore lacked any sense of morality or self respect
  • I couldn’t maintain a long term relationship/relationships
  • Testimonials are often sensationalized and over dramatized. In this story below two 11-12 year old boys playing/experimenting together is called sexual abuse. Sometimes people talk about having been drug addicts but in truth they were drug users. This is obviously different but not as dramatic.
  • There is no mention of falling in love with wife or husband. This is what God wanted apparently.
  • The person now has a ministry that rescues or works with people struggling with ‘unwanted same sex attraction’. This creates added pressure to maintain the façade or live in denial or they will lose their identity/ministry/source of income.
Interesting to note that:
  • Many gay and lesbian people had and still have wonderful relationships with their parents but are still gay. Many straight people also had poor relationships with their parents but are heterosexual.
  • Abuse is abuse but it doesn’t make a person gay. Certainly not during experimental phases of puberty with people the same age.
  • Around 40% of people have had a same sex experience but obviously not 40% of the population are gay.
  • Heterosexuals also can lead self-destructive lifestyles and be promiscuous etc but if they have a conversion experience don’t feel the need to blame their tragic past on their sexual orientation.
  • When straight married people talk about their partners and how they met they usually talk about how they fell in love. And even that they are still in love. This is not a part of ex-gay stories. They love their partners like a best friend.
  • Gay men and lesbians can exist in heterosexual marriages but this is not a change in orientation it is situational heterosexuality.
  • Amongst gay and lesbian people is a spectrum of morality as there is amongst the straight community. Many gay and lesbian people live in long-term, committed, monogamous relationships. These ex-gay stories assume the opposite because of their own personal experience – often of many meaningless, unfulfilling sexual encounters.
  • Gays and lesbians have not cornered the market on sex by any means. An alarming number of married men and women have extra-marital affairs.

About the Author:

Anthony Venn-Brown
Anthony Venn-Brown is one of Australia’s foremost commentators on faith and sexuality. His best-selling autobiography 'A Life of Unlearning – a preacher’s struggle with his homosexuality, church and faith', details his journey from being one of the first in the world to experience religious gay conversion therapy, becoming a married, high profile preacher in Australia's growing mega-churches, such as Hillsong, to living as an openly gay man. Anthony was the co-founder and former leader of Freedom2b. He is an educator and consultant on LGBT/faith issues and leader in deconstructing the ex-gay/reparative/conversion therapy myth. Anthony is the founder and CEO of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International. Anthony has been recognised on a number of occassions for his contribution and impact including being twice voted one of 'The 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians’.


  1. Anonymous August 2, 2011 at 1:24 am - Reply

    hahahahahahaha this is called ignorance

  2. tnesmith August 6, 2011 at 5:20 am - Reply

    Yep… the biggest success stories seem to be the guys whose livelihood depends on showing a successful conversion.

    Hmm… I don't know what's wrong with me. I don't drink alcohol at all, don't take drugs, don't hook-up. I've know many sweet guys in committed relationships and have unnumbered good solid friends. Happiness isn't something I seek… I've got it. Guess I'll have to see a counselor to get fixed. 😉


  3. Anthony Venn-Brown August 6, 2011 at 10:01 am - Reply

    well the public ones eh Mr tnesmith.

    "I don't know what's wrong with me. I don't drink alcohol at all, don't take drugs, don't hook-up. I've know many sweet guys in committed relationships and have unnumbered good solid friends. Happiness isn't something I seek… I've got it."

    are you sure you are gay tom…..hehe. I heard for years the life you live is impossible in you are gay……lol.

    BTW….you have given me an idea for another article……thanks.

  4. ajjetsetter November 30, 2011 at 1:29 am - Reply

    As a gay male, I do wonder about the ying/yang factor as this may be the reason why many gay relationships don't work out. My defense to this is how lesbian relationships outnumber gay relationships by far….so I guess that cancels that! I have not been raped, abused, do not use drugs, and have had a pretty good life, so I don't understand why its not happening for me. Never been with women and have no desire whatsoever, just really trying to understand if its really meant to happen????? Your thoughts?

  5. Anthony Venn-Brown December 27, 2011 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    Hi ajjettersetter…….not really sure what you are asking. Can you please clarify.

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