Australia Conversion Therapy Leaders Change Perspective

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Australia Conversion Therapy Leaders Change Perspective

australia conversion therapyEx-gay/reparative/conversion therapy 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 leaders and myself to speak up?

From the 100’s of 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 darkest 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 Australian ex-gay/reparative/conversion therapy ministries. 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


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. SteveSchalchlin August 19, 2007 at 3:01 pm - Reply

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

  2. Mark Riessen February 18, 2008 at 2:18 am - Reply

    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. Anthony Venn-Brown February 18, 2008 at 2:39 am - Reply

    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. Drew Payne February 21, 2008 at 9:25 am - Reply

    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. Anthony Venn-Brown February 21, 2008 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    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. Devlin June 3, 2008 at 7:20 am - Reply

    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. Anthony Venn-Brown June 3, 2008 at 8:55 am - Reply

    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

  8. Mateus Garcia Duarte March 3, 2013 at 9:21 am - Reply

    THANK YOU from Brazil!!!!

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