Here is his story in his own words. You can love and serve God as an out and proud gay man. You do not have to choose between being gay and being a Christian. Discovering this truth has been a difficult yet exhilarating journey for me.As a teenager in a contemporary church, I was sold the cruel lie that being gay was evil and that I could easily become straight. Twenty years of attending ex-gay support groups, enduring exorcisms, days of fasting and hours of prayer left me unable to change into a straight person.
During that time, I was an Australian Christian Churches Pastor, married, with two beautiful daughters. When I spoke to senior ministers about the struggles with my sexuality I was told to keep it a secret. I wanted to support others who were going through the same thing and founded Ministry One in 2003 and was its director for six years. Like other ex-gay ministries in Australia, Ministry One was affiliated with Exodus International and we looked after people who’d made inquiries through their website.
Living in a Christian subculture, where I could never be myself, eventually the struggle became so great I got to the point of considering taking my own life. Thankfully I decided not to die but to live, to embrace the love of God and be the person I really am. This involved discovering that literalist interpretations of the Bible create an ugly caricature of Christianity. I discovered an authentic and progressive faith in God and moved into the LGBT community where I found love, acceptance, friendship and support. It was so good to be welcomed and embraced after years of secrecy and rejection.
I have been in a committed relationship since July 2009 with my wonderful partner Timo where we celebrated our civil union in February 2012. I am also actively involved at St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane. I have a loving relationship with both of my daughters and it has been good to see my ex-wife get remarried to a heterosexual man. I run a successful travel business and seek to be an encouragement to those I meet.
I know firsthand that it is very hard when you are a gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender person in an anti-gay “Christian” world. You can feel very alone, very afraid and very confused. My encouragement to people in this situation is that there is a better way but it must be your own choice and that choice does take courage. Each person must choose their own path. Above all I encourage gay people not to get married for the sake of the precious other person involved and to avoid ex-gay ministries like the plague.
I conclude with a heartfelt apology to anyone who has been hurt or misled by my past life and ministry. If I had known what I know now, I would not have chosen that path for myself or encouraged others to believe they could become straight.
Im an American. I have yet to hear any apologies from the Christian ex gay movement that is directed specifically to the heterosexual husbands and wives who were supposed to be prayer partners, cheer leaders, and who received very little support from their churches once they either "failed" or "lost faith" (ie moved on with their lives and often left the church or changed churches)
Where is the Christ centered bridge building and healing for us? Why are we never mentioned except in passing? We are much more than "collateral damage." We are family. It sounds as if you and your ex wife have made peace with each other and continue to be family. This is the important part of the continuing story for everyone.How do we make it better? How do we help the whole family reconnect to a journey of faith?
I really do appreciate you encouraging others to not marry for the sake of the other person involved. Would appreciate your thoughts on where entire families including spouses affected by the ex gay movement go from here, especially in moving forward in faith.
Thanks Janet for your comments…they are very very true. Hopefully you'll be encouraged reading what I have said about this at the bottom of this article. http://gayambassador.blogspot.com.au/2010/04/most-misunderstood-concept-in-ex-gay.html
are there people such as yourself in the Straight Spouses Network…from a faith background I mean. No doubt there would be many
Hi Janet. I wonder what your thoughts on this article are. http://www.worldmag.com/2013/06/what_ex_gay_men_can_teach_us_about_marriage
I am also so thankful for the advice not to marry. In a sense the family, including children, are the closet providing camouflage for the person. I don't blame him for struggling to come to terms with his orientation in the context of a fundamentalist Christian culture; I am just very sorry, that the children and I were essentially no more than collateral damage in someone else's journey.
Jacqueline …there have been far too many tragic outcomes from the ridiculous ignorance about sexual orientation. 40. 30, even 20 years ago it could have been excusable. NOT today though.
Hi Jacueline. I wonder what your thoughts on this article are. Personally I think it is a bizarre article http://www.worldmag.com/2013/06/what_ex_gay_men_can_teach_us_about_marriage
[…] SIMON Tinkler’s outlook on life is remarkably positive given what he’s gone through. […]
some of us are blessed to have come out the other end okay. Others not so fortunate. And of course some didn’t make through to the other end.
This article might also be helpful https://www.abbi.org.au/2014/10/gay-in-a-straight-marriage/
My wife and I were ‘encouraged’ to get married by the leadership in the church. We also believed that this would be part of my final healing. The ignorance the church leadership displayed about sexual orientation was appalling and resulted in the most painful times in our lives. We are separated now. and trying to put our lives together. I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what we went through because of our pastors stupidity. Obviously I don’t go to church anymore.