The bridge
building factor

When I first wrote briefly
in my newsletter about being at the Exodus Conference
and the 37 year old organisation was closing a lovely person responded via
email saying “Thank you…….etc etc”. I laughed aloud. Oh dear, this person was under the allusion that
somehow, singlehandedly, I had managed to bring the world’s largest ex-gay
organisation to a grinding halt. I replied thanking them for their gratitude
but that I was a very very small cog in the wheel. Others have been far more
influential in the long saga.

To even attempt to name
the individuals involved in reaching out to Alan and others at Exodus would be
mammoth task. I know some of them but in naming individuals I’d be sure to miss
some important contributors. One thing I do know is that it began as far back
as 2007 when the first Ex-gay Survivors Conference was going on only
kilometres from the Exodus conference  A
group went over the conference and met with Alan. Amidst the 1,000’s of angry condemning emails Alan received others were
taking a different approach; emails, phone calls and meetings set up….. all
with the same end in mind to build trust, relationship and dialogue.
gave up in frustration.

One thing I’ve learnt in bridge
building is that one needs enormous amounts of patience and grace. Changes like
we have seen with Exodus shutting down do not happen overnight. Going from
being anti-gay to gay accepting/affirming is a journey of many years through
several stages. I’ve been on this journey with some individual church leaders and churches for over
10 years now.
Sadly, it most cases it
has not been Exodus or the Church reaching out for dialogue with the LGBTI
community as one would think Christians motivated by love would do. Quite the opposite actually. It’s been
LGBTI organisations and individuals who have reached out and built bridges to

If you would like to
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Or read the 8 Factors that Created the Tipping Point separately.
No.1 The Society Shift Factor 
No.2 The Gulf Factor
No.3 The Internet Factor 

No.4 The Honesty Factor
No.5 The Bridge Building Factor
No.6 The Listening Factor
No.7 The Evolving Faith Factor

No.8 The Midlife Factor

© Anthony Venn-Brown is the co-founder and former leader of Freedom2b, Australia’s largest network of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people from Christian backgrounds. He is also an educator and consultant on LGBT/faith issues and leader in deconstructing the ‘ex-gay’ myth. Anthony’s autobiography ‘A Life of Unlearning’, details his journey from married, high profile preacher in Australia’s mega-churches to living as an openly gay man. Anthony has been twice voted ‘One of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians’ (2007 & 2009) and  was one of four finalists for the 2011 ACON Community Hero Award. He is also the founder and CEO of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International.