There was a time when the terms ‘ex-gay’ or ‘former homosexual’ were non-existent. In the 1950s and 1960s mental health professionals tried unsuccessfully to find a cause and cure for homosexuality. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) removed the diagnosis of “homosexuality” from the second edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). At last people realised homosexuality was not an illness that required treatment or a cure. Well some did.

From the 1970s Christians began to claim that they had turned from gay to straight by the help of conversion, exorcisms, prayer, fasting and support programs. Organisations and ministries began to mushroom making similar claims; Exodus becoming the umbrella organisation globally. For nearly four decades tens of thousands of lives have been destroyed by the lie God changes people from gay to straight.

Those who survived the trauma took time to heal and feel strong enough to share their experience (see the ex-ex-gay closet in our report on gay conversion therapy in Australia).

In 2000 a new term evolved; ‘ex-gay survivor’, to describe those who’d gone through an ‘ex-gay’ program but eventually came to accept being gay, lesbian or transgender. This has now become more commonly known as ‘conversion therapy survivors’.

Currently  we are experiencing unprecedented increased awareness about gay conversion therapy prompted by global moves to have the practice banned and recent movies like The Miseducation of Cameron Post and Boy Erased. But it hasn’t always been this way.

To deconstruct the ex-gay myth it has taken people to stand up and bravely share their stories.  Below is a list of individuals in Australia and New Zealand who’s stories have created awareness, and chipped away at the curse of ex-gay organisations and the devastating philosophy that we were broken and needed healing. (click on each name below to see their story)

There are several people who wished to remain anonymous when telling their stories. Since this list was originally released some names and stories have been removed. They were removed at the individual’s request because of the impact on their mental health, the influence this might have on their employment or that they would rather just forget what happened and leave it in the past. ABBI totally respects their right for privacy and safety. Once again this demonstrates the long term impacts on ex-gay/reparative/conversion therapy survivors and why the beliefs and practices in all it’s forms must cease. Please consider supporting our work to make this happen.

We also acknowledge and are grateful for the former ‘Ex-gay’ leaders who’ve spoken up

PLEASE NOTE: If we have inadvertently missed someone in Australia or New Zealand who has told their story in the print or radio media or TV, please email us with their name and link to

You can also honour these people and help overcome ignorance about sexuality and gender identity by sharing this on social media using the buttons below. Thank you.