I am now 41 years old and a married gay man, but my journey has been fraught with turmoil, pain, and confusion, primarily due to my upbringing in a very religious household that rejected my sexual orientation.

In 2007, after ending my first serious gay relationship of 18 months. I reached out to an organization called Liberty Christian Ministries, affiliated with Exodus Global Alliance. This group perpetuated the harmful message that one can change their sexual orientation and that being gay, and Christian were incompatible. I developed a close relationship with the leader of the organisation. Even though he was married to a woman, he openly admitted he was still experiencing same-sex attraction but urged people not to give up on their faith or the pursuit of “healing and wholeness.”

It left me questioning my sexual identity and dealing with persistent emotional scars that continue to affect me today.

Driven by guilt, confusion, and a desperate need for approval, I embarked on years of conversion therapy, believing this is what God and my family wanted. This journey inflicted profound damage on my mental health, emotional well-being, and sense of self. It left me questioning my sexual identity and dealing with persistent emotional scars that continue to affect me today.

Vulnerable LGBTQ+ individuals, especially young people, are often coerced into undergoing these harmful practices due to parental expectations, religious pressures, and societal influences. They are stripped of their choice and subjected to a process that only exacerbates their suffering and, tragically, can lead to suicide.

The negative impacts of conversion therapy are undeniable. It perpetuates self-loathing, fosters isolation, and damages mental health. It leaves individuals in a state of perpetual confusion, unable to reconcile their true selves with the misguided expectations imposed upon them. The damage is long-lasting, affecting relationships, self-esteem, and overall quality of life. This is not just a matter of personal choice; it’s a matter of human rights and basic dignity.

Conversion therapy should have no place in our society, and I urge the government to act swiftly and decisively in banning this harmful practice. Let us protect our LGBTQ+ community and prevent others from enduring the pain and suffering that I, and so many others, have experienced. It’s time to ensure that no one else has to go through what I went through in the name of acceptance and love.

Hayden P

More information about so called “conversion therapy’ HERE

More conversion “therapy” survivor stories HERE

Anthony Venn-Brown says: “I’ve been hearing stories like this for 23 years now. I want these to stop. We can’t legislate to change an outdated, ill-informed religious belief about sexuality and gender identity, but we can create awareness and pass laws that protect vulnerable LGBTQ people from harm. You can help create awareness by sharing this story and also signing the Equality Australia’s petition in support of Alex Greenwich’s Equality Bill.”

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