Ex-gay/Reparative/Conversion Therapy Authority
Anthony Venn-Brown OAM
In a former life Anthony Venn-Brown, married with children, was a high-profile Pentecostal preacher, who preached regularly in megachurches around the country. His twenty-two-year struggle trying NOT to be gay, came to an abrupt end the night he met Jason. Reality can hit hard sometimes, and a public confession and abandonment by the church left him devastated.
It would take time to recover from the shame and begin his journey to living authentically as a gay man. Anthony was the first Australian gay conversion therapy survivor to tell his story.
His autobiography. ‘A Life of Unlearning’ became a bestseller and opened a floodgate of responses from readers who’d had similar experiences.
An entire chapter details his ex-gay experience in 1972 and exorcisms in 1971. Since 2000, Anthony has supported conversion therapy survivors, created awareness about the harm, and worked towards ending the practice in Australia.
He is the founder and CEO of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International and has been recognised for his contribution to the LGBTI community several times including being twice voted one of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians.
Anthony has been monitoring ex-gay/conversion/reparative activities/organisations in Australia and overseas since the late 90s and gained a wealth of experience working with people dealing with the aftermath of a belief system that said, because they were same-sex-oriented, they were broken, dysfunctional and an abomination.
- Over 20 years of experience working with gay and lesbian people in heterosexual marriages and conversion “therapy” survivors.
- Networked with similar advocacy and survivor international groups.
- Appeared in documentaries and TV shows speaking about ex-gay/reparative/conversion therapy.
- 2020 Awarded Medal of Australia for service to the LGBTIQ community.
- 2018 produced Australia’s first report on Gay Conversion Therapy in Australia.
- 2016 current project. “The Quest to Cure Queers – Exodus to nowhere”. A personal and behind-the-scenes account of the rise and fall of conversion therapy’ globally and documenting Australia’s role.
- 2015 ACON Honour Awards. Winner of the Health and Wellbeing Award for working to bring ex-gay/reparative/conversion therapy practices and organisations to an end in Australia.
- 2015 approached by Sensoria academic journal to write an article on ex-gay/reparative/conversion therapy.
- 2014 Lodged Submission No. 72, Mr. Anthony Venn-Brown to NSW parliamentary inquiry on The Promotion of False or Misleading Health-Related Information or Practices re ex-gay/reparative/conversion therapies.
- 2014 announced the closure of Living Waters Australia and organised a vigil in memory of those we’ve lost and harmed through ex-gay/reparative/conversion organisations.
- 2013 Interviewed Alan Chambers in the final hours of the last Exodus Conference.
- 2013 Attended the final Exodus International Conference in California at the invitation of President Alan Chambers.
- 2012 Researched and documented the decline of ex-gay organisations in Australia and New Zealand. See also “Ex-gay away, Gay News Network“.
- 2012 Released Ex-gay survivor Stories.
- 2011- 2012 Involved in the initial stages of research for the documentary The Cure, assisting with background information and contacts for the filmmakers. Also appeared in the documentary.
- 2011 Successfully campaigned for US ‘ex-gay’ Adam Hood’s meetings to be closed down.
- 2011 First presentation of A Glimpse into Australia’s Ex-gay World (PP).
- 2010 ‘Situational Heterosexuality’ – the most misunderstood concept in the ‘ex-gay’ and Christian worlds.
- 2010 Organised a group of Ex-gay Survivors to march in the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras.
- 2009 Participated in the ‘Ending the Harm Caused by Reparative Therapies Conference’ – Florida USA.
- 2008 Launched Ex-gay Australia, Asia, New Zealand & the Pacific.
- 2008 Released 20 Questions for “Ex-gay” Ministry Leaders
- 2007 Organised and released statements and apologies from five former Australian ‘Ex-gay’ Leaders.
- 2007 Attended the first ‘Ex-gay Survivors Conference’ in California USA.
- 2005 Co-founded Freedom 2 b[e], which has become Australia’s largest network for LGBT people from Christian backgrounds.
- 2000 Commenced an online support group Exex-gay for survivors of ‘ex-gay’ ministries with over 400 members.
- 1972 one of the first in the world to go through a formal ‘ex-gay’ program (read the entire chapter here).