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  • AvatarHelen
    Member
    Post count: 1

    I had my first lesbian relationship when I was 18 and it lasted 3 years.

    Having been brought up in a ‘Christian’ household after the relationship ceased, I decided to try and get back to Church & God. It was around this time that I first met some of the team from the Exodus who were conducting seminars in Brisbane which is where I was living at the time. After meeting them I decided to move from Brisbane to Melbourne to attend South Melbourne Church of Christ which is where Exodus was based. I moved down there at the age of 25 in 1990, knowing no-one apart from Maz and Deb from Exodus who I had met in Brisbane but convinced that living in community and doing the Living Waters/Exodus programme would ‘cure’ me. I met up with Deb and Mark who were running Exodus at that stage along with Maz, Jacqui, Ash & Shirl and Rob all who were to become good friends of mine over the years. For the next 7 years I lived in community in a share house with others from the church, completed the Living Waters programme and tried to be straight. I ended up working part time for the church and on the outside, I was living the straight Christian life – working part time for the church, attending bible college for a year, living in community and going around to other churches telling my ‘gay to straight’ story. I spent time with Sy Rogers, Peter Lane and even joined others from the Exodus team at one of the Exodus International conferences in the US around 1995, where I spent time with Frank and Anita Worthen. I read everything I could get my hands on relating to becoming ‘ex gay’. My bookcase was full of books such as ‘Out of Egypt’ , ‘Coming Out of Homosexuality’, ‘Pursuing Sexual Wholeness – Andrew Comisey’ and of course Emotional Dependency by Lori Rentzel. BUT ….
    I wanted to be loved and to love and even though I had some amazing friends and from the outside I was living a full life I yearned for an intimate relationship and I knew that I wanted that to be with a woman

    Our house was a semi drop in house and we had an open-door policy which meant over the years we had quite a variety of people staying or living with us. This ranged from someone trying to detox from heroin, people struggling with transgender issues, homeless young people and other’s struggling with homosexuality. It was with one of the people staying at our house that ‘I fell’…. Yep I ended up in a relationship with someone who had come to Exodus…

    I thought that this was the end of the world – not only had I fallen but it all became very public within the community. I ended up going overseas for a few months to try and clear my head but within a week or so upon my return to Melbourne I realised I couldn’t run away from who I was. I ended up having to resign from the church, lost a lot of friends and as my whole life in Melbourne had been built around Exodus and South Melbourne Church had to start from scratch. I felt like I couldn’t go on, I had tried so hard and invested everything I had both emotionally and financially into being an Exodus Success Story I didn’t know who I was any more or even if I could be anything else.

    Thankfully a couple of friends from the church stuck by me (in fact we are still ‘family’ ) and slowly but surely I started to develop a new me. Sure, this meant going out and partying a bit too much and having a couple of false starts with relationships and I must admit I did act like a teenager for a while there… It was fun though😊

    About 18 years ago I met an incredible lady and we have been together ever since. She has stuck by me as I worked through being gay, being ‘ex gay’ and then being gay again (which has been a journey in itself) and we have built an amazing life together. In fact, earlier in the year we got married and are now wife and wife. She is everything I could have hoped for in a partner and there is no way I could have imagined when I had to leave the church and all that I knew, that life would have ended up so incredible.

    It has taken me over 50 years to be comfortable in my skin but I can truly say I am happy with my life and I think that is a great way to be.

    ABBIchatavbABBIchatavb
    Keymaster
    Post count: 10

    Hey Helen……welcome to ABBIchat and thanks for telling us your story. One theme that seems to be coming through is that in the end many found happiness and a partner. And of course that has come after many years of struggle. We hope that this site will contribute to this not being repeated in future generations……the many years of struggle that is.

    AvatarSue G
    Moderator
    Post count: 14

    Hi, Helen,
    Great to read your story. I can really relate to it, although I haven’t been involved with the Exodus Foundation, fortunately. Bundeena/Moombara Christian Community did the damage for me, similarly to Anthony Venn-Brown. I only realised it this year, which is the 40 year anniversary of my wedding to a man. I have been living freely as a lesbian since 1986 and am now an atheist. All the best of luck to you and your partner.
    Sue

    RainbowChildRainbowChild
    Moderator
    Post count: 21

    Thanks for sharing your story with us Helen. I’m pleased you have a happy ending. ☺

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