What I Learned From Gay Conversion Therapy




New York Times
by Julie Rodgers
May 5, 2018

On Saturday, a group of Christians will gather in Washington for the Freedom March, an event that organizers describe as “a celebration of freedom from homosexuality and transgenderism.” The march will feature speakers like Elizabeth Johnston, the woman behind the Activist Mommy, a right-wing Facebook page with over 500,000 followers. And it’s gaining attention because Luis Javier Ruiz, a survivor of the Pulse shooting in Orlando, Fla., in which Omar Matteen killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in 2015, will be in attendance.

In a Facebook post, Mr. Ruiz says: “I should have been number 50! Going through old pictures of the night of Pulse, I remember my struggles of perversion, heavy drinking to drown out everything and having promiscuous sex that led to H.I.V. My struggles were real! The enemy had its grip, and now God has taken me from that moment and has given me Christ Jesus.” If you go to the Freedom March’s Facebook page, you will see videos with over a million views from people with similar stories.

In the national conversation about conversion therapy, people often focus attention on the 10 states (plus Washington) that have banned the practice for minors. But these laws, and this conversation, address conversion therapy only as it’s practiced by mental health professionals with minors. That’s not where most conversion therapy is happening, though. I know, because I spent the better part of my 20s involved in it.

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