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Former Ex-Gay Spokesman Condemns “Reparative Therapy”

John Paulk
John Paulk

“I see LGBT people for who they are–beloved, cherished children of God”

by Hugo Salinas

Once a staunch supporter of so-called “reparative therapy,” former ex-gay leader John Paulk has issued a statement condemning therapy as means to change a person’s sexual orientation, and is now apologizing for the damage his previous messages have caused.

Paulk was the founder of the ministry Love Won Out, which was launched by the organization Focus on the Family; and from 1995 to 2000, he was chairman of the board of Exodus International North America. However, in the April 2013 issue of PQ Monthly, he was quoted as stating he no longer supports the ex-gay movement or efforts to attempt to change individuals.

“For the better part of ten years, I was an advocate and spokesman for what’s known as the ‘ex-gay movement,’ where we declared that sexual orientation could be changed through a close-knit relationship with God, intensive therapy and strong determination,” wrote Paulk. “At the time, I truly believed that it would happen. And while many things in my life did change as a Christian, my sexual orientation did not.”

“So in 2003, I left the public ministry and gave up my role as a spokesman for the ‘ex-gay movement.’ I began a new journey. In the decade since, my beliefs have changed. Today, I do not consider myself ‘ex-gay’ and I no longer support or promote the movement. Please allow me to be clear: I do not believe that reparative therapy changes sexual orientation; in fact, it does great harm to many people.

“Today, I see LGBT people for who they are–beloved, cherished children of God. I offer my most sincere and heartfelt apology to men, women, and especially children and teens who felt unlovable, unworthy, shamed or thrown away by God or the church.”

Paulk’s full statement is posted here.

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