“When it comes to conversion therapy or “ex-gay” programs, it’s not just the methods we object to. It’s the message.
Whether the approach is prayer, “healing of memories, Bible study, exorcisms, confession, “accountability partners”, deliverance or “pastoral counseling”.
Whether the technique is “talk therapy”, psychoanalysis, or aversive conditioning like snapping a rubber band on your wrist to stop “temptations”.
No, it’s not just the methods — ineffective and harmful as they may be. It’s the underlying message in all of this that really does the harm: “You are “broken”, stunted in your masculinity or femininity, “disordered”, sinful, sick.
You really need “help” or “treatment”. You need more prayer. More faith. There is something seriously wrong with you spiritually. You have a psychological problem too. We can help.”
And no matter how they try to present all of this as benevolent, the underlying message is actually quite malevolent. If you don’t “change”, you risk going to hell. What other “therapy” teaches those things?
They claim this is all “scientific”, when it’s not. They say that it’s just about a client’s “choice” and “right to self-determination”. And yet kids can be forced into it. You can be rejected by family, church and God if you don’t comply.
If you say it’s not working, they say you didn’t try hard enough or didn’t go to the right therapist, counselor or program. When you ask for success stories, they trot out married people who still “struggle with SSA” or try to present celibacy as orientation change.
Don’t be misled. It’s not just the methods they use. It’s the shameful, alienating, parent-blaming, homophobic, fundamentalist doctrine they promote. And as we all know, it’s that message that is poison to the soul.” – Michael Bussee
Michael Bussee was one of the originators of the ex-gay movement. In the mid-1970s, while working as a telephone counselor at Melodyland Christian Center in Anaheim, California, Bussee co-founded the Ex-gay Intervention Team (EXIT) and later hosted an unprecedented conference of ex-gay ministries at which a handful of ministry leaders, along with approximately 60 delegates, voted to form a loose coalition called EXODUS. However, within a few years, Bussee began to doubt the efficacy and ethics of the ex-gay message and in 1979 he left Exodus and eventually began to speak out about the tremendous damage that results from the anti-gay message. Today Bussee is a retired Marriage and Family therapist, who devotes much of his time helping LGBT people heal from the trauma they faced from the Christian anti-gay message.