Former LGBT People In This Survey Share Their Stories of Change.
Video Stories of Change.
Ali -Former Gay man
Erin Brewer - Former Transgender
Jen - Former Lesbian
Kathy Grace Duncan- Former Transgender
Leah Gray - Former Lesbian
Lyn - Former Lesbian
Matthew - Former Gay Man
Billy Burleigh - Former Transgender
Billy lived as a woman before discovering that he really was a man after all.
James Parker - Former Gay Activist
Des' heartfelt story of his struggle to find freedom.
Wilna Van Beek - Former Lesbian.
Shirlz - Former Lesbian & Relationships.
Audio Stories of Change.
Written Stories of Change.
Laurie J. – Former Lesbian.
It can be very hard thing to explain who you once were and where you are now. Sexual abuse, neglect, harassment, a lack of bonding with parents whether intentional or not, may play a role in forming those of us who struggle with same sex attraction.
Our perception of our environment shapes us. Sometimes our perception may be wrong, but it is ours and we need to deal with the consequences of what we perceive.
About the age of sixteen I became aware of an attraction to the same sex. I had no way of dealing with this at the time and no one to talk to. My friends and I did play a dating game with boys and held hands with them at the monthly coffee shop at church. We swapped boys each month doing nothing more than holding hands. I was not attracted to them. To me it was just a game and nice to be accepted by them. My friends did not believe me when I told them I was a lesbian. Feelings continued to grow but I still had no one to help.
However I became a committed Christian at 17yrs and in the excitement of my new faith those feelings of same sex attractiveness faded for a time. I was even attracted towards a couple of young men. But during the following years whilst in college and the beginning of full time work these lesbian tendencies returned. After much struggling I succumbed and entered into a lesbian relationship.
I had been introduced to a young lesbian who was living in a back room, sleeping on a stretcher in a house with a man who often propositioned her. It was not a good environment and I wanted to rescue her. We became lovers and moved in together for six months. During this time my faith remained but, I was stranded between two worlds. My friends at church who knew of my plight offered me love, acceptance and much prayer.
One of the turning points in my life was when I was a leader at a camp. The Director knew of my living situation and asked to have a chat with me one night. She explained that she would always care for me and accept me no matter what decision I made about my life. It was this show of acceptance that I was really longing for and she was reflecting Christ’s love in her statement. I know it was her prayers and that of my Christian friends that were soon answered.
In the beginning of 1976 I was offered a job at the Uniting Church Office in Brisbane as an offset printer. The Director of the camp had recommended me for the position. As I had wanted to serve God full time for quite a long time I grabbed the opportunity, left my partner and moved back with my parents. I understood that I could not serve my God fully if my primary focus was elsewhere. In only a few short weeks at a youth conference I met John, my husband.
He talked with me for three hours whilst we set up the stage for a musical production. I only very faintly remember the day and do not remember him but later that week I remember him taking my photo. I did not find him attractive at the time. A couple of months later at a party we talked again and we were soon seeing each other regularly. He was kind, easy to talk to and accepting of my past. He became my closest friend and within six months we were married!
The issues that caused me to have a lesbian orientation had not been addressed and so our marriage was “interesting” at times. But John’s love was deep and he gave me the space I needed to work through things. One of the most important things at this time was my determination to be free from all the hurts and wrong perceptions that had caused me to look towards another person fulfilling needs only God my Father could.
It has taken many years of allowing God to bring healing to past hurts and misperceptions. Ministries like “Living Waters” and Exodus, a very patient counselor in addition to much prayer and have been essential ingredients for healing.
Today, 44 years on I head up “Sanctuary International” ministry on the Sunshine Coast (a member ministry of EXODUS) in Queensland. I have two sons but sadly my husband passed away 2011. We had worked through much together and God has been faithful and enabled us to have a “lifelong” commitment and to honour each other.
This journey is not over. God continues to enable me to face fears I may have, but knowing I am a “child of God” and that my God will never let me go, keeps me in His care. Even though I may still struggle occasionally, I am still His and this is where my identity now is, not focusing on the past but focusing on my future with Him.
Alan G. – Former Gay Man.
Alan’s Journey ~A Description of My Therapy Experience By Alan G.
How can therapy benefit a person a person who is sexually attracted to their own sex? This answer is based upon my life and experiences. I had unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA) most of my adult life.
Though I had sexual & emotional attractions to my own biological sex, I never identified as gay or homosexual. That identity did feel authentic to me as person and it was not compatible with my faith in God.
Here is a short list of ten possible variables that are typical causes of people who have same-sex attraction (SSA)
Unresolved family (generational) issues.
Temperament (most SSA men are highly sensitive)
Opposite-sex parent wounds.
Same-sex parent wounds.
Peer wounds (bullying)
Body image wounds.
Other factors (divorce, death, adoption, religion, etc)
I had 8 out of 10 of these potential variables. I was asked about my therapy. Did you find a psychotherapist whom you worked with? My answer is “sort of”. That answer needs explanation. I have never paid for therapy with a psychotherapist or psychologist to resolve my issues with my unwanted SSA. Nevertheless I experienced helpful therapy through counselors, friends and life coaches who helped me to discover a more authentic sense of myself and my manhood.
For example, I met an ex-gay man who had been a psychologist (not in the field of SSA or sexuality) and he was extremely helpful for my therapy. He recommended dozens of resources for my journey into my authentic manhood and my mature self. I began “Book Therapy.” I read books by the well-known authors writing about unwanted SSA and how to resolve those traumas from the past that contributed to my unwanted SSA. I read books on SSA from Medinger, Nicolosi, Bergner, Geoffrey, Cohen, Payne, Mattheson, Van Der Aardveg and others. I read books on co-dependency.
With all of these books, I had my “life coaches” whom I chose from family and friends to read my written responses for each book and to help me process my experiences. I do not believe that a person with SSA can grow and mature without the help of supportive community and affirming relationships. My self-directed “book therapy” with trusted readers (life coaches) helped me to accept myself as a man among men, to lose my body shame. To feel okay as a man and with my masculinity. As these things took place, I found my sexual attraction to men faded. My sexual attraction to my wife began growing once I found my homo-emotional needs were being met in healthy platonic male relationships.
In addition to my self-guided therapy, I joined support groups for men with unwanted SSA (That is where I met the ex-gay psychologist) and others who encouraged my journey of self growth and self acceptance. I also attended Journey Into Manhood experiential weekend (through Brothers Road) two IFTCC (International Fellowship for Therapeutic & Counseling Choice) conferences and the Richard Cohen training for therapists, counselors and religious leaders to help people with SSA .
None of these events are classic therapy, but each has helped me. As my self-acceptance as a masculine man in the world of men grew, I felt accepted in the world of men and I became part of my male community in a new way. My same-sex attractions decreased and my opposite sex attractions increased. Today I feel totally heterosexual. I am married for more than 40 years to one woman whom I love. I have two adult children. I believe I am living the life I chose and the life that is compatible with my values, beliefs and faith in God.
I believe in therapeutic and counseling choice. No client should be denied or restricted in their choice for their therapeutic goals. Bans on therapies, counseling or other practices take away individual freedom to decide. In addition bans may criminalize therapy by trained therapists who can otherwise help people who voluntarily seek their professional help. All professional therapists are already governed by ethical guidelines set in place by their professional licensing organizations to protect their clients from harmful practices in therapy. I believe we need help and we benefit from therapies, counselors, religious experiences and many support groups that help us to heal our difficult pasts. We need freedom to choose a support community that is in agreement with our life goals and to find help for our healing and wholeness.
Thank you for listening to my story. Alan G.
By Ali Jaffery – Former Gay Man.
I remember being as young as five when I realised I was different; I wasn’t one of the boys. This lack of belonging, feeling of ‘otherness’ and isolation formed most of my childhood.
I was raised up mostly by my dear mother and sisters in a matriarchal family, my dad worked two jobs and was not as involved with our upbringing and I had a considerable age gap between me and my eldest brother. During my school years, I was bullied for being girly.
It wasn’t until Year 5 in school when I realized I could use academia as a defense. Therefore, I focused on my studies and education, to build my self-esteem in my peer group. I was around 12 years of age that my feeling of otherness (and conversely feeling so at home with the feminine) with the masculinity was sexualized, I discovered I had same sex attraction. I didn’t tell a soul for 11 years. In those years of silence, I had shame and self-hate that knew no bounds. I questioned everything. I questioned my faith. I questioned my (Kazmi i.e. Prophetic) lineage. I wondered every day why God had challenged me with this – above of other challenges in life. It was easier hiding the reality than facing it.
In this period, we moved as a family from Pakistan to England. I remember seeing this as an opportunity to start anew, a clean slate. However, this move also furthered the feeling of lack of belonging and otherness. I was exposed to pornography online aged 12, which fermented the same sex attraction.
Growing up in a religious household, I had shame of opening up to family and feared the impact it would have on my family’s reputation. There wasn’t any support available. As a community we are good in pointing out whats halaal (lawful) and haram (unlawful), but there aren’t much practical solutions available – at least for people like me. It wasn’t until I was 23, when I was approaching depression that I then started speaking and getting help. I could only find a Muslim yahoo group and nothing else. The Christian community was miles ahead with many support organizations for people with same sex attraction. It was in 2013 when I attended Journey into Manhood experiential weekend by Brothers Road that my life changed and I was able to see a way out.
I worked every week for a couple of years after the weekend with Rich Wyler on myself and the false stories and beliefs I had. Alhamdulillah, fast forward to events in 2019, I found someone unique, Zoya, who accepted me with all this and decided to marry me and broke down my fear of my never finding a woman I would love. The silence in the Muslim community is deafening on a lot of topics. I believe in the concept of “wajib al kifayi” – if no one is doing it in the community, then it becomes wajib (obligatory) on the person that is able to do something. It is for this reason and from my own personal struggle, that I am delighted to start Strong Support, which is a peer support organization for Muslims with unwanted same sex lust.
Bilal Ali. – Former Gay Man.
In the Name of God the Most Gracious the Ever Merciful,
My pseudonym is Bilal Ali. I am from the UK and I am a practising Muslim with a South-Asian background. Thank you so much for stopping by to read about my SSA experience. It really means a lot to me and I hope you will find it insightful and beneficial.
When I was a young child, I felt quite different from other guys. I remember being more interested in things associated with femininity, such as girly toys, the color pink, fashion related things, etc. I did not go out of my way to spend time with other guys, although I did have some close male friends I would hang around with. However, that did not stop other children from calling me ‘gay’ or ‘faggot’. And sometimes I would suffer abuse from other classmates because I was perceived as the weak one. At the same time, although I felt more comfortable around girls, I was not entirely welcomed in their circles. So, I spent most my time by myself.
When I hit puberty in high-school, I became increasingly interested in other men. It’s hard to pinpoint when exactly this happened. However, when it did, It really distressed me. I knew that these feelings were not supposed to be there. So, the first person I told was my dad. He was very understanding, as long as I made a commitment to try my best not to act upon these feelings and agreed with the Islamic boundaries of sexuality. So, whenever I would have feelings for other men, I would turn to my dad who would tell me not to worry or think too much about these feelings. And to let them run their course. Later, I told my mother, then my siblings. They were all understanding.
In high school, the bullying which I experienced due to my queerness was a lot more intense and sometimes took on a sexualized nature. Of course, my classmates didn’t know how much harm they were doing to me psychologically because of this bullying, so I don’t hold it against them. I won’t go into too much detail about it. But I will say that this bullying made me lose a lot of self-esteem and confidence in myself. At one point, I came back home crying after which my parents decided to take actions and talk to the school management about it. In any case, the bullying stopped when I went into A-Level studies. Everyone just became more mature and I was sometimes admired for my studiousness.
When I moved away from home to study at university, life was challenging for me, not least because I felt lonely. I had the habit of not making many friends and receding into myself which I carried forward from primary school. However, I also felt too different from other people to make any meaningful relationship with them, in terms of my beliefs, my hobby preferences and my self-conception of gender and sexuality. Again, as in high school, I retreated into myself.
This was also a time when I became more familiar and interested in the feminist and LGBT movements, since these voices were very loud on university campus, and they spoke to my sense of difference in terms of my gender identity and sexuality. As I internalized their ideas, I became more averse to the male Muslim friends whom I had initially got to know. I began to increasingly view them as more bigoted and frustratingly more conservative than before. This increased my frustration and fear towards men more generally and caused me to become more isolated from them. During this time of loneliness, my SSA increased, and I was beginning to view sexually arousing images of men for the first time. This made my feelings of shame and low self-esteem more potent.
It was at this time that one day a friend sent me an article. It was entitled: From a Same-Sex-Attracted Person: Between Denial of Reality and Distortion of Religion.  The man who wrote it was a Muslim who had SSA but was able to resolve them and get married to a woman and have children. I was very thrilled to know that I was not the only one going through this situation. And to know that it was possible to resolve these feelings in a way that enables you to get married to a member of the opposite sex. After reading the article, I felt a sense of relief. Through this article, I found out about the StraightStruggle.com Muslim support group, which I joined without hesitation. 
This support group provides support and advice for Muslims who have SSA. I was so happy to finally be interacting with people whom I could relate to regarding these feelings. I finally felt understood.
The more I interacted with the group, the more I became acquainted with theories and ideas about gender and sexuality which were previously unavailable to me in the university establishment: The idea that social factors such as childhood experiences and sexual abuse could contribute to the development of SSA. And the fact that for many people, therapy has helped them to significantly manage and reduce their same-sex feelings, so much so that they have become more comfortable with the idea of having relationships with members of the opposite sex. Whenever I read the works of Nicolosi, Cohen and others about the causal factors contributing to the development of SSA, I felt they were narrating my story, from childhood up until now. It was as if they knew what I had gone through and the confusion I had experienced.
The StraightStruggle support group was inspired by the Ex Gay movement, which originated from Christian and Jewish communities in the West. Although I was happy to have found this group, unfortunately the Muslim community still lags in providing support networks for Muslims who have SSA. For one thing, Muslim communities in the West are still grappling with other internal difficulties, such as their status as minority citizens, socio-economic deprivation, as well as the (although not entirely) negative reception they receive from wider society, which can at times be discriminatory, particularly through the media and political discourse. Furthermore, homosexuality is still a taboo topic in the Muslim community, which is difficult to deal with in a nuanced and sensitive manner. Fortunately, there have recently been several initiatives which have sprung up to fill this lacuna and provide much needed help and support.
I pray that these initiatives are successful in helping SSA Muslims achieve peace and serenity within themselves so they can live lives which are meaningful and pleasing to God.
Editors Note. (Below are links to two support websites that Bilal Ali supplied)
My name is Billy and I use to be transgender, but I am no longer. My journey to where I am today is long and convoluted, but I’ll share highlights of my initial struggles, of the process to change my outward appearance from male to female, and what happened to prompt me to return to presenting myself as my birth gender, male. Let’s dive in!
I had many difficulties as a child:
– I was very skinny, nearly like skin stretched on a skeleton – and skeleton was part of the taunting I received from the other kids.
– I had a speech impediment – the other kids would say something like, “What did you say? I can’t understand you.” Whether they understood or not I do not know, so I tried to speak as little as possible.
– I had many learning difficulties; I didn’t learn how to read until about the fifth grade. An angel of a lady pulled me into a reading lab and worked with me and a handful of others on our reading skills. If it were not for this wonderful lady’s help I don’t know what would have happened to me. My mom also found another lady to tutor me after school in English and other subjects. And there again, without this help I don’t know where I would be.
– I was very uncoordinated and lacked athletic skills. I tried playing softball but was pretty bad at it. I tried playing basketball during P E but no one wanted me on their team so I would ask the P E coach if I could just run around the football field, and he would let me.
– And, when I was in the first grade, I remember having this reoccurring thought that God made a mistake, I’m a girl – but I was a boy and not a girl. This was a very confusing thought that continued to stay with me through my early life and into adulthood.
– When I was in the 6th grade I was sexually abused by my summer league diving coach. When he would touch me and play with my privates, in my mind I would go somewhere else. I was scared and ashamed. I did not tell anyone about this until I was a junior in high school. I told myself that it had no effect on me but it really did.
In addition to thinking that God made a mistake, I was a girl and not a boy, I hated my private part. I so much wished I didn’t have it and wanted it gone. The result of my struggles was that my feelings and emotions were very confusing to me, so I worked hard to disconnect me from them; I guess you can say that I tried to become a robot, but it didn’t work. The result was moodiness with occasional breakdowns I.e. I would cry in my bedroom and wonder why I was the way I was. This went on all thorough my childhood years.
So, let’s fast forward many years – I continued to struggle with my transgendered feelings. Many things where going on but I learned to push those feelings away by moving the pain out of my mind and into my body. I would go running or bicycling or swimming or strength training and pushed and pushed myself. The endorphins from working out helped me tremendously, both for feeling good and for helping re-close that closet I pushed all my feelings into. I didn’t know how to handle my feelings so I moved the pain out of my mind and into my body. Other times I was just numb and moody. No-one really knew me because I wouldn’t let anyone get close – and with my moodiness I don’t think anyone really wanted to get to close. BUT then I got in trouble – in college I fell in love with a young lady and by having that new and very powerful emotion of love, the door that I kept all my feelings behind was blown off the hinges. I couldn’t close it again. Very suddenly I had to deal with Everything! Oh my!
My big sister helped me hugely. She found a therapist for me to see, a sexuality therapist. When I went to talk with the therapist about things, about everything, I often sat on the floor, holding and squeezing a pillow tight to my chest, and I would just cry. I asked many times, ‘What was wrong with me? Why do I believe I’m a girl [when my body is telling me I’m a boy]? How do I become normal and live a normal life?’ I was in college at this time so I started using the university’s resources to do research on transgenderism. In a nutshell I learned that these were deep rooted issues that therapy does not get rid of. The only therapy that showed marginal and short-term benefits was electroshock therapy. I gave consideration to electroshock therapy but, without a long-term solution I dismissed the thought. (I read that electroshock therapy only provided short term improvement but when one’s memory returned, so did the problems)
I also read that there was a hypothesis that my problems were the result of a birth defect, that my mind was washed with the wrong hormone during my development in my mothers womb. So, with all my research I found to answers to help me. I went to therapy many many years. I fought my thoughts and feelings that God made a mistake and that I was a girl trapped in a boy’s body. I so desired to be a “normal” male but one day I threw in the towel and started the process of changing my gender from male to female. Suicide was not an option but it was becoming an option. I was thinking about killing myself more and more, but I had a desired to live and not die, and had to do whatever it took to live! So, I went from Billy to Billie. I went through the whole process to get to, and to go through, sex reassignment surgery. I remember that the very first thing I said, or rather I asked, right after surgery was, “Is it gone?” I was assured that it was gone.
But Oh, I had a rough time in the hospital; I had a lot of bleeding at the surgical site, units of blood and plasma were given; I had to have a lot of gauze stuffed into my new vagina, and I had to have a sand bag on my lower abdomen for a fairly extensive period of time. But, I made it through. I received the letter from the surgeon that I was now female and had my driver’s license and passport changed to female. So, I changed my body to match my mind. The books said this needed to be done To Find PEACE, peace of heart and peace of mind – but I Did Not find that peace.
– I didn’t have many friends and I had a lot of trouble making new friends.
– I lost a very good and close friend.
– I lost my job.
– And after many surgeries, I still had trouble seeing myself in the mirror as a woman. Oh, and did I share that I married a lady right before the reassignment surgery? Though we were both heterosexuals (ok, that’s confusing so I’ll say that she was attracted to men and I was attracted to females), we represented ourselves as a lesbian couple. We had a love for each other; we thought it was a deep love, but it was hard for us to mentally accept that we were a lesbian couple. If all of this sounds confusing, I assure you, it was! And Yep, I changed a whole bag of problems for a whole bag of other problems! Ugg!
About five years after changing to female I started thinking about changing back to male – I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t at peace, doing what the books and my therapist said to do didn’t fix any of my problems. This was also a time that I was trying to, desiring to, rebuild my relationship with God. I did not desire to divorce my wife because I had already been through one divorce and I did not want to go through another. But, my wife of seven years divorced me. I was presenting as a woman, and now a single and even more broken and confused woman – though biologically a man. I moved back to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to gain the support of my family. And, shortly after doing so, I drove to a quiet spot and just broke down in tears and called out to God. I told Him that I tried everything I could think of to fix my problems and to live, but that I had completely failed. I was in a no-win situation and I didn’t know what to do. I told Him that I put everything in His hands, all of me and all of my problems. Afterwards, it was as though God said, “Now, I have some clay to work with.”
So, with my heart’s desire of drawing closer to God, I decided to go back to the church I went to when I was a student at LSU (Oh boy, did God start working) I joined a small group called The Body Builders (I enjoyed working out and thought this would be a great group to join) In joining the group, I saw that it was a group of middle to upper age men and women, and they were building the body of Christ. 😊 And, on the first day I joined, the group was starting a new study entitled, “Have you ever done something you regret?” I was like – wow – God, really! Towards the end of my first time attending this small group meeting, the facilitator told of when he stole something from a store when he was a kid. That act had weighed heavy on his mind for many years and, as an adult, he had to go back to the store, find the store manager, confess what he did and pay for it. The facilitator then opened the question to the group and invited anyone to share their regret, if they wanted to. The Holy Spirit was talking to me; He said, “Go on, Billie! Now is the time. Tell them what you have done – what you regret.” And my response was, “Are you crazy! I don’t know these people. They will throw me out!”
Well, I did not share. And after the small group ended, we walked over to the church building and I was greeted by a church-greeter. She asked me if I was new to the church and I shared with her that I was and wasn’t – that I use to go to this church when I was a student at LSU. She then asked if I grew up in Baton Rouge and I told her yes, I did. Then she asked me, “What high school did you go to?” Oh my, I went to an all-boys high school and I was presenting myself as a lady. So, just like a deer in the headlights I stuttered and told her that I went to a Catholic high school. She then asked if I went to (the all-girls high school that was a block away from the all-boys high school). My response was, “Yes, around there!” and then I very quickly walked into church. Oh boy! Then, The Holy Spirit convicted me – You see, Billie, you are lying! You are lying about who you are and you just had to tell another lie to cover up your lies. The Holy Spirit kept talking to me that week until, in the middle of the week, I called the group facilitator to ask if he would revisit that question he presented to the group – is there something you did that you now regret and would you like to share it with the group? So, the following Sunday I responded to the question and briefly shared my story. I was ready to accept them ushering me out of class, out of the church, and rejecting me. But a marvelous thing happened! They loved me right where I was! And, unknown to me at the time but they were all praying to God for me to know The Truth, and for me to be free. (My good friend shared this with me after I traveled the road back to
seeing a man, both on the outside and in my mind.) In looking back, I now see that they saw that God was working in me and, since they were The Body Builders, they let God work and encouraged me in my journey – and they just Loved ME!
I attended this group regularly, every Sunday for over a year, and I was reading and studying the Bible. At the beginning, when I first attended The Body Builders, the facilitator extended an offer for me to join the small group that meet at his and his wife’s house on Wednesday evenings. I didn’t want to push my luck so I declined. But the Holy Spirit was still working and, after a few months, put it on my heart to join his Wednesday evening small group. So, I called and asked if the invitation was still good; he told me yes and gave me the meeting time and his address. The day I went to that small group study, they had just finished studying one book and was starting (that night) to study another book. The book was Jim Logan’s book, “Reclaiming Surrendered Ground: Protecting Your Family from Spiritual Attacks”. I was like, Ok, this is going to be interesting! I didn’t know anything about the topic.
At the beginning of the book, Jim Logan gave background information on spiritual warfare and presented three specific cases that would be looked at throughout the book. One of those cases was on a man named Bill who was transgender. (Wow! Really God! – OK!) Now, it was my third time attending this Wednesday small group meeting; I show up and no one else is there except the facilitator and his wife – it was their house we were meeting at so I at least expected them to be there. Well, the facilitator, my friend, shared with me that he and his wife wanted to talk with me in private. They did not call anyone to cancel the meeting but everyone, but me, called and cancelled. This was the first time in all the years he hosted small groups that everyone cancelled out on the meeting. He then shared with me that he did not know I was coming to the group when he and his wife selected the next book they would study. And, he didn’t know that the book would talk about a transgender man named Bill – it wasn’t their planning. We did, though, agree that it was God’s planning and the following week everyone in the group showed up and we dove into the book. (God is awesome in all of His ways!) It was in reading this book that I finally finally FINALLY Learned what was going on! It was a HUGE Light Bulb over my head moment – I’m talking spot light power! Jim Logan shared that not all of our thoughts are our thoughts! YES! Not All of Our Thoughts Are OUR Thoughts!!! Jim said that our thoughts ultimately come from God, our self, and the devil, and he pointed to scripture to illustrate. In Matthew 16:13-17, Jesus says that His Father gave Peter a thought 13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. In Matthew 16:21-23, Jesus conveys to Peter that that-thought was from Satan, for Jesus responded to Peter but directs His rebuke to Satan: 21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you,
Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
In 1 Chronicles 21:1, Satan gave King David the thought to count his fighting men. This would make sense for a king to know how many fighting men he has; in knowing how big his army is and how big his enemy’s army is, he gains insight to know if the battle is evenly matched or lopsided. But, if God is fighting Israel’s battles ahead of them, does the king need to know how many fighting men he has?
1 Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. 2 So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number.” 3 But Joab said, “May the Lord add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord’s servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?” 4 But the king’s word prevailed against Joab.
And let’s look at one more, Acts 5:1-3, Satan gives Ananias and Sapphira the thought to keep part of the money back from the land they sold, and to tell Peter that they are giving all the proceeds to the church: 1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?
God makes it clear in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 that our battle is not against flesh and blood and that we are to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ: 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ I couldn’t believe what I was learning! I had been looking for this answer all my life! Yes, not all of my thoughts are my thoughts! The thought “God had made a mistake – I’m a girl” Was Not My Thought! I had been deceived! This brought joy to my heart and opened my eyes to the Spiritual Battle we are all in.
I learned more about the spiritual battle with the devil that is taking place, about the armor of God we are to put on to protect us in the battles, and I learned to renew my mind in God’s Word. About a year or so after that light-bulb-moment, I started the journey to change my gender back to male. It took about a year to complete the journey and, at the end of this time, I was presenting myself as a male with all of my documentation reflecting “male”. This was good! And, about a year after that, in 2010, I meet a beautiful lady and we became friends. I asked her for a date and after that first date, I briefly shared my journey with her. Her response was – “Let’s be friends!” 😊 We were friends for a while but, after a while, our love for each other grew and we married. I thought everything was good – I understood more about the spiritual battle I was in with the devil and I was taking my thoughts captive; John 10:10 tells me that the devil comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. I knew his deception and I overcame – I was walking in victory. But, somewhere around 2014, I started to backslide.
Like I said, I knew about the battle with the devil but I was not studying God’s Word like I was prior to and through the process of changing back to male. My thoughts were getting to me and instead of taking them captive, I started to act on them, again. I struggled from around 2014 till sometime in 2017. I didn’t know what was going on; I was confused again. But, late in 2017, I found and read Dr. Neal T. Anderson’s books, “Victory Over The Darkness” and “The Bondage Breaker.” It was through Dr. Anderson’s discipleship, via these books, that I learned what I was missing and was then able to completely overcome all my struggles.
This is what I learned:
I knew that Jesus died on the cross for me and my sins; that through Jesus I will have eternal life. What I learned was that not only was I forgiven, but I am now a child of God. Also, I do not have eternal life when I die but rather, I became spiritually alive the moment I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and I have eternal life right now. 2 Corinthians 5:17
says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he [/she] is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
I learned that I have a new identity! No longer was I Billy the misfit, Billy the abomination, but my true identity is now ‘Billy, child of God!’ (Galatians 3:26, 2 Corinthians 6:18) This was HUGE! Instead of being identified (in my mind) as a misfit and abomination, my new and true identity is child of The Most High King! What a paradigm shift!
I didn’t know but learned that when Jesus died and rose from the dead, Father God sat Jesus down at His right hand and put everything in Earth and in the heavens above the earth, under Jesus’s feet. In other words, the Devil was the god of this world before the cross, but after the cross, when Father God sat Jesus down at His right hand and gave Him authority over all the Earth and the heavens, the Devil was completely defeated. (John 16:11, Hebrews 2:14)
I also learned that Father God has made us co-heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17), and as co-heirs, we share in Jesus’ inheritance. In other words, in and through Jesus, we too have power over the devil and demons. Being a child of God, and in and through Jesus,they have to listen to us, to me!
I also learned that I am in two additional battles, the battle with the world and the battle with the flesh. In other words, the world offers us all this shiny stuff that promises joy, excitement, happiness, contentment, and more; and in the flesh we look at and desire all this stuff; we think and believe it will fill that whole inside of us – that it will satisfy all our wants and needs. But the more stuff from the world we get the more it leaves us empty. It may fill us for a short period of time, but eventually it leaves us empty, and this is the battle. I learned much more through Neal Anderson and the Freedom In Christ Ministry. And through the provisions that God has already given to us, I am walking in the Victory Jesus Christ has won for us, has won for you and has won for me, through the cross and His resurrection. My desire is to share what I have learned with others, and one way my wife and I have done this is by leading Dr. Anderson’s Freedom In Christ small group study at our church.
I have also finally answered that “Why” question I was asking in therapy many years ago. There is a spiritual battle taking place for our minds. Being unaware of the battle does not take us out of the battle but rather makes us more vulnerable to the battle. In other words, if we are inside a building and we look outside and see the grass and the trees swaying back and forth, we conclude that the wind is blowing. We cannot see the wind with our eyes but we see the effects of the wind, and thus make the conclusion that the wind is blowing. With the exception of those born intersex, we are all born male or female. There is a huge effort by the world, the flesh, and the devil to confuse what is male and what is female. We cannot see the battle itself with our eyes, but we see the effects of the battle all around the world. I fully believe that the only way to be set free and to walk in victory can only be fully achieved in and through Jesus. If you would like to see more of my story, look for the documentary “I Want My Sex Back: Transgender people who regretted changing sex” by RT Documentary.
Where am I today? I am filled with joy and am walking in the freedom that Jesus has won for us. Rachel and I are closer today than we have ever been because there are three of us in this marriage – God first, Rachel second, and me third. My desire is to help others find and walk in the freedom I am now experiencing. For achieving this desire, I am taking classes with Freedom In Christ Ministries and hope to join their ministry team one day; Freedom In Christ Ministries is an international team who disciples others all around the world in the teachings of Lord Jesus and, God willing, I’ll be helping others one day too.
Blessings, my friend, I hope you have a Wonderfully Blessed Day!
“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b) The devil comes only to steal, kill, and destroy, but I came to give live, and to give it abundantly (John 10:10) “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!” (John 8:36)
Claire’s Story.– Former Lesbian.
Names have been changed to protect privacy.
SUMMARY: I was involved in same sex relationships for ten years, I was “out” to family and friends, was not attracted to men and even “settled down” with a woman and bought a house with her. Several years later, – following meeting with a psychiatrist, a psychologist and pastoral support, as well as after time getting to know myself, and discovering and accepting God’s plan for gender and sexuality, – I have left that lifestyle, and am married to a man I love deeply, and have no interest in same sex behavior.
I grew up in a household that was in some ways loving, but also deeply disordered. My mother suffered an addiction which deeply affected my father who became very distant and angry. There was a lot of shouting and tension in our home as my parents slowly separated, then divorced. As my mother became less stable and began spending days then weeks away from home, my mother made it my role to cook and clean the house. I was fully in charge of this by 14, trying my best to support two younger brothers entering puberty and a deeply broken father.
I first felt same-sex attraction at 13, with a crush on a quiet and beautiful classmate. We became friends, then one night she crawled into bed next to me with my arm around her. That began a series of similar relationships – emotionally intense, “joined-at-the-hip” type friendships, combined with increasing physical closeness that became sexualised through my teens. In the following years my mother moved away, and my father became our primary carer and did his best to support my brothers and me as teenagers, but was still emotionally distant (with the exception of uncontrolled anger when he was really struggling). As a result I learned not to express my own negative emotions and to fear strong emotions in others – instead gravitating to the gentleness I felt in other girls. My father was also ill equipped to address the emotional and developmental needs of a teenage girl, and so effectively treated my brothers and I alike. I cannot remember him affirming my attractiveness (which I was deeply uncomfortable with anyway, as I correlated this with weakness) or my femininity, and I believe this is one of the reasons that my appearance and mannerisms became increasingly masculine.
I read books on homosexuality where I could and gleaned information from the Internet. My feelings were intense, deeply personal and elating, so much so that I decided I could no longer hide my ‘real’ self and came out at 15. My school’s welfare officer sent me to a local government program with other same-sex attracted young people (run by a lesbian), and my doctor sent me to a counselor at the local community health service (also a lesbian). Unsurprisingly, both encouraged and congratulated me that I had found my ‘identity’!
My parents struggled with my same sex attraction for a time, but they rarely talked about it and were frankly preoccupied with their own problems, so my sexual development was low on the list of priorities. They welcomed my friends to the house, even when they knew that we were sleeping in the same bed.
Men occasionally sexually approached me, but all experiments were short-lived, never felt right or good, and I didn’t believe it was possible to have a relationship with them the way I had with women. Not surprisingly, my mental health deteriorated and I was referred to a psychiatrist, all the while still trying to fill the role of “mother” at home, and doing what I now recognize was a desperate sexual playing out of my own unmet needs for love and affection. When I was 15, I was diagnosed with a mental illness and referred to a secular psychiatrist who I would continue to see, and who would later be a factor in my leaving the same-sex lifestyle. Paradoxically, it was also during this time that I started going to church. I was baptized at 16 into a major denomination, at a parish with a female minister. In a way, I thank God that I walked into that church – my reading into radical feminism had given me such a low view of men that I don’t know if I would have stayed with a male priest.
In my late-teens I moved in with a gender-confused male friend, “David”* (who I “officially” dated for a short time – but was really just friends with) and his family. I finished high school and began my first job where I met “Sarah”* with whom I would have my most significant same-sex relationship. She was vibrant and attractive – she had also been my boss and was seven years older than me. The relationship was intoxicating and hit with a bang & we were effectively living together after three weeks. For the next few years I firmly believed I was a lesbian, I lived with David and Sarah (later we even bought a house together) and my circle of friends was composed almost entirely of people who were same-sex attracted, experiencing gender-confusion, or involved in other sexual issues. I can also see now how I surrounded myself with information that continually affirmed my life-choices, such as having a spiritual director who was herself in a lesbian relationship. Yet by God’s grace I still continued to attend church and even began a theology degree (at a liberal theological college). It was through these studies that I worryingly realized that my feminist, liberal-progressive theology required a significant reinterpretation (even rejection) of portions of Scripture and the Christian tradition, and I started to wonder if my beliefs really stood up to careful criticism.
At the same time huge cracks began to show in my “chosen family.” David had a same-sex relationship with another house-mate, then Sarah began a sexual relationship with David, then the partner of my friend and lesbian-Christian spiritual director confessed her love and passion for me – She was almost twenty years older than me, someone I looked up to, and while I was certainly attracted to her, I mostly felt powerless to refuse. It was one big, incredibly confused, mess. I was seeing first-hand how unstable the queer lifestyle really was. These people I loved and looked up to were really quite damaged (childhood trauma, family breakdown, infidelity, sex with multiple partners, mental illness, other sexual sin and substance abuse were all very common). And I started to see how much their belief-systems largely acted to justify the unhealthy lifestyles they were living. Worst of all, I had been singing the same tune right along with them. With a lot of soul-searching and tears, I came to a challenging and frightening conclusion: I had built my house on sand, and I wanted Out.
During this time I had continued to see my psychiatrist and had been sharing my journey with him. He always maintained a calm and non-directive approach when listening to me, however I do recall one key conversation where I shared how I was realizing that I had been quite misguided for a long time, and he said to me, “Well Claire, I think you are going through all the normal developmental steps that usually occur, but because of your illness it was delayed by a few years.” This was a key insight in helping me to understand that much of my same-sex behavior was a developmental step, perhaps I should have gone through it at 13, and then transferred my interest to men, except I was now playing ‘catch-up’. I realized after that conversation, that sadly, the small missteps that early teens often make, had become magnified as my adult opportunities and lack of parental oversight had allowed a more dangerous outworking of these sexual impulses, that hadn’t been directed to grow up in a healthy way. But thankfully it also meant that I was a person in process who could develop with time and care.
As I began to abstain from various types of sin, and began to speak more critically about the lifestyle and life choices I saw my friends making, I lost most my friends, but started getting to know the God that I had, for years, been trying to shape in my own image. I discovered the work of Prof. Mary Kassian (from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) whose passion for women’s issues mixed with a respectful, academic, critique of feminism spoke volumes to me, as did the complementarian teaching on God’s design for gender. I spent the next 18 months or so also seeing a secular psychologist, reading, getting comfortable in my own skin and catching up on development that I’d missed (even basic things like how to have healthy friendships with women). The Psychologist was another step in my healing and development as he helped me realize that some of my sexual behavior with both men and women had actually been quite traumatizing, and if I wanted to be well and comfortable in myself, I needed to process that trauma.
The psychologist helped me to no longer feel so afraid of men or to feel distaste towards them. He reminded me that while I had had some bad experiences with men, I also knew some decent good men, and it would be a category mistake to consider them all badly. He also helped me to no longer feel helpless in the face of older women, by processing my deep wounds around being wanted or rejected by them (issues largely rooted in my mother having left the family). I learned that much of my attraction to older women had been a gripping, clinging attachment response, and instead I could have my own opinions and preferences, and my desire for them reduced as I worked through these issues. These steps helped me to feel far more comfortable in many situations, yet I still believed that my sexuality was deeply, probably permanently, damaged. I couldn’t consider a relationship with a man, but no longer desired a relationship with a woman. I experienced a shift in my attractions as part of addressing my delayed development. The more I made space
for my own natural femininity, I stopped feeling the need or attraction to finding that femininity in other women. For years I had been grasping for the beauty and softness I saw in other women, while suppressing the beauty and softness within myself.
I was gaining a far more balanced and godly view of sexuality and gender. I explored some traditionally female-dominated interests, while maintaining my traditionally male-dominated interests (mostly science and mathematics), and I happily joined my now confident feminine dress with short purple hair – which I still had when I met the man I would marry. He had just finished his training as a minister and soon after meeting him I thought, “I like this one. I could stand next to him.” – which was a completely new type of attraction for me. I was genuinely attracted to him but not because he was a mirror of me (he certainly wasn’t!) and I didn’t lose myself in him. I found myself willing to trust that he would lead us aright (and he has). And I wanted to serve God with him – I could now see my relationship as not just about filling my needs – but part of serving the Kingdom of God. I was proud of my progress and honest with him about my past, but I still made a few mistakes and harbored some guilt about my history. How could I have been so confused for so long? Why did I let myself stay in those unhealthy and harmful situations?
It was then I found the Pure Passion series and shortly afterwards Exodus Asia-Pacific, which helped me see how I ended up in the situations I had thrown myself into. I met with a pastor that works in this area, and she helped me to understand and forgive myself for my former actions and impulses. With a little support from the pastor and a Christian counselor that I saw for a few months afterwards, I made further connections between my same-sex attraction and the deep alienation I felt with my own gender – both from my fear of becoming my mother and from being forced at a young age into a subservient role serving as cook and cleaner for my male family members. I could see more clearly how my sexual development had been stunted, and was still in need of healing. In particular, I reflected that I needed to name the things I had done as sins, as not God’s plan for me. In doing this I experienced forgiveness, a sense of freedom and the firm knowledge that God was Never Ever going to let me go.
I don’t know that I would call myself “straight”, and “ex-gay” feels awkward (why define yourself by what your not?) – so I’ve moved away from labels altogether. Most recently, my husband and I have started speaking up for Christian sexual ethics in our denomination and I pray that I will one day have the courage to tell my story more openly. One small step in this direction has been to release the update of this article under my first name, rather than my middle name which I formerly published it with.
I have, in the past year or so, come to realize that shame about my past serves neither me nor God, and it is time for me to be honest about my story. This is especially so now, given the likely possibility that others may soon be barred from having important and searching conversations like the ones I have outlined above. It deeply troubles me that the kinds of conversations I had with my secular mental health supports, conversations that were key in my healing and development, may soon be illegal.
In conclusion, I was involved in same sex relationships and various sexual sins for ten years – but I came through it and I got out, and today I am happy, deeply in love with my husband, and comfortable in my own skin. My heart goes out to young people experiencing same sex attraction today and I hope that this story encourages them, their families, and those who support them, to take an honest, realistic and long-term view of gender and sexual development – even when that means naming deep wounds.
Dani. – Former Lesbian.
I am an Australian woman with same-gender attraction. I was aware of my same-gender attraction from about 15 years of age. At that time I was very young, naive and unsure what to do. But I had a conviction that God made the world in love and order, that Jesus died for my sins and to bring me hope in following him, and that the Bible was God’s true word for all people. This ‘ideology’ saved me from making a lot of bad decisions, and helped me cling mentally to hope even in emotional depression.
I didn’t want to be attracted to women, and I didn’t want any romantic encounters with women. Although that intimacy was something I desired, I believed it was wrong because that’s something the Bible teaches. I avoided close friendships with women, and was often antisocial though at the same time I longed for close friends. I felt deep shame and worthlessness because of my attraction to women and because of masturbating, when I believed I should be attracted to men and have sexual self-control.
I also had nightmares, terrible visions, periods of depression, and a lot of confusion connected to this issue. Around the age of 19 I began seeking assistance from older Christian women I respected, who counseled me, listened to me, corrected me, gave me advice, read the Bible with me, and prayed for me. I also went through two programs ‘Freedom in Christ’ (Christian cognitive-behavioral therapy and prayer) and a Healing Hearts Ministry program (Bible- and Gospel-based healing from sexual abuse and relational issues) in Canada.
Over the last six years, I have received a lot of assistance in reforming my understanding of sexuality to conform to the Bible and the teachings of the Christian church: seeking to obey God, the source of Christian morality. I have sought out this counseling/mentoring in the Northern Territory where I lived until the start of 2019, and for the last six months from a mentor in Victoria. I have experienced decreased depression, an end to masturbating, greater clarity of thought, more healthy friendships, and better civic contribution through “conversion practices”, or Christian lay counseling or mentoring. I have benefited in many ways from Christian mentoring.
Although I am still attracted to women, I hope in God’s promise that all who believe in him will be perfected in him, and this means one day I will be free from attraction to women. For now, I know how to manage these attractions, repent when I fail, and receive the grace of God who knows me back to front and loves every part of me.
“You formed my inward parts; you wove me in my mother’s womb. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book they were all written: the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it all. I thank You that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.—excerpts from Psalm 139.
He loved me even then, before I was born. God knew and foresaw the pain I would experience as a child: lonely, friendless, feeling unloved-even by those in my family. He heard my cries when I would call out to Him to change me miraculously into a girl. I had heard of His miracles from Bible teachings in Church. Why couldn’t I be one of His miracles? Why couldn’t He change me into something else?
I hated being a boy, being ridiculed, being bullied. I didn’t connect with Dad, with my older brother, or with the other boys in the neighborhood. I wanted to be like them, but they were all about sports and rough/tumble while I was about singing, dancing, acting and just generally being the entertainer. But Father was loving me even then, as He watched my life as it was, His heart grieving for me.
He was also watching and grieving when I was sexually molested by a stranger at 13, the frailness of my personality and identity again being shaken. It is no wonder that, with this trauma and my lack of male bonding in my early years, I grew up to be a man with a confused sexual identity, attracted to my own gender!
John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become children of God.” As a senior in high school at 17, Father revealed the person of Jesus to me for the very first time when I heard that I could ask Jesus into my heart to forgive my sins and become my Savior and Lord. This was the first time that I ever heard that God loved ME. I JUMPED at the chance to be adopted into His family. I looked for Him to change me, to give me joy for the misery I had grown up with and still experienced as a teen. He did change things in me, but not the things I was expecting, nor in the ways I was expecting.
The Lord didn’t change my circumstances, though, as much as He began changing my heart. He showed me that to have friends, I needed to be a friend. He taught me to reach out to other people, to stop isolating myself and feeling sorry for myself. By the end of my senior year, I was voted by my co-graduates the “Friendliest Guy in the Senior Class,” this one who felt friendless most of his life.
But everything wasn’t perfect. I believed that my same-gender attractions that had bombarded me since the onslaught of puberty would reverse, and I would be attracted to women only. With hormones raging, I sought God every day in prayer and in the Word to change my attractions, and to calm down my urges. My young adult life was a constant, on-going ritual of anonymous sexual encounters followed by sorrowful vows of repentance, promising never to repeat these sins again. I was so desperate I would plead with Him either to castrate me or just take me out, so I didn’t have to endure anymore of the pain. I so wanted to live a pure life, yet it just seemed impossible. But then I read where Jesus once said, “With men, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.”
Even before I was born again, instinctively I knew I was supposed to grow up to be a husband and father. The Lord didn’t bring my wife to me until I was 31. Fran and I will celebrate our 35th anniversary this November. She did not know she was marrying a coward. It wasn’t until ten years and three sons into our marriage that I finally voluntarily confessed my same-sex attractions to her and my ongoing infidelity under the powerful conviction of the Holy Spirit, when I was feeling the weight of the guilt and shame I was living in, continually turning my back on our vows. In that time of conviction, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, saying, “Daniel, it’s time to tell Fran.”
I didn’t understand the significance of James 5:16 at the time, but I began to see God’s transforming hand as his words came to life when he wrote, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” Over time after my disclosure to her, I discovered that with my wife’s prayers and support, and my subjection to a recovery process realizing that I was feeding a sexual addiction, Father was sealing me in His plan and purposes for my life. Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 6 took on new significance as well, as I realized I did not to live in homosexuality any longer. “And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”
Now, 25 years into my recovery and healing process, I am still discovering more and more of God’s amazing grace: the power to do His will, and of His overwhelming love for me. I had feared that because of my sin, He would disqualify me from serving Him as a worship leader, something I’d done for about 30 years. There was a period when He had me “on the shelf,” so to speak. But when that season changed in 2003, He led me in a new direction when I became the branch director of a post-gay ministry, working with men traveling behind me on the same road I’ve traveled, and giving them hope: saints who would need to hear for their own encouragement Father’s story of overcoming and victory in my life.
So I found myself in the position of bringing comfort to other men in Christ as Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 1:3,4: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, Who comforts us in our affliction so that we may comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Through the support of and accountability with my pastors, church family, and support groups, I continue in that healing process today. Pursuing my passion to know Jesus and to be known by Him, and keeping these other safeguards in place, have enabled me to remain steadfast on the course He has laid out for me in serving Him as He establishes His kingdom here on earth through His people.
Over the years, Father has brought healing in my relationships with my wife and sons. I often joke that the Lord took a man with a messed up sexual identity and gave him three sons to teach how to become men. He also brought healing in my relationships with my Dad, Mom, and other family members from whom I had felt separated.
In His love, the Lord has shown me that He isn’t changing me to become more perfectly conformed to His image just so that I can be a swell guy in the end. He is changing me because He has called me to fulfill His destiny in my life on earth and to bring glory to Him through my testimony of His faithfulness, and that His word is true. Revelations 12:21 says, “And they overcame the devil by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives even unto death.” As I chose to die to my flesh-feeding life that included homosexual activity, God found a willing son, a useful vessel to further His kingdom on earth. And, in the process, He answered my childhood prayer, to change me from who I was. He performed His miracle!
Erin. – Former Transgender.
I never thought I would publicly share such deeply personal things about my past, but I feel like I must, because I was a transgender child. When I could get away with it, I would use the boys bathroom instead of the girls. I practiced peeing standing up. I thought if I could master this, I could “pass” as a boy. I hated it when I had to dress as a girl. I hated my female body.
Sometimes I would put duct tape over my vagina to hide it. Sometimes I would go into a rage and pound my vagina with a rock until it was swollen with bruises. Sometimes, when I brushed my hair, I would experience such self-loathing that I would beat my head with the brush, sharp bristles tearing into my scalp until my hair was matted with blood.
My first grade teacher, Ms. Hicken at Howard R. Driggs Elementary School, was concerned about my behavior and my insistence that I was a boy, so she referred me to the school psychologist. The school psychologist met with my mother, my teacher, and the school principal and made some suggestions for how they could help me feel more comfortable with myself. Some of the recommendations from the psychologist included putting me in Bluebirds (Campfire Girls) or Brownies (Girl Scouts) so that I was around other girls, encouraging me to stop wearing my brother’s hand-me-downs, and exposing me to strong women who would be good role models.
In states where “conversion therapy” is banned, it is illegal for therapists to make the simple recommendations that I had. A man I recently met told me that as a child he was sexually assaulted by an uncle. As he grew up, he struggled to make friendships with other boys. He craved male companionship and started engaging in same-sex relationships. But today, a therapist’s suggestion that the boy is not old enough to decide if he is gay or straight is not permitted in states where “conversion therapy” is banned. Bans on “conversion therapy” prevent therapists from telling children that they are too young or too immature to be having gay sex. Both this man and I were sexually assaulted as children. His assault led him to believe he was gay. My assault resulted in my developing a trans identity with the belief that if I wasn’t a girl, I wouldn’t be sexually assaulted again. If he were a child today, “conversion therapy” bans would require therapists to tell him that he was born a homosexual and that being a homosexual is normal and natural. His therapist would never address the underlying cause of his same-sex attraction, and he would be denied therapy that would help him understand the impact the sexual assault had on him.
If I were a child today, “conversion therapy” bans would require my school psychologist to report to my teacher, principal, and mother that I was a “trans” kid. The school would allow me to dress like a boy, be called by the boy’s name [I’d picked out “Timothy”.] and use male pronouns. The school psychologist would likely insist that I be allowed to use the boys’ bathrooms at school and play on the boys’ teams. The school psychologist would “affirm” my belief that I was born in the wrong body and that my self-hatred was valid.
Between kindergarten and first grade my brother and I were abducted by two men and taken to a public restroom. I was brutally sexually assaulted and my brother was not. In my child’s mind, I thought that being a boy would prevent me from ever being hurt the way those men hurt me. Not my mother, not my school teacher, not my school psychologist knew that my trans identity was based upon my desire to keep my body from being sexually violated again. It took years of therapy before I understood the connection. If therapists had not been allowed to question my gender identity, I never would have made the connection. I never would have understood that my hatred of my female body was the result it being violently violated. I never would have realized that my transgender identity was a coping mechanism.
The talk therapy that helped me and many others is now illegal in many states. Children are being denied appropriate mental health services and therapists are required by law to “affirm” a child’s transgender identity or same sex attraction. Transgender activists have adopted a philosophy regarding children with gender identity issues; children should be transitioned to the gender they identify with, first socially, and as they reach puberty, medically. These activists deny that talk therapy is helpful in managing and resolving gender dysphoria, and assert, without any proof, that it is harmful.
No evidence supports transgender advocates’ contention that transitioning children is beneficial in any way, but there is strong evidence proving that transitioning can be harmful. A Swedish study shows that those who transition have a higher suicide rate. Transgender advocates scare parents, telling them that if they do not allow their children to transition, their child is at risk of depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide. This fear-mongering convinces parents to allow children to dictate name changes, preferred pronouns, and medical interventions even though we recognize that children are not capable of making these kinds of life-altering decisions in any other situation.
There is no other situation in which therapists are encouraged, required, or legislated to affirm a child who has inaccurate perceptions about themselves. A child who suffers from anorexia is not “affirmed” in her perception that she is fat. A child who suffers from bi-polar disorder is not “affirmed” in a belief that he will rule the world when he is manic. A child who is crippled by anxiety is not “affirmed” that her anxiety is a healthy coping mechanism. When the general public hears the term “conversion therapy”, they are encouraged to believe that it means electro-shock therapy or other physically and mentally abusive types of intervention designed to turn a gay person straight, otherwise known as reparative therapy.
“Conversion therapy” is an umbrella term that generally refers to any form of therapy that does not affirm sexual orientation or gender identity, including talk therapy. Despite the claims of activists, there is no evidence that failing to “affirm” a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity “undermines” self-worth or increases suicidal ideation and substance abuse or that the therapy exacerbates family conflict. Instead, the evidence suggests that both sexual orientation and gender identity are influenced by environmental factors, including peer and family pressures. Early childhood trauma can also cause children to identify as gay or transgender.
Hemi. – Former Gay Man.
How my life was while I was practicing a homosexual lifestyle: I was living a life sort of in my own world, my relationships with friends would never last more than a couple months because I didn’t feel I belonged anywhere, my relationships with family was temperamental as I would move from home to home (many times because of my behavior) I was using drugs at the ages of 13-14
(marijuana and experimenting with ice and also drinking alcohol) whenever I could get my hands on it (in most cases almost daily) I had such a poor self image that I didn’t even want to live past 18 years old, in fact I had never imagined it.
I was living a promiscuous lifestyle, sleeping around with guys a lot but after every time I slept with someone I would feel this overwhelming shame and guilt that I actually thought was normal until I spoke to a friend who told me that it wasn’t normal to feel that, I would try and stop my lifestyle but I was sort of addicted to these relations with guys.
My cousin told me about Jesus Christ and I found it intriguing however I thought I could never be a ‘Christian’ because I was gay. I initially actually attended this church with my partner at the time these people never actually condemned me though, they told me about sin and the consequences and also about this forgiving God. I felt I needed God in my life more than anything.
What I did to change: I would be lying if I said I did anything to be honest, personally when I tried to live a heterosexual lifestyle on my own I just ended up burnt out and more depressed. there is a scripture that says “but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Mathew 6:33) this may be in a different context but I found as I sought God I started to worry less about my sexual identity and anything else I just wanted a deeper relationship with Him.
I still remember the day I walked into church and I saw this woman singing on stage and she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, I had never looked at a woman like that before so naturally I was shocked and I actually walked out of the church and had to pick myself up. This attraction was indescribable it didn’t feel like how I used to be attracted to people.
My life now: I am now dating this woman and have healthy and reconciled relationships with friends and family, I am addiction free and serving as an usher at the Potters House Church Beenleigh. I am able to commit to simple things like study and work. I am happily abstaining from sex until marriage (Which to the old me would of felt depressingly impossible) I have a restored self image and can joyfully tell you this story today because its so real to me that it even astounds me how God has changed my life when I think of how my life has radically changed.
P.s I have read pieces of the Latrobe study and I do feel for the people have shared their story on this sensitive topic however I want to encourage anyone who reads this that if they are struggling with the same thing, that it is possible to change and be ‘a new creation’ just hang in there.
To take away the freedom of pastoral care and prayer and call it harmful would stop people that are living the way I was from ever having the freedom to find options to change, granted some people don’t want to change however there are people out there who DO want to change so please don’t rob them of these options.
Ian Lind. – Former Gay Man.
Testimony (Short version)
When I first asked the lord to come into my life I was about 12 years old, It really excited me that I was going to be “Born Again” for 2 reasons.
1 I hated my life as it was, I never felt like I belonged
2 To start over again was too exciting
To cut a long story short my experience was cut short as my mum hated the thought of me being born again and wouldn’t let me go to church or fellowship with the next door neighbours who introduced me to the church, they taught me the lords prayer and gave me a Bible so I could read when mum wasn’t around.
As soon as I could I left N.Z. at the age of 17 I got on a boat to Sydney for a little bit I felt free, no one knew me! very quickly realisation hit that I had no where to stay and I had no money, so I needed a job ! I was lost!
I went to the police at central explained my circumstance and they took me to the salvation army to see if they had some temporary accommodation, they asked me what I did for a job and I said I was a chef, they offered me employment straight away.
While working for the salvation army I met this friend who was helping out at a Sea shell shop down at the rocks, he asked me if I wanted to help as well, so I said that’s great! so I went with him to meet the owner of the shop, we got on great, the owner took me under his wing like a father would and started to show me the business, he was a very kind and caring man and I really enjoyed his presence.
It wasn’t long before he introduced me to one of his friends which took me out for dinner then took me to his place at Hunters Hill, he asked if I wanted to stay the night and he would take me back in the morning.
I said yes that would be great, Talk about naive! he showed me the bed so I got into it and he joined me, I was so shocked and confused, this was my first experience with a man! I had no idea what to expect, I had often had thoughts, dreams of another man holding me, BUT never in a sexual way, I had always thought I was meant to be a woman as I liked the company of men more than the company of woman, I was so confused as I was always quite feminine, the way I dressed, the way I walked and the way I talked.
I might add at this point all this seemed quite natural to me and I was always berated for it, and I was always being told that I was gay BUT I had no idea what that meant.
From this point on my life started taking on a whole new meaning, it seemed I have found myself at last, life was pretty fast at this point I found the work I loved, I fell in and out of gay relationships, I found work at Gay night clubs and restaurants as a chef or a waiter, I was the youngest manager of a night club called the Tivoli in George Street.
I quickly became a workaholic as this was where I was the happiest, BUT I was also tied up with people that enjoyed to party hard.
The bottom started to fall out of my world, my health really started to affect me around the age of 22, I was getting really sick from poor eating habits, smoking way to much, drinking and the occasional drugs. I hated where my life was so much I decided to end my life and tried to commit suicide.
As this didn’t work I desperately tried to get my life on track, my job was secure, I had money I just didn’t know happiness, and I desperately prayed for guidance, I felt sure life was meant to be purposeful, I just need to find it!
I had decided that the Gay life was not what I was looking for, I had been through some pretty ugly relationships and they devastated me emotionally which led me to try to end my life, So the only way forward for me was to get my life back into some normality, so I was radical in the direction I thought to go, I started to exercise! I sought help with my diet, I stopped smoking and drinking, I dumped all my friends except one who worked with me. Richard was some one who I could talk to about anything, he was also my harshest critic!
At 27 living in Redfern by my self I met this woman who was south African quite a stunning looking woman, we started a relationship which was short lived, I was like a fish out of water! it was almost like having a relationship with my mother! talk about control!
It wasn’t long after this that I bumped into my next door neighbour who always seemed happy and very chirpy, I introduced myself to him and I asked why he was so happy, he told me he was a born again Christian and he has the life of Christ in him!
I didn’t know what to do whether to run or hide! I was just so shocked I just stood there and he told me all about Jesus.
That night he came to my place with 3 other people and they all told me their testimony, they then asked if I would like Jesus in my life, I said yes. We would all meet most days to read the bible and teach about Jesus, it wasn’t long before I was baptized, and recruited into witnessing on the streets of Sydney with this group of people that didn’t seem to belong to any church.
One day after about 2 months the leader of this group asked me a little about my past, and I happened to tell him that I lived across the way for 4 years, he knew the guy I was living with, and straight away knew I was Gay, I was told then that there is NO way I can be saved! that I was an abomination, that Homosexuality was the most grievous sin against God! I was excommunicated and told to leave the area.
I was devastated at this, and quoted the Bible that I was born again! I was no longer Gay, that I have been forgiven! that Homosexuality is no more a sin than stealing or lying according to the bible!
I remember this guy telling me never to go to Frank Houstons church, so I started to look for this church as I felt God was leading me there.
It didn’t take long to find, BUT because of what had happened to me I didn’t want to be known too quickly in case I would be thrown out, I knew all the answers would be in the Church! This situation I found myself in was for me going to be the answer, one way or another I needed to find the truth because the Bible say’s the truth will set you free!
I started to go to home fellowship about 4 months after joining the church and after long talks with a paster Phil who convinced me this was part of the Christian walk.
So the meeting started and Phil looked at me and asked me what my definition of LOVE was! Everyone was looking at me as I was expected to answer, after what seemed like an eternity I just cried my eyes out! I had no answer, as hard as I tried I really had no idea about love! My idea about love was a man holding me tight and saying I love you! Not what I could say in this situation!
What this did for me, was to really find out what love is all about, and the only one that could give me the answer was Jesus though community and the word.
It wasn’t long after this that I was invited into a group called Exit ministries, participated in the Living Waters program.
After about 2 years of being involved with this group I was so frustrated with not finding the freedom from Homosexual thoughts, I had gotten into a relationship with a girl from work who I started to take to church, at this point in my walk with God, abstaining from any sexual activity was for me a blessing, especially with Marie, I was so scared of messing this up! but I felt this was where God wanted me.I must say at this point Marie had no idea of my past and to be honest I was too scared to say anything.
In my walk with God I didn’t identify with being Gay as I was born again even though I still had thoughts about it I never looked back, so for me this wasn’t an issue.
I was asked to lead Exit ministries, I asked Frank Houston if I could go to America to attend a Living waters training, I desperately needed to get some reality to this ministry, and as much as I wanted to be free within myself I wanted everyone that came to Living Waters to know of the reality of Jesus in our lives. I was hearing every Sunday of the love of Jesus BUT I needed to experience this love!
Frank was very happy for me to go, the timing couldn’t have been better, Marie and I were married by this stage, Marie also knew my past and understood what I was doing being involved with Exit ministries, primarily I was involved for 2 reasons, one was I wanted to help prevent youth suicide as I believe gender confusion is a major factor to this, and 2, I wanted to experience the freedom of being a Christian, of being Born Again.
CLC Waterloo was a great church and I felt the more I did the more I was appreciated, this theme was a constant in my life, I found that I was doing more and more, almost at burn out! It was almost like swimming against the tide, the over whelming tide of need within the church. I just knew I had to know the reality of Gods presence!
At this Living Waters training at San Juan Capistrano in California, I came before the CROSS, a huge cross at the centre of the room, I thought straight away that this must be a Catholic church! what have I done?
This was the first time I had travelled to America, I didn’t know what I was in for, BUT I felt a peace at being there, and I felt Gods peace!
So I relaxed and prayed that this is Gods will to be here then let Gods will be done, He knows my heart, and he knows all of my past NO one else knows.
One of the teachings was “Mother wound” I will never forget it, as the person was teaching this God was ministering to me and showing why my mother was incapable of really loving me and why she was so emotionally absent. Then God started to minister to those deep wounds, all I had to do was to stay present to Him, I cried like never before, I was able to forgive my mother and in so doing I was able to receive the healing, after the session which lasted about 2 hours, I felt like never before, a sense of well being!
This was something I would never have realized was missing until I received it, GOD was mothering me at this point.
The next session was the father wound, again as the person was teaching God showed me why dad had never connected with me, I was able to forgive him, at this point God ministered to me by actually holding me and hugging me close to his bosom, I felt the affirmation of being a man! again I was a mess! I never thought I was worth it!
At the end of the 7 days I was a completely different man! I understood why we are called to be “born again” because that is exactly what the process is about, for me there is now a reality of being a born again believer, a Christian, and this was only the beginning!
The first thing I had to do after coming back to Sydney was to ask Marie to forgive me for not seeing her as God saw her! I was seeing her through my brokenness, what a change God made to our relationship!
I started a new ministry called “Living Waters Australia” We re – trained all the leadership and ran it for about 8 years, in that time the ministry was full on, we started 4 ministries outside of our church, we had 200 people in groups for 30 weeks within our church, I realized fast that this ministry is not just for people with same sex attraction we were helping a lot of people that were struggling in their marriages as well, so we renamed what we were doing to relational wholeness.
In effect we were being what the church should be! we were ministering to Christians, equipping them to minister to others, God was raising an army!
Desert Stream ministries is still the most effective ministries in the world for healing Gods people, I had the pleasure of ministering alongside Andy, and I also had the pleasure of attending a Leanne Payne training which was amazing.
I must say here that we were accused of “Conversion Therapy” by some Gays within the church, BUT the truth was everyone who was involved in Living Waters was being converted to Christians that were healed, That were born again! if that was what conversion therapy meant then yes we were guilty, but then every Church should be guilty!
Everybody that was involved was in a desperate situation that demanded truth and healing in their lives and were happy to receive any and all ministry from God! The ones that were saying this were Gays who refused to change their lifestyle! and one was a pastor/evangelist in the church who was stood down for his lifestyle.
Jesus was changing lives, healing people of their past and freeing them to be present to Jesus, they were experiencing what it is to be a Christian.
I stepped down from the ministry in 1998, Connor my son had just been born, and I felt God saying to me to step down and be a father and husband to my family.
Marie died in 2009 to cancer, we were married 21 years, I thank God every day for what he has done and continuing to do in my life, I have married again to a most amazing woman Toni Roy, Connor is now 22 years old.
None of this could have happened out side the Church, I was convinced more than once that I was born Gay, and I am glad to say what a lie that was!
The thing that convinced me was, GOD being a loving God would not permit me to be born gay then say it’s a sin, this never made sense to me as a Christian!
Mitch. – Former Lesbian.
For as young as 5 years of age, I knew I was gay. My mom, crippled with her own fear had indoctrinated me that all men were the same – that you can’t trust them, they will surely end up cheating on you. My dad was emotionally absent even up till now. I led a double life hiding the truth from them, until I decided to find those like me during university.
I have been seeking the truth about this whole gay Christianity (as I was brought up a Christian) for as long as I can remember.
I endeavored to change myself by going out with the opposite sex whom I find attractive, but failed. I recognized my family unit was majorly dysfunctional; the obvious factor being an emotionally absent dad. The other was a mom who was bi-polar, schizophrenia, as well as an older brother who has Triple A Syndrome disability. I was also bulimic from all the added pressure on me being the only normal child. My bulimia was miraculously healed as I have been praying for healing in a church I was in. Since then, I felt God was real, not just a fictitious tale learnt from Sunday school in church. Because of that miraculous healing, I felt loved despite my inherent homosexual nature.
One evening after school, I queried God whether homosexuality was a sin as I had been contemplating about it a while – was fantasizing and entertaining thoughts considered sin? The following night I received a Daily Bread booklet (which I have never subscribed to) in my letterbox. The title of the cover was homosexuality and therein laid my answer to the question I asked God the night before. It was an incredible and surreal experience which I will always remember – that God of the universe exists and bothered to answer me straight away! I was 15 years old at the time.
I had a relationship during University after years of being deprived of affection and being loved and ultimately feeling lonely, believing that God still loved me even if I chose this path. I thought I was in love, however I was in love with the ‘idea and superficiality’ of my ex-girlfriend, as she was viewed by many as a trophy catch, being in the modelling and celebrity circles. It was an intense and maniacal relationship that left me clinically depressed when the turbulent relationship ended.
During that time, mom brought me to church where I was supernaturally healed from depression by God. Doctors were baffled as I was completely off meds. It left an indelible mark on me which sparked my journey following Christ. This was under the pastoral leadership of a church I was a part of for around 5 years. I confided in the pastor and a few trusted women in this church. During this time, I experienced the truth of God’s unconditional love despite my thorn(in my flesh), but at the same time, I cannot disregard the blatant truth about homosexuality in the bible. Hence, I chose to ‘want’ to change. I believed God was able to help me because He had done it before healing me miraculous of depression. I didn’t know how He was going to change me or when it was going to happen but I just believed in Him to do so in His time.
Through this time, I grew in my walk of faith whilst keeping my sexuality hidden. I served in leadership at church as I kept myself accountable to a pastor and those few whom I trusted. They were my support network from church that kept me on the right track even though I regressed every now and then. I kept declaring verses that were close to heart: Matthew 6:33 – Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will given unto you.
2 Cor 12:9 – My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness. I declared these verses over my life every day for 5 years through years of doubts and trials.
I first met my husband in August 2005 through a mutual friend. During this time, I was unaware of any internal changes within myself. However, I have noticed my growing sexual attraction towards the opposite sex through the years of my Christian walk. Prior to this, I would be extremely put off by the thought of being sexually attracted to males or even entertaining the thought of having intercourse with them. When my husband entered my life, we connected on a deeper level almost instantly, having a clichéd connection of a long lost soul mate. We were later married the following year by a pastor. We have two beautiful boys, now aged 7 and 9 years old. It has been challenging being a mother as I had no prior interest nor experience with kids and was fearful of being a damaging mother like mine. Suffice to say, I love my family – my husband and my kids; even though they aren’t perfect, they remind me of God’s unconditional love, faithfulness and grace in my life. Looking back at the past, I am so thankful that my life has taken a turn to
where it is now. I cannot imagine what it would be like to continue to be who I was before.
It was a life riddled with extreme complications, inauthenticity, depression and misery.
Rose Writers. Former Same-Sex Attracted.
At the age of 13, I was sexually abused over the course of some years, by a male relative. This had a huge impact on my life. I spent most of my teenage years engaged in sports, which suited me as I was very much ‘a tom boy’. And I certainly didn’t fit into girly activities.
In my late teens I developed feelings of same sex attraction. This just developed gradually. They weren’t huge or overwhelming, but the thought would cross my mind on occasion. I mentioned this to a female family friend who listened to my concerns. I never acted out on these feelings and over the years my feelings for the opposite gender subsided until they were no longer part of my thinking. Even though I do not have a dramatic experience in either the gay lifestyle, or had any professional counselling or prayer, it is still significant to note that these feelings did not last. It was a phase. Just a phase. However, had that been now, I would dare to say that it would have been encouraged to engage in the gay lifestyle. My life may have moved in a very different direction. Also, in this present day, my Tom boy ways, could have been mistaken as trans. I am grateful that I was not encouraged into either of these directions. I am very happily married to a man and have several children and grandchildren.
It is important to note that phases are a normal part of growing up and often change with time.
James. – Former gay man.
“When a Health Minister tells those who’ve been sexually abused, raped or emotionally neglected that “there is nothing wrong with you… you can’t be fixed because you are not broken”, then you have to start asking who really is sick, who is spreading sick lies – and why?”
I grew up believing I was born gay. I’d only ever been erotically attracted towards men.
As a teen, I often thought of suicide. I self-harmed, had a problem with alcohol and was addicted to hardcore porn.
Coming from a rural community I never believed I’d be accepted as a gay man, especially as I watched a male cousin 10 years my senior struggle to find his place as a gay man in the same locality. He died from a drug overdose in his forties.
I came out at 17. My parents said they’d known I was gay and my mates at school also affirmed me as gay. My fears of rejection subsided and I felt free like never before.
At 18, I moved to my capital city, fully embraced my gay identity, and served the gay community on the frontlines, actively preaching “diversity and inclusion”, the mantra I’d been so quick to learn.
I challenged everyone that might suggest being gay was a choice, was wrong, or changeable. Duuuh! I never felt the need to change, or to even try to. Why should I? I was born gay. That was that.
I led a very promiscuous life having hundreds of sexual partners, especially while attending the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. I then settled down with a long-term boyfriend. We went to church together and soon became the model Christian gay couple.
Months later, I sensed some issues affecting my relationships in general. I’d not noticed them before. In brief, I ended my perfect relationship and chose to enter therapy.
Therapy revealed I had a deep-rooted fear of rejection. I had commitment issues, could easily be riddled with anxiety, that I’d used others for pleasure, and let them use me. Although I yearned for men, I saw that I had an innate fear of them. This is the real homophobia: an intrinsic fear of the average guy.
There was nothing brutal or harrowing about the help I received; the horror stories portrayed in gay-straight ‘conversion’ documentaries don’t apply here. I underwent cognitive therapy, to challenge my core beliefs and root out one-sided thinking; behavioural therapy, to change problematic actions trained through years of reinforcement; and some EMDR, which uses rhythmic eye movements to dampen the power of traumatic memories.
Therapists never focused solely on my being sexually attracted to men, but my “being gay” had to be a part of the dialogues, otherwise I’d have been leaving a part of my life at the therapist’s door. I came to recognise where I’d built numerous walls around my heart towards significant others in my life.
For example, as a boy I’d failed to interact with other males on any significant level. I’d been fostered, orphaned and adopted and saw myself as rejected by men even as a small boy and had made an inner vow never to deeply trust them. Males had reached out to me but I’d spurned them, including my adoptive dad and older brothers. Men then became a mystery to me, even an obsession, by my teens. I began erotically craving men and feeding this through endless porn.
Disconnected from men, I’d got stuck in a world of the feminine, with no masculine counter-balance. I believed myself to be a woman trapped in a man’s body, and considered hormones and mutilating surgery. And yet I despised women for being able to woo heterosexual men, which I couldn’t do. Clearly, my natural place wasn’t among women.
Through therapy and prayer support, my core behaviours and impressions were challenged – my looks, my body, my walk, my perceptions. Therapists challenged me to look at where I wasn’t like other men, and where I was. We worked together on things like my voice and the effeminate way I walked. They gave me permission to think in a different way… and to do things differently.
Gradually, my fears and anxieties subsided. I began to feel more accepted around both men – and then women. I moved from a deep underlying unease with masculine identity to embracing it. My posture changed. I began to walk taller. And I lost my mincing walk. My voice became lower and people would regularly comment on it.
I started seeing that maybe, just maybe, I was never truly gay and that the true man I’d worshipped and longed after in other guys was hidden deep within me, waiting to be released. No one was more shocked and excited by this than me.
I also learned through prayer what it was to forgive. And I had many people from my past, especially men, that I needed to forgive. Prayer never focused solely on my sexual attraction to men, but gave me courage to look everything in the eye. This included facing the painful, wholly repressed memories of my having been consistently sexually abused as a child for years by a number of men, and raped whilst a teenager several years before I’d even reached the age of gay consent on 3 occasions by 3 older gay men.
A few years later in my late twenties, now facing the hidden trauma of excessive child sexual abuse, having been fed gay pornography and raped as a teen by 3 gay men, the crippling, insatiable eroticisation and romanticisation of men within me began diminishing.
The more inclusive my friendships became with other chaste men, the more I desired an exclusive connection that contained “mystery”. Men had been mystery to me, but now I unexpectedly began to see woman as I’d never seen her before, noticing her curves and her scent. I saw her as wholly different, mysterious, and yet complementary to me. In my late twenties I experienced what most males go through in their teens. I then dated women and eventually married. Today I am a dad, something I was told I would and could never be.
I thought I’d spend my entire life preaching that people are born gay. The opposite has become true.
I am grateful to the courageous men and women who had a vision for my life way above and beyond the mantras and lies of my fellow LGBTQ activists. Without them, I’d never have uncovered my childhood sex abuse which later led me to be the key witness in a court case that saw a prolific paedophile convicted of his crimes. Banning therapy will mean more childhood sexual abuse going unreported – a perverted and most evil outcome. If I’d been prevented from starting my own recovery journey, which politicians are now trying to vitriolically ban, I’d never have been able to support literally hundreds of men and women with unwanted same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria, most of whom were gravely sexually abused as minors.
We are told by gender-confused ideologues, by ill-informed educators, medics and politicians to see our identity according to sexual attraction. This is a lie from the pit of hell. I know – I’ve lived and preached it myself.
I was unknowingly given a key to freedom. I took it, and opened the door which let me scratch deep below the surface of mainstream society’s toxic, deathly beliefs about sexual attraction. Today, I am galaxies away from where I expected to be half a lifetime ago.
So, what changed for me?
– my sexual compulsivity reduced which means no more three-monthly visits to sexual health clinics to see what STI’s I’ve caught.
– My paralysing anxiety,
– my multiplying addictions,
– my self-harm,
– my subliminal fears of men and women,
– my inability to commit,
– my oscillating hatred of self and blame of others,
– my anti-depressant intake to counteract tension and burnout, and
– my same-sex attraction itself
…all of these decreased or disappeared. (Shouldn’t this make a Health Minister happy, rather than contemptuous and condemnatory?)
Like hundreds and thousands of others, I wasn’t born gay after all.
Today, I am surrounded by amazing relationships. And yet the peers I knew in my twenties who “stayed gay” now often struggle with profound loneliness, disorders and dependencies, and a higher than average percentage have died early from sickness or suicide. Now that’s unjust!
Today, our so-called Health Ministers knowingly lie to young people who are still figuring out who they are, telling them “there is nothing wrong with you,” or that “you can’t be fixed because you are not broken, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong. What bulldust! Their words steal life, destroy and will kill.
Ministers who say this are wolves in sheep’s clothing, enemies parading as allies of the people they’re elected and paid to serve. They fail to consult widely and to become fully informed about therapy and prayer around human sexuality, leaving thousands of young and old alike trapped as I was in the traumatic aftermath of child sex abuse, rape and exposure to destructive pornography.
When a Health Minister tells those who’ve been sexually abused, raped or emotionally neglected that “there is nothing wrong with you… you can’t be fixed because you are not broken”, then you have to start asking who really is sick, who is spreading sick lies – and why?
Jules’ Story of Change.
I was born and raised in a church going family but not a Christ centered home. I was exposed to pornography and very curious about sexuality from a young age. My parents divorced when I was 11 and my mother always chose men over her relationship with her children.
I was always attracted to woman and though it was not a sexual attraction as a child, I found myself very infatuated and drawn to other girls and women. I always felt that maybe I should have been a boy. When I entered college I began to pursue sexual relationships with other women. I was promiscuous and experimented with drugs regularly as well as drinking excessively. When I was 23 I met a woman that changed my life. She became my idol and I worshiped everything about her. We lived together and planned to marry.
We were invited to Church on Mother’s Day and heard a message about Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. My friend said she didn’t think she was a sinner. I laughed and told her that according to the Bible our relationship was sinful. In my head I knew the truth of the Bible but was willing to risk my eternity for a woman I had let become my god. My friend was upset with me and began to read the Bible on her own. I told her I did not want to lose her and feared I would. She began to try to defend our relationship Biblically and had many so called Christian friends who told her the lifestyle was not a sin. She would read for hours a day. She asked me to go to church with her again and I did. We heard another message about the saving grace of Jesus and surrendering our lives to Him. We did it together and Jesus changed our hearts instantly. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” II Corinthians 5:17.
We began going to old hangouts, gay bars and contacting friends telling them our decision to leave the life and follow Christ. People would come visit us late at night to want to hear more about Jesus. In the beginning we would come to church late, wearing jeans and combat boots and sit in the back missing most of the music and worship. A few weeks later we began coming early, dressed nicely and sitting on the front row. We went to Church almost every evening and could not keep quiet about what God had done. The drugs and alcohol, smoking and bad language were instantly removed by the Lord. The biggest struggle was the temptation with my girlfriend. We decided we could not live together any longer. We were baptized together in the ocean a few months later and after that the Lord gave me an opportunity to go to Japan to teach English and help a Church. The contract was for one year, but I sensed the Lord wanted me to stay. That was 25 years ago. I never turned back.
Luke 9:62 “But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
I met my husband in Japan and we are serving the Lord full time. The Lord has blessed us with two beautiful children. I did not get counseling or go through any special program. I immersed myself in the Bible and spent time daily reading the scriptures and pouring my heart out to Jesus. He was everything to me, especially my first two years in a Japan when I could not communicate well. I let the Lord heal my heart and His truth truly set me free.
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
John 14:6 NKJV He continues to be my everything and I continue to pour out my heart to Him and stay centered in the truth of the Bible. Set free, but my mind is still a battle ground and I must continue to keep His truth in my heart and mind.
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
By DBarr. From a Lesbian Relationship to…..
Title: When the Church Does it Right!
There was a longing in the deep part of of my soul that I simply could not satisfy. I tried to fill the void with everything I could think of – working more hours, taking more classes, volunteering for new adventures, reading more books, eating more, drinking more, exercising more, getting involved in yet another relationship … but nothing seemed to help. Something was missing.
We were early stages of dating in 1993 when she asked me to go to church with her. I immediately said no. I hadn’t been inside a church for more than sixteen years. Oh, at one time I believed in God, but when I was so deeply hurt as a teenager, I discovered the truth – there was no God! It was all a lie; if God existed I would have not been betrayed and hurt so deeply. But then she said something strange to me that turned out to be one of those pivotal moments in my life. She looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Deb – Jesus wants you back.” I immediately felt a deep yearning in my soul that I could not explain.
Well I relented and began attending church with her. It was there that I met numerous other gay and lesbian couples just like us. After several years of hearing that my lifestyle was pleasing to God, my relationship with her ended badly and I moved to another part of the country leaving both her and the church behind.
I met another woman named Barb in 2000; we fell in love, entered into a Civil Union and built our dream home together. As time when on, a persistent nagging feeling came over me that I needed to go to church. I told Barb of my desire, and so we decided to visit Covenant Baptist Church in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. I was quite apprehensive as we approached the door that first Sunday, thinking that there was no way they would welcome a lesbian couple into their midst. When we arrived, it turned out that Barb saw a former coworker in the lobby and we were welcomed with a warm embrace. That was the beginning of another interesting turn in my life.
It was at that church that I surrendered my life to Christ on November 23, 2003. Barb and I joined the Women Who Worship God Bible study group and began to learn about our new faith in Jesus Christ. Those women never said a word about homosexuality or how we were living our lives; they just loved us and warmly welcomed us into their group.
As Barb and I read the Bible together every day, we began to experiment with applying biblical principles to our lives. We started tithing, and God healed our finances. We fasted and prayed and experienced God answering specific prayers. We memorized Scripture and sought a deeper relationship with the Lord.
At one point in late 2005 I approached Clarise, the women’s ministry leader, to ask if Barb and I could take a few moments at the beginning of our next Bible study class to address the group and let them know that we were gay. We thought that we needed to be truthful with them, feeling that we had somehow been deceitful about the true nature of our relationship since nobody had ever said anything to us about being gay. Another life-altering turning point in my life had just begun.
Clarise suggested we discuss this with our Pastor before speaking about it with the women’s group. The four of us met a couple of times to talk and listen to one another. At one point Pastor Scott Hesler said to me, “Why do you put that label [gay] on yourself”? I replied that I was born gay and needed people to know that this was not a choice for me – “being gay is who I am.” He said that when he looked at me, he saw a child of God. No other label was necessary. They were so loving towards us, really listening to what we had to say and being there for us in a way that I had never experienced before.
Something amazing happened over the course of a couple of week’s time. One morning as we were reading God’s Word together, Barb turned to me and asked, “Do you still believe you were born gay?” I replied, “No.” That same day we made a difficult and life-altering decision – to end our homosexual relationship and align our lives with the Word of God.
On January 1, 2006, instead of ‘coming out’ to our women’s Bible study group, we publically declared that we were walking away from the life we had known and embraced for years – for me eighteen years of homosexuality. Over the next two years, we went through the difficult process of unraveling our deeply intertwined lives, dissolving our Civil Union, selling our house, and navigating a new world apart from the gay community that we had been a part of for so long. Clarise and the Women Who Worship God came alongside us as we went through this very public and painful transition in our lives and supported us in so many practical and loving ways.
In the fall of 2008, I moved to Washington D.C. metropolitan area and found a new church where I planned to blend in and put my messy past behind me. Funny thing is, God planted me – a former lesbian white woman – in an all African American Baptist church! I ended up sharing my story with the senior Pastor and was warmly embraced by him and my new church. My spiritual growth skyrocketed there, where I took numerous Christian education classes and became heavily involved in ministry, eventually becoming licensed and then ordained where I now serve as an Associate Pastor
God uses every part of our lives, not wasting a single thing, good or bad, and works it all together for our good in the end! I now lead a Ministry for people with unwanted same-sex attraction and have been serving in this capacity for more than 10 years.
When the church can be a safe place for people to come in with whatever baggage they bring with them, being welcomed with open arms and re-directed to the unconditional love of Jesus Christ – lives are transformed! Our assignment is to extend Christ’s love to people and meet them right where they are; it is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict of sin. When the church does it right – lives like mine are transformed for all eternity!
BY PHILIP LATISLAW
Rules existed over God’s grace and love. Fortunately, my parents showed grace and love to my siblings and me at home. My father led me to Jesus at age six. I always wanted to be just like my dad. I was the middle child, and sometimes felt like the odd man out. I never quite understood where I fit in my family. It didn’t help that I was a sensitive kid; general teasing impacted me to the core. I constantly longed for the love and comfort of those I loved, especially my dad.
It was a legitimate need that was not always fulfilled. My dad worked long hours, and I didn’t understand why he couldn’t spend more time with me. Then, in 1991, my dad’s secret struggle with homosexuality was revealed. For a while, my parents tried to salvage their marriage through counselling, but hope of restoration disintegrated when my dad left us for another man. Mom and Dad divorced, leaving me, an awkward adolescent, feeling totally abandoned. Not long after that, my best friend, who was the same age as me, sexually molested me. I was starving for male attention from my dad, so my molester was able to sexualize my unmet emotional needs. I was confused, yet I wanted more. A male was willing to give me attention, and even though I knew it was wrong, it satisfied something deep within me.
Those unmet emotional needs of my 11-year-old heart followed me into adulthood. Abandonment plagued my future relationships, and I soon found myself actively engaging in the homosexual lifestyle, just like my father. I played the role of provider and caretaker with my younger partners, trying to meet their needs so they wouldn’t abandon me. With older partners, I searched for protection, guidance, and comfort. I gave to others what I desperately needed myself. In 2000, after years of struggling with my sexuality, I came out. For the next 15 years, I immersed myself in promiscuity in the gay community. I had finally found a place to belong. Being gay was my identity. It influenced where I ate, how I dressed, and the events I attended. It determined my circle of friends and even my choice of doctors.
I was in and out of relationships, always seeking gratification through sexual activities. When sex failed to silence my needs, I turned to drugs and alcohol. Drug-induced comas were not abnormal. Sex and substance abuse were my constant companions, and they led me down dark paths that almost took my life. Each sexual encounter robbed me of self-worth and fed my insecurities. Lust became an insatiable desire that birthed an addiction to pornography and self-gratification. I was lost in a cruel world of sin and imprisoned by bad decisions. I needed to be rescued.
Fortunately for me, Father God had devised a rescue mission I call “Operation Lost Sheep,” long before I ever entered the seductive world of sin. He heard the cries of my soul before I even thought to make a sound. Luke 15:3-10 gives us the parable of the lost sheep. Jesus was sharing it with His disciples, and He said: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (NIV). I was a lost sheep who had gone astray and turned to my own way, but Jesus came looking for me. I am so thankful for my mother and her friends, who prayed me back into the arms of the Good Shepherd. I am certain they were instrumental in the successful completion of Operation Lost Sheep. My mother has never stopped praying for me.
I began to sense the Lord’s rescue mission in 2011 when I moved to Orlando, Florida. I had just experienced yet another bad relationship and was on the run. I was an unemployed, extreme alcoholic with no family by my side. Loneliness and depression were my companions.
But during this low point of my life, the Lord began to show me how much I needed Him. Everything I had put my hope in had failed me. People. Relationships. Career. Drugs. Alcohol. Nothing satisfied the ache in my soul. So, God moved me to “the happiest place on earth” to show me that I was the most unhappy person on Earth. There, God began patiently pulling down the walls I had built around my heart. Many of them had been there since the rejection I had felt as a child. The divorce of my parents and my father’s homosexual lifestyle had left so many questions, but rather than ask God for answers, I had self-medicated with relationships, alternative lifestyles, alcohol, and drugs. These things, of course, only brought more pain.
For the next several years, God continued to graciously interject Himself into my life. I could sense His love drawing me, but I resisted Him and continued to participate in my old ways. Satan would not go down without a fight. He sent an evil presence to pursue my soul that tormented my mind with fear. He told me God would never love me, that I was doomed for hell. He gleefully reminded me of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 that says, “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (NIV).
I was on this list—surely, I was doomed! But then God showed me verse 11. As I read it, the inexplicable peace of God flooded my spirit. It says: “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (NIV). Paul was talking to Christians in this passage, believers whom God loved. Sheep who, like me, had once been lost but now were found. God had sent His Son, Jesus- the Good Shepherd—to give His life for me, to rescue me, and to bring me back home. This verse was written for me, and it was written for anyone else who will leave their life of sin behind for Jesus. I’m so thankful that I finally responded to the subtle voice of the Holy Spirit that beckoned me to Himself. I can still hear Him gently whispering my name early one morning in the spring of 2015. There was no judgment or condemnation, only grace and mercy. I fell to my knees and surrendered my heart to Jesus. I called out for Him to be my Saviour, and He came to my rescue.
On Easter Sunday that year, I walked through the doors of First Baptist Orlando, a new man in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). The music pulsated through my heart as the greeters welcomed me with a smile, and right beside them, the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart, “Welcome home, Philip.”
I have to admit, surrendering my life to Jesus was scary at first. God was asking me to give up everything, to exchange my broken identity for a new identity in Him. This only made sense when I began mourning the loss of my former life. A part of me had died. I had to surrender over to Jesus 15 years of memories and friends, and as with any loss or death, I grieved. Yet, like any loving father, the Lord was by my side. His promise in Psalm 34:18 carried me through those difficult weeks. “The LORD is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Being gay was all I knew; it was comfortable. I knew my whole life was about to change. But the Lord gently took me by the hand and walked me through the process. At First Baptist, He gave me a community of believers who loved me to wholeness. Staying connected with other believers has been crucial to my success in living a victorious life in Christ.
I continue to find support through my life group and the creative arts department at church, as well as through Exchange Ministries and Big Fish Ministries. Both organizations provide support for individuals struggling with same-sex attraction, as well as support for their families. I also have a wonderful mentor who personally understands my struggle and constantly points me to Jesus.
This community of believers has helped me realize I’m not the only Christian in the world who struggles with the concept of identity. Some people turn to money, success in athletics or their career, or the praise of man to find their identities. Some turn to drugs and alcohol. Others, like I once did, turn to unhealthy sexual relationships. Unlike many of these things, though, homosexuality is a taboo subject in Christian circles, so many people fail to get the love and support they need to live a victorious life in Christ.
I pray my story will encourage the body of Christ to come alongside those who are seeking relational and sexual wholeness in alignment with God’s Word. They need Christ’s love, not judgment, so they can find their new life and identity in Christ Jesus.
My story has already affected at least one person in my life—my dad. As he watched my life change, the Holy Spirit used my story to bring my dad back to the Lord. Dad rededicated his life to Jesus last year and is now on the same journey. After 27 years of living as a homosexual, he has surrendered his life to Christ. Now tell me that isn’t awesome. Glory to God! The Lord has redeemed our relationship and brought everything back full circle. To think how Dad led me to the Lord when I was six, and now God has used my story to lead him back to the arms of Jesus—it is nothing but a miracle.
People often ask me, “So does this mean you’re straight now?” I respond that my true identity is found in God, not my sexuality. I live as a child of God, knowing that l am loved. Accepted. Enough. And chosen by Him to be a witness to this world.
Today, my focus is on holy living and pleasing God, not myself. It’s a daily surrender of my will to His, but God gives me His strength to walk in obedience to His will for my life. I’ve learned to recognize my triggers, and I try to avoid them. And when I am tempted, I look for the “way out” the Lord promises to provide in 1 Corinthians 10:13. Since choosing God, my temptations are less frequent.
Maybe you’ve wandered from the truth of who you are in Christ. Maybe you’ve forfeited the identity He gave you. It’s not too late to come home to Him. You’re not so far that He won’t come find you. He loves you. Isaiah 53:6 says, “We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And GOD has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on [Jesus]” (MSG).
God knows what you’ve done. He knows who you are. But still, He reaches out His hand of hope to you. Grab it. Come home today and discover the peace, freedom, and love you’ve always longed for. It’s available to all who believe and call on His name (Romans 10:13).
PHILIP LATISLAW shares his story of freedom and encourages others to share theirs. To learn more about the same-sex support groups that helped Philip, visit ExchangaMinistries.org, 31gFishrtnistry.org, and HopeforWholeness.org.
Alessio, ex-gay through Jesus Christ
I was born in a traditionally catholic family. I came out at the age of 17. Despite acceptance from my peers and family, I was still depressed and wanted to die.
I prayed to God to take my life and even attempted to kill myself. Back then he didn’t realize that it was because he was living in sin and the enemy wanted to kill him. I first learned about the Gospel when I attended my friend’s funeral. I heard the message of Jesus about eternal life for the very first time and I was intrigued. I began wanting to know more about Jesus. I then became a Christian but retained my homosexual life style.
I read the Bible and prayed regularly but I still haven’t completely given my life to Jesus, that is my every part of my entire being and existence. I wanted to go to a church that would tell me that I was born gay and God is pleased with homosexuality. So, I learned pro-gay theology and follow it. I went to pro-gay churches and even advocate pro-gay theology to people. But after the break up with the man whom I thought to be the man of my life, I began to hate him and other people; every day I woke up with the desire to die and I prayed for it. I behaved immorally day watching porns on the internet, all kinds of porn. However I knew the name of Jesus, but not the power contained in the name, through the Holy Spirit. God’s word says (John 4:15-18): ” “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
I hadn’t made this promise mine yet, I still wanted to be an orphan and it’s really difficult to be without a father. I couldn’t even understand that it was my own doing, the fact that I identified as gay and not as His son, that brought depression, sadness, and suicidal thoughts to my life. But God is good and through His Son Jesus, who is God Himself, who became flesh to save us from sin and death and to give us an example of a man of God, everything is possible. Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27)
God began to convict me about homosexuality until one day I just couldn’t deny the reality that homosexuality is definitely a sexual sin that I needed to let go. After four years of being a “gay Christian”, I repented and embraced the true teachings of Christ. I have then since been walking faithfully in the identity that God has given me: a child of the Most High. I no longer identify as a gay Christian but simply a Christian. God has used ex-gays and their testimony to bring me to the truth about this particular issue.
Have you ever heard of a transformed life because of science, false religions that teach good deeds and efforts to appease God who is holy and perfect, rituals, violence, and dietary regulation? Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) and only making Him the center of our life we can be healed from all addiction. Not only God has lifted homosexual desires from me but He has also made me fall in love with Him and He has shown me why I had these desires. It was because of some problems I had growing up, my relationship with my parents and friends.
Jesus is not just a hobby, or a Monday morning, or just an hour per day. He wants to be the center, the life, your life, my life, so that we become His children today, so that the Holy Spirit abides in us (1 Corinthians 6:19).
By Ricky Chelette, Executive Director Living Hope Ministries
At the age of 18, graduating near the top of my class and giving the commencement address at my graduation, I was more miserable than I had ever been in my life! From all outward appearances I was on top of the world. I was a “good boy,” earned great scholarships, didn’t cuss, smoke or drink, was student council president and teenager of the year, but internally my world was a nightmare.
My childhood was fraught with secrets and confusion. Despite my outward success, I was inwardly a frightened boy desperately crying for someone to affirm me. I felt other-than from almost everyone around me, and my years of sexual childhood abuse had produced in me a seemingly uncontrollable desire for the affections of other men. The abuse started when I was young, and at first, I didn’t know it was really wrong for it was simply “normal” for me. It happened almost weekly for over a decade and I adored my abuser. He was deeply invested in me, said he loved me, and knew exactly what buttons to push to manipulate my emotions and garner my cooperation.
At 18, with an overwhelming sense that what I had been doing was wrong and what I was feeling was not what I wanted to be feeling, I tried to kill myself. I wanted all the pain to end and for someone to finally see that I was hurting beneath the charade of my accomplished life. But no one really noticed, except one.
In my room late one night after a failed attempt at overdosing on drugs several weeks prior, I grabbed a pistol and put in my mouth to blow out the back of my head. I had decided it would be quick, painless, and final. What I didn’t expect was that as I was about to pull the trigger the words of a Baptist minister rang in the depths of my heart. It was words about this truth called the Gospel and this man called Jesus who could transform hearts and lives. When I first heard it, I was at my friend’s church enduring the preaching so I could practice with him to sing at his piano recital. I had no interest in this Gospel or this Jesus. I was the “good kid.” I was already far better behaved than the “Christians” I knew. But in this moment, my behavior was not what rang true in my heart. As I contemplated the words of the preacher about this Jesus who died on a cross for my sins and who wanted to give me a new heart and a new beginning, it seemed like the only option in the world. I pulled the gun out of my mouth, and cried out into the darkness, “I don’t know if you are real, or if you are there, or if you did what they said you did on the cross to take away my sins, but if you are, if you don’t do something in me right now, I’m going to pull this trigger and blow my brains out.”
In that moment the Jesus I so doubted accomplished the work He had died to show me. In that moment, something changed in me that completely transformed my life and thinking to this day. In that moment, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, His
death, burial and resurrection on behalf of evil, broken people like me, became a reality. In that moment change happened in ways I could never could have imagined.
When I stood that evening, I still had the same family, the same abuser who would again and again try to do things with me, I had the same strained relationships and feelings of other-thanness, but I knew I had a heavenly Father who would never
leave me or forsake me and someone who promised to be a father to the fatherless.
That event, some 30+ years ago now, began the change process in my life. As I have been serving the Lord now for 30+ years, I have seen that same process, though with different details, people, and circumstances, change the lives of countless people. A
few years after meeting Jesus, I met a woman who has been my wife for 30 years this past December. I now lead Living Hope Ministries (livehope.org), a non-profit that proclaims God’s truth as we journey with those seeking sexual and relational
wholeness through a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. God can do the impossible.
I am convinced, not that change is possible, but that change is required for everyone who truly meets Jesus and understands who He is and what He has done for us.
Now don’t get me wrong. I still struggle with sin of all kinds and I still, on occasion, can be haunted by the sins of my childhood and those longings for others that ought not be. But I don’t embrace those feelings and I don’t allow those feelings to define
my life. I now know that I am a man, a real man, gifted and blessed by God for His service. I may not like all the things that other men do, nor even do the things that other men do, but that has nothing to do with whose I am. I am His. I have been bought with a price.
I now delight in sharing that the message of the Gospel transforms people – all people, every people, any people – who will believe its truth and embrace its progenitor – Jesus Christ. I may not understand the origins of every person’s sin or brokenness, but I do know that no matter the malady, the solution is always the same – the Gospel. It is the truth that has changed the world. It is the truth that transformed the life of Paul from a murder of Christians to a great champion of the
faith and a martyr for Christ. It is the truth that continues to set the sinner free, and it is the thing that has changed the hearts and lives of people for centuries into amazing vessels of love, grace, mercy, compassion and forgiveness.
Honestly, I don’t argue about change anymore, I just tell people to look around. Everything is changing and will continue to change. I want you to meet Jesus and encounter the Gospel because when you do, you will change — guaranteed!
I grew up going to various churches, so I know what it is to discover I was homosexual in a church environment. The internal conflict about what I believed and how others would judge me was overwhelming. In the end, my desire to be with another woman won and I left the church.
Having tossed my faith in, I now totally embraced life as a lesbian. My first relationship was so compelling and obsessive that I thought I had found my soulmate. Never had I experienced such an all-consuming connection with anyone. It overrode any intent I had to live as person of faith, even though, I had enough evidence to believe that God existed and that the Bible was his Word. Now I had the confusion of trying to understand what I saw as divine cruelty in creating me lesbian and yet condemning me to rejection.
When my ‘soul mate’ left me for someone else, I was crushed. However, now I had no doubt that I was homosexual. I had a repulsion toward men and had found where I fit amongst my lesbian friends. I now lived with the hope of finding my ‘miss right’. However, after several relationships, some longer term than others, I had come to a point where I didn’t dare to love as it led to too much pain. I had lost all illusions that I was going to find life with a woman, but now I believed that I was truly trapped by my orientation.
I felt that there had been some biological mix up and I was really a male soul in a woman’s body. I would have certainly had physical reassignment, except that I was far more afraid of my mother’s reactions, than I was of God. God did not seem fearsome to me, but rather remote, like my philosophical father. If I had been young today, I would no doubt have been identified at a young age and encouraged into that process. I am so grateful that in my years, this was not even hinted at.
At the age of twenty-eight I had reached a stalemate. I was so ingrained in the belief that I had been ‘born that way and couldn’t change’ that I was contemplating suicide. The future alone and aging as a lesbian and now an alcoholic, looked bleak to me.
During my time living in the hope of finding my female partner, I was using drugs, drinking and this resulted in my having anxiety and physically experiencing shakes. I went to a psychologist who in asking about my origins discovered that I had been Christian in my younger years. She quickly decided that this was my problem. That I needed to embrace my sexual identity as I was ‘swimming against the flow.’ I was perplexed about this as I had no issue with being lesbian at the time and was out and proud. She never once asked me about my drinking habits!
Because I had been fully indoctrinated by popular cultural messages, I did not believe that I could change. However, a dim flicker of light remained, urging me to consider that perhaps I could find the God I had turned from. I asked him if he could somehow show me if this might be possible. If God really did exist and if he reached out to me, then I was ready to toss all hope for finding any good human love relationship. I hadn’t succeeded in this area very well at all. I would be content to be single and sort my life out with God alone.
If God was willing, then I would leave every premise I had and simply follow him, trusting that he is good and that he could redefine me anyway he wanted. If God did not answer, then the only logical action for me was to end it all. If gay rhetoric was absolute, then I was trapped and the belief that I couldn’t change held me in despair.
However, God did reach out to me in a rather amazing way, answering my one last desperate prayer by sending someone on that evening to talk with me and help me back to a life of faith. He was a gentle loving Christian that I had known years before. I was able to talk to him about all the underlying pain, as well as admitting my own wrongs and many of these issues were not about my homosexuality but were more about many other underlying issues.
I had no reparative therapy. No one counseled me. I simply walked away from the life I had been leading and sought my help from God. Going back to church became a new magnificently life-breathing and fresh new start. I did not come back to God to become ‘straight’. I came back to follow Jesus. I wanted to be directed or changed by the Bible and by what I sensed God wanted from me, rather than any other opinion. I had lost my faith in cultural messages that had led me to the brink of despair.
I began to learn how to be the woman that God had created. He had not made a mistake with my gender, and he could show me how to be the person he had intended me to be. Later, I married, but this certainly was not my aim and I was as astonished as anyone that I could have come to such a decision.
The greatest help for me was reconstructing why I was as I was. There were many factors in my developing childhood. As I looked back, I could see that my affections had been for women from as early as I could remember. This was one of the self assessments that made me believe that I must surely have been, ‘born that way’. I now do not believe that and can see clearly how my orientation was formed from the earliest years, becoming active in adulthood. If I had been able to go to a counsellor, this would have been an easier journey and it makes me sad to think that others will be denied any hope of help.
I had to come to terms with my mother’s damaged personality and as an adult I was able to see her illness for what it had been. Forgiveness for her verbal and emotional abuse came slowly. My father had coped with the family dramas by simply not being around. I had barely any relationship with my remote father and certainly no endorsement from him of who I was as a female.
I am not saying that this is the pattern for everyone, as everyone has a different journey and there is no one pattern. But I could now understand and unravel my own story. At twenty-eight, I finally realised that no human can complete us. Now, I no longer wanted to identify my life around my sexuality. My plan was to live celibate and be a follower of Jesus, doing whatever he gave me to do. However, God’s plan for me included marriage and now decades long, faithful, union.
Some of my gay friends led short lives and this is very sad, as I knew those who self destructed were not ones that felt unaccepted by society, but were those who like me, wanted ‘out of out’. Unfortunately, because it is considered bad to let people self-identify, these friends never knew that perhaps there was hope of a different life for them too.
I feel it is harmful and unloving to not give people the right to make their own choices, find help, and hope in a God who is able to change anyone. Forcing people to have only one option, to accept their homosexuality hurts the many that are like me as we are now seen as the enemy, even by some churches. Silencing post-gay voices will be a sad day as it denies freedom from what human feelings may dictate and freedom to be who God intended, within his design and will.
Linda. And So Were Some Of You.
From my earliest memory I wanted to be a boy instead of a girl. Somehow I just knew that if I had male genitalia, my life would be complete. I prayed repeatedly for God to make me into a boy and became obsessed with my pursuit. I was a tomboy in every sense of the word and was often mistaken for a boy, which always made my day.
In the fourth grade, I learned about sex reassignment surgeries and vowed I would have the operation as soon as I was old enough and had the money. About the same time, I was exposed to pornography, which developed into sexual addictions that would span the next twenty-plus years.
In junior high, when all the other girls were interested in makeup and boys, I was lamenting that my voice wasn’t changing or my body developing into a man. And then, to my surprise, I found myself attracted to women—especially older teachers who were strong yet nurturing. I desperately wanted to be held and comforted by a woman, which then developed into sexual fantasies. I was horrified by my attractions, but I dared not tell anyone.
Around seventh grade, I started to consider the logistical difficulties of having sex reassignment surgery. Where would I get the money? How would I tell my family? You can’t just be Linda one day and David the next. I considered running away to have the surgery without ever telling my family, but I loved my family, and I knew that would devastate them. I made a conscious decision at that point to try and conform to society’s expectation of me to look more like a girl in order to fit in. But inside, I still longed deeply to be a man, and the attractions to women became increasingly difficult to resist.
I became a Christian during my junior year in high school, but within days, I began doubting my salvation experience because my struggles didn’t go away like I thought they would. I tried to conform and even wore dresses on special occasions, but inside it always felt like I was wearing a costume, like dressing in drag.
In college, I got involved with a campus ministry and developed a deeper relationship with God, praying and reading my Bible regularly, even sharing Christ with the lost. I eventually became a student leader despite the fact that I still longed to be a man, was deeply attracted to every woman who mentored me, and was enslaved to sexual addictions behind closed doors. I prayed privately for God to please take my transgender desires and same-sex attractions away, hoping no one would ever know.
My senior year in college, I heard a sermon about overcoming habitual sin. The speaker quoted James 5:16, “Confess your sins one to another and pray for each other so that you may be healed,” stressing how important it is to get sin in the light in order to be free. I was deeply convicted and knew I had to confess my secret to my campus pastor if I was ever to experience freedom.
It took all the courage in the world to finally tell my campus pastor my lifelong secret. In fact, I seriously considered suicide as a way out but did not follow through. I expected my pastor to react with shock, horror, or condemnation because I was a leader in the ministry living a double life. But instead, he responded in love, assuring me that he was committed to finding me the help I needed. I walked away from that conversation with a fresh revelation of God’s grace. I had always felt God hated me and condemned me for my sin. My campus pastor’s reaction was a living illustration of the Father’s heart toward me. For the first time, I discovered that being completely transparent with another person was very healing. That day in 1994 was my first step in what would be an eleven-year journey towards freedom.
The next decade was full of ups and downs as I sought freedom. I read every book I could find on homosexuality, listened to tapes, attended conferences, and met with multiple counselors. It was a slow process, as there were not a multitude of resources at that time to help women struggling with transgender issues. In fact, well-meaning Christian counselors told me they had seen homosexuals and lesbians set free but never anyone transgender, so I should do my best to cope in this life and know that I will be totally free in heaven. Despite their discouragement, the Lord gave me assurance He would set me free and that the transgender issues would be a thing of the past. Nevertheless, I thirsted so deeply for maternal nurture, I seemed to get worse before I got better, falling into sexual immorality with another woman from my church. I eventually repented and broke off that relationship, realizing my fantasy of being a man who slept with women would never fill the deep void in my soul. By God’s grace, I resolved to tug at the hem of His garment and not let go until I experienced the freedom Jesus died to give me.
As I continued to pursue freedom, the Lord put a spiritual mother in my life who was only a few years older than I but spiritually more mature. I was deeply attracted to her, yet she wasn’t phased by my struggles and began to invest in me relationally in a wholesome way. I found myself wanting to be just like her (much like a daughter might want to emulate her mother), so she helped me buy more feminine clothes and gave me advice concerning makeup and mannerisms. My outward appearance began to change, but inwardly, I still believed the lie that it was better to be a man, and I was still battling attractions to women.
In the fall of 2005, the Lord led me to a prayer counselor experienced in helping those dealing with sexual issues. Over the course of a week, we spent hours praying through a lifetime of deep emotional wounds from my childhood that fueled the lie that it’s better to be a man than a woman. I forgave those who hurt me, let go of bitterness, renounced inner vows, and repented for my wrong responses toward those who had wounded me. I embraced the cross, and we closed every door I had opened to give the enemy legal ground to influence my life. During that week, I saw a tender, compassionate side to the Father that I wasn’t aware existed. It’s as if I could literally feel His hands holding my heart. My lifelong yearning to be held and comforted by a woman was finally met in the tender arms of my heavenly Father.
After that powerful encounter with God, I had a newfound contentment in being a woman and was set free from my sexual addictions, which were essentially a counterfeit to the comfort I could only find in my Father’s arms. I found that I was no longer attracted to women, as the emotional wounds in my heart that drove those attractions were resolved. As I continued to walk out my healing in subsequent years, I eventually started experiencing sexual attractions toward men. It was as if I was going through delayed emotional puberty in my mid-thirties, which was both awkward and thrilling at the same time! God had transformed me from the inside out and accomplished the impossible. I still feel like I’m living a dream.
Though I wanted to share my testimony in 2005, the Lord had me wait. I see His sovereignty in that now, as I needed time for my healing to be tested and to prepare me for the warfare that lay ahead. I kept silent for eight years until the Lord gave me the green light to go public upon my eighth-year anniversary of freedom, a “new beginning” of sorts. Now, I am finally coming out of the closet in a redemptive way, sharing my story with others to bring hope and restoration during this crucial hour. The eleven-year journey towards freedom was totally worth it. The length of the journey itself has given me empathy for those who are currently struggling to break free from similar issues and sometimes feel hopeless. Healing from sexual brokenness is rarely instantaneous—it’s more like peeling back layers of an onion one at a time—but if we will hold fast to the truth of God’s Word, lean on His body, and determine never to give up, we will experience the freedom that Jesus died to give us. God promised: such were some of you (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
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