STORIES OF HELP. Real people who have come out of living the LGBT Life. They have had professional counselling, emotional support from friends and family and if wanted, prayer. These are what governments are wanting to outlaw, calling them conversion therapy.

This first 10 minute video has short grabs of four longer interviews to give a quick overview of the four people who share their stories about coming out of their LGBT lives. Some talk about the part counseling “conversion therapy” played in helping them.

They also talk about hurts inflicted on them by secular counsellors wanting to impose their beliefs, trying to affirm the gay orientations.

The four full interviews can be listened to here.

Read or Listen to Others Who Share their Stories.

 

Andrew P.

I was 24 years old, when I reached out to my local church which I was attending, for help with depression and same sex attraction. I didn’t want to have this attraction to the same sex. I had friends who were gay and lesbian. I had no issues with them, but for myself, I didn’t want it. It didn’t go with my core believes, and I wanted to have a wife and children in the future. So on my journey I got help through counseling and prayer at different churches and ministries. These were located throughout Melbourne Victoria. Not once was I ever pushed or made to feel bad by these churches or ministries. They were so accepting of LGBT people, and so loving and nice, at times I wasn’t sure if they were actually going to help me change. I was always shown love and freedom to do what ever I wanted regarding my same sex attraction.

These experiences, through counseling and prayer with churches and ministries, helped my depression disappear and took away my anxiety. In time my same sex attraction also disappeared. As I write this at the age of 35, I am happily married with two children and only want to be with my wife. I don’t regret getting married and never fantasize about being with the same sex. I love my life and know that it is because of these ministries and churches, along with God, that have changed me. These types of therapies are so loving and helpful. I cannot understand why there is a movement to ban them.

 

Ruth E.

It’s essential that we same-sex attracted people in distress or pain can find the kind of help we relate to. I searched for a Christian ministry to help me cope with my same-sex attraction, because the secular organisations ignored or conflicted with the faith aspect, so I couldn’t be fully open with them. Fortunately, I found a Christian ministry dealing with relational brokenness, without trying to promise or force anything. Their care saved my life, greatly eased my confusion and distress, gave me understanding friends to talk to, restored my mental health in the next two years, and we remain in contact, over 5 years later. Please keep others like me from taking the worst way out.

 

Steve W.

I first “came out” as a gay man in my early 20s and although I didn’t want to act out my homosexual inclinations, I nevertheless felt at peace with that part of who I was. Very soon after, I came to a resolve and chose to live a life of celibacy and service to God in Christian ministry. It was not long after that I met a Christian girl who stirred heterosexual attractions in me, I had never felt before (up until that point I had always identified as exclusively homosexual in orientation)

The support I sought from one of my local churches to help make sense of all this was instrumental in setting my sexual orientation on a completely new trajectory. I want to stress that at no time, in those early days, nor during more formal counselling processes in later years, did any treatment modalities constitute as so called ‘Reparative Therapy’. Gay to straight was never the goal. In my experience there was never any coercion, dodgy ‘reparative’ practices or suggestions that I should try the ‘fake-it-till-you-make-it’ approach. Quite the opposite, I was met with much unconditional love and support and encouragement to simply surrender my life into God’s hands (which I had already done) and to entrust my sexuality to Him. I am now in my late 40s and have come to learn there are rarely quick fixes in these situations, but I can honestly say I feel more content in the loving relationship and sexual intimacy with my wife than ever before. I have since come to learn that there were many contributing factors to my original sexual orientation, which I have had opportunity to process and move beyond, opportunities that might have evaded me, had I been denied the kind of support that was made available to me throughout those years.

I have met with other men and women with a similar testimony, some of whom have become good friends, as well as those who have not felt attracted to the opposite sex, but chosen celibacy as I once had, and still others who have chosen to embrace their homosexual orientation and do their best to try and reconcile this with their Christian faith – I love them all, despite our differences in belief. I have also attended gatherings of sexual redemption ministries from around the nation and can say with sincerity, that nothing I’ve seen or heard has ever had any resemblance to the stereotypical ‘Reparative Therapy’ rhetoric that is said to be practiced by such groups. Again, quite the opposite in fact, there is much emphasis on distancing themselves from such practices.

Up until now, I have not made a song and dance about my own experience, but have become increasingly perplexed by the ignorant push of some idealistic minority groups to shut down sexual redemption ministries from people receiving support, which really is a violation of their right to self-determination! In the same way support should be made available to those who want to come to terms with their same-sex orientation, support should continue to be made available for those who would prefer to pursue alternative options. So, I feel compelled to “come out” again, no longer as an exclusively gay man. If people don’t believe in God or the teachings of the Bible, they have the right to choose a different path, but please don’t deny other people who wish to adhere to their faith the opportunity to experience something similar to me if they want to.

 

Andy W.

Please don’t ban what you’re calling “Conversion Therapy.” You’re claiming it is harmful and can cause people to be suicidal, but I’ve found the OPPOSITE. I was desperate and suicidal before counselling, and I’m calm and happy now. The counselling (or “Conversion Therapy”) looked at why I found certain men attractive and why I looked at certain gay porn, but then addressed my self-perception of my masculinity which came about from several childhood traumas. The counselling addressed these traumas in line with my faith values (and against LGBTQI+ values) and I now have no internal conflict, no desire for self-harm, I feel secure, confident and calm. I directly attribute these positive feelings with the counselling that others would label as “conversion therapy”. Please don’t ban this type of counselling.

 

Emma T.

I am a Christian but have also experienced same sex attraction and was involved in a same sex relationship on and off for 4 years in my early 20s. As a Christian, I was aware of the Bible’s teaching on sexuality and relationships and wanted to live a life that honoured God. I found out about a Christian support group in the South of Sydney where I could meet with other Christian men and women experiencing same-sex attraction but choosing to live life God’s way. This support group was lifesaving for me. I was able to talk to others in a similar situation where I wasn’t being judged and was supported in my chosen path. I grew a lot in my understanding of God’s love for me and my value and worth to him. Before getting this support, I had felt isolated, depressed and hopeless, but after attending this group I was supported and encouraged. I attended the support group as I found it so helpful and life-giving. I then went on to co-lead this group and another group too as I wanted to support and give hope to others like I had experienced myself.

I understand that laws are being discussed in Victoria which may prevent support like this from being legal in future. Please don’t stop support groups like this from being able to continue. People have the right to autonomy and choosing the path that is right for them. Please consider my story and people’s right to make faith-based choices regarding how they live. We need support too.

 

Pete N.

I was deeply disturbed to hear of this bill being put before parliament to try and ban people from seeking help out of a Homosexual or Lesbian lifestyle. I understand some people had horrible experiences many years ago with what some people call “conversion therapy”. And my heart goes out to those people. My Church experiences were nothing like some of the stories that seem to be making the headlines. I speak as someone who was a member of 4 different Christian denominations over a 30 year period. And I also left the Church for 14 years to live a homosexual lifestyle. And this is my story.

In my mid 30’s I left the Church to explore the homosexual scene and see if it would fulfill me. Initially, I got mesmerised by all the clubs and the bright lights and the parties. Combined with all the attention you receive being the “new guy” in the club. I spent 14 years in that lifestyle and met the most amazing guy during that time. We were together for over 6 years. I still love him dearly as a friend. His family were the most amazing people as well. They embraced me and included me in everything they did. I could not fault them. But even though I had this amazing partner that treated me like a king, I would wake up in the middle of the night with tears in my eyes. The lifestyle I thought was going to bring me happiness, brought me deeper and deeper into depression because it couldn’t give me that inner peace that only comes from knowing God. That is something that is impossible to explain to someone that has never been a Christian and had a DEEP relationship with God.

After 10 years I started looking for a way out. I eventually came across Renew and connected with some of the leaders. They met me for coffee. Offered me hope and to let me know that many people had walked out of that lifestyle and found the peace I was looking for. At no point did these people ever try and use force or pressure me to change my lifestyle. It was the same with all four Churches I attended over the years. No leader or person ever rejected me because I was struggling with homosexuality. They reached out to me in love as best they could and offered me help by praying me through the dark times in my life. They shared what the bible had to say about the topic of homosexuality and presented the pro’s and cons of each decision. But it was up to me as to whether I received that message or rejected it. I can only praise all the different people and leaders from the Churches I was a part of over the years. And in particular RENEW for standing by my side while I took another 5 years before I decided to leave the lifestyle. Not once did they coerce or pressure me to leave that lifestyle. There were many times they were there as a shoulder to cry on. Someone I could offload to who knew what I was struggling with and could relate to it. I honor those who stood by me during that season of my life. While they put up with much persecution from the LGBTIQ community.

What right does a group of people have to try and BAN me from seeking help out of that lifestyle through the avenue I chose to go. Whether it be through the Church or some other organization. I have just as much right to LEAVE that lifestyle anytime I want, as they have to live it if they choose. But no one has the right to force their view point on the other.

Today I am 2 years out of that lifestyle and my life is becoming everything I hoped it would. I have that peace back which no man can take away. I count myself blessed to have such a loving Church family of many different people that stood by me and supported me on my journey.

If people want to live the homosexual lifestyle, then they should be entitled to do that. By the same token, if people want to leave that lifestyle, they should be allowed to seek help by whatever means they choose.

 

 

Lyn B.

I first approached a Christian ministry in 1994 to find help with my unwanted same sex attraction. I did not want to be same sex attracted because it is not congruent with my Christian faith and because it is not my true identity but caused through early traumatic life experiences. Through this ministry I received the help I needed to begin to overcome my attraction and find inner healing. It took a few years but with the help of this ministry and other Christian ministries, pastors and Christian friends I have been able to overcome and am now free of same sex attraction. I am very concerned that this same help may not be available in the future for others who seek it. Clearly through my experience and the experience of many others overcoming same sex attraction is possible with the right support. Please don’t deny people the right to this help and their opportunity to live in accordance with their faith and their true God given identity. Please don’t leave them alone to suffer this conflict.

 

Dani ézard.

I am writing to you in order to share my testimony about positive experiences with conversion practices, and my concerns for religious freedom in the proposed conversion practices ban in Victoria. I prefer not to be anonymous.

I am an Australian woman with same-gender attraction who is concerned for the protection of religious freedom in the proposed ban on conversion practices in Victoria. I have benefited from what the Health Complaint Commissioner (HCC) defines as “conversion practices”. My experience of this has been assistance from Christian lay counsellors “including efforts to eliminate sexual and/or romantic attractions” I have towards other women, and assistance in reforming my understanding of sexuality to conform to traditional Christian morality. I have sought out this counselling/mentoring in the Northern Territory where I grew up, and from a mentor in Victoria. I have experienced decreased depression, greater clarity of thought, more healthy friendships, and better civic contribution through “conversion practices”, which in my experience are more accurately called Christian lay counselling or mentoring. I am concerned that the proposed ban protects not only those who have had harmful experiences of conversion practices, but also people like myself who have benefited from Christian mentoring which fits the HCC definition of conversion practices. I strongly believe the impact of a ban of conversion practices on the right to freedom of religion IS NOT justified.”

 

John D.

I found that the ministry, ‘Living Waters’ was incredibly helpful as it provided a safe and honest space to speak about my gender feelings and sexual identity within the context of my held faith. This ministry and some specific counselling on abuse has been incredibly helpful in my integrating as an adult and reconciling my faith with my sexual attractions.

 

Robson T.

In the mid-eighties I was hospitalized in a major Victorian teaching hospital with depression. When the treating doctors learned that since before puberty I would have preferred to be female rather than male I was diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder (GID) and recommended that I undergo sex re-assignment surgery (SRS) as the only way in which I would be able to resolve the issues and live a fulfilled life. {The depression was ignored and no longer addressed.}

In hospital I was exposed to a number of sessions with individual doctors and some with others present. It was now being offered SRS ‘on a plate’ – but I declined. The treating doctors immediately lost interest and discharged me from hospital.

Shortly after being discharged I became a Christian, having hitherto been hostile to Christianity. I enthusiastically embraced my new faith. Fellow Christians were largely wary, if not hostile to my past. However, I eventually came across a small group of believers who understood and supported my position. Gradually, as I continued to focus on my faith, the gender ambivalence decreased.

In the subsequent years I have met numerous individuals with similar experiences. Having moved forward in resolving their gender ambiguity with the personal support of like-minded individuals and small groups – not necessarily Christian. In those same years I have had the opportunity of meeting with highly qualified experienced doctors and scientists all of whom have emphasized that there is no quality science to support the ideology that gender ambiguity can only be resolved by surgery.

Today, now in my seventies, I observe with apprehension the government and ideological attempts to legitimize transgendered and similar behaviours and to legally silence such individuals and recovery groups. To outlaw such groups and individuals would be the equivalent, in my opinion, of legislation compelling members of Alcoholics Anonymous to meet in pubs and wine cellars.

 

Marie H.

I am writing this to share about the amazing support that I have received over the past 15 years or so in the area of my same-sex attraction. I had unwanted same-sex attraction as far back as I can remember (probably from around age 8 or 9 at least) and realised in high school that these were not feelings that most people experienced.

I became a Christian when I was almost 20 and because of my strong conviction that homosexuality was not part of God’s plan for my life I sought help to deal with the unwanted attractions and thoughts I experienced. I WANTED this help and am super thankful that I was able to find it as this was an extremely difficult time in my life. I felt lost and confused and had lots of questions. I had read books that explained that homosexuality is not something that you are born with, but rather something that generally develops through/because of a range of other factors in your life. I have found this to be true in my own life.

I was sexually abused when I was 8 or 9, I did not connect well with my mother and therefore was seeking affection from older women, and I had a father who was abusive and controlling and turned me off men. I went to a support group which I found incredibly helpful, to be able to discuss and navigate some of these issues with other people who had similar stories. I also sought one-on-one counselling, which I did on and off for many years. This too was extremely helpful and was often what I felt got me through some of my most difficult times. I have been able to speak to many people in churches who have supported me through their love, prayer and support.

I am a different person today. I have worked through many of these issues from my past and have found much healing. I have others who will stand by me in my religious convictions and continue to pray for me when I do have difficulties in this area. I still have same-sex attraction but it’s far less of an issue to me today than it was 15 years ago. It’s not nearly as consuming and is not how I define myself. I am a Christian first and foremost. I am now married and living a happy married life.

I don’t know how I would have survived without the support I received, from churches, individuals and organisations who served to support me in many ways over the years. There are many others like me who are seeking support today, and who will seek it in the future. There are many I know of in the gay lifestyle who are not happy and who would like a way out but don’t believe that it’s possible because it’s been rammed down our throats (by the LGBTQ+ media/agenda) that change is not possible and that people are born gay, therefore there is no way out and they should just ‘accept themselves’. If people choose to continue living this way, that is their choice. However, if people ‘choose’ to leave the LGBTQ lifestyle and want support to do so, that is also their (and my) choice.

We should not be prevented from seeking help just because others do not wish to have help. No support/’conversion therapy’ is forced on anyone. If people seek support and later change their minds, they can freely walk away. But do not remove the option for those of us who want and appreciate and need such support. If you illegalise such support, including prayer, counselling, etc, you will later hear of people who wanted support but couldn’t find it and took their lives, because they will remain trapped with their unwanted same sex attraction and believe that there is no way out.

We are supposedly a free country. So, I implore you, do not ban these ‘therapies’ which have been so incredibly helpful for me and many others I know. Let people have the freedom to choose to seek support if they wish. This support and love I have received has been one of the most precious gifts I have ever received. I pray that others will have the same opportunities that I have had.

 

Irene C.

My name is Irene and I am a same sex attracted Christian. I grew up in Western Sydney in the 80’s and had a troubled adolescence due to child sexual assault, physical abuse and drug and alcohol misuse to deal with the effects of this. The drugs and alcohol caused additional problems; a school suspension (after my school was thrown out of the Sydney Art Museum when I arrived blind drunk), gang rape (while intoxicated), kicked out of a caravan park (because of intoxication and my impact on other residents/visitors) There were also multiple similar incidents while under the influence of either drugs or alcohol that had an extremely negative effect on my life.

This changed for me at the age of 19 when I became a Christian. Following this I was assisted by my church and stopped using drugs and alcohol altogether. Once I was sober enough I was able to work through my history which I believe had negatively impacted me and led to confusion about my sexuality. My church, at the time, assisted me with counselling and finding helpful resources and ministries that could support me through my journey. This was very helpful, and I believe it saved my life.

After receiving this help I attended University as a mature age student and graduated, after 4 years, with a Degree in Social Work (first class honours) I do not believe it would have been possible to have achieved this without the support I received from my church and the various Christian ministries and resources that assisted me to make sense of my homosexual desires. The help I received assisted me to make an informed choice about the future that I wanted for myself and gave me the tools that I needed for self-determination.

I believe that people have a right to choose their own path and that freedom of speech and access to all the information is essential. At University we often compared contrasting opinions and theories, surely something as important and life-determining as one’s sexuality, should have that same opportunity. Don’t I, as a same sex attracted Christian, have the right to access whatever support and material I find helpful, even if it is in contrast to the popular view.