Beyond Ex-Gay describes itself as “an online community for those who have survived ex gay experiences” like ex-gay therapy or “sexual orientation change efforts.” They recently conducted a survey of 400 survivors of ex-gay therapy, who no longer participate in any conversion efforts.
Perhaps the saddest part of the survey were the responses to the question “[w]hat were the reasons (the motivations) you tried to follow an ex-gay path?” As you’ll see, the primary reasons for doing so were religious. The other reasons relate to societal pressures to fit in. All of this goes to show that a LGBT identity in itself doesn’t cause unhappiness. Homophobia does.
1. To Be a Better Christian
One participant was “was forced by my parents, counselor and church members to participate in ex-gay activities.” Another participant seemed to still believe that homosexuality is wrong and incompatible with Christianity: “Scripture is CLEAR that homosexuals and other kinds of unrighteous people will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Another said, “My pastor at the time implored me to deal with this. I had no desire to change my sexual orientation. This was upon his insistence.”
2. I Believed It Was What God Wanted Me to Do
One participant described a “fear of ruining God’s plan for my life.” Another participant wrote, “Mostly it was because I wanted to please God and I didn’t think being gay was an option.”
3. I Feared I Would Be Condemned By God
One participant wrote, “I was told to be gay was sinful.” Another was told they had “demons.”