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March 21st, 2019

We Can Rise

There is a renewed effort to ban the practice of ex-gay therapy on kids. Adults it seems, will just have to take their own risks with this brutal quackery. But at least the movement to keep it away from kids has some momentum. In large measure, this is why…

Meet the Conversion Therapists Who Turned Against Conversion Therapy

Some of the most powerful voices against conversion therapy are those of ex-conversion therapists, who have now come out as LGBT and formed their own support group.

One of them, Michael Bussee, co-founder of Exodus International, had this to say about his road to Damascus moment after leaving Exodus because he had fallen in love with another Exodus member…

At first, he wanted to heal in private: Bussee himself is gay, and had left to be in a relationship with Gary Cooper, a man who also belonged to the Christian-based organization known as Exodus International. Together, they tried to forget about Exodus, which went on to become one of the most influential conversion therapy organizations in the world until its 2013 closure.

But at some point in the 1980s, Bussee finally came to terms with what Exodus had done—and it nearly destroyed him.

“When the full extent of what Exodus had done to people hit me, I must have sobbed for days,” he told The Daily Beast. “It was just gut-wrenching. The guilt was overwhelming, crushing guilt. I thought, ‘How am I ever going to deal with this guilt?’”

Many have been deeply wounded by groups like Exodus and others of their kind. And not just the ones who submitted themselves to it, or were thrown into it like so much human garbage, but also the many who were simply collateral damage in the right wing culture war against the hated Other. Those of us who might have found love but for the brutalization of so many, and the lies told about us.  

I cannot forgive them for what they did to others, that is not my prerogative. But if you ever wondered what integrity is you are looking at it here. It isn’t the apology that costs you little or nothing. It is the acceptance of guilt, and a willingness to make amends even though many of those you have wronged will probably never forgive you. Because you had your road to Damascus moment and now you know, and now you must go on knowing, and so you must set things right. Because there is no other way. These men will probably have to walk through fire for the rest of their lives, but they want to put as much of it right as they can. I cannot help but admire them for it.

Because it is the ones among us who can admit they were wrong, and own the damage they caused, despite the costs to themselves, and do their best to make things right again, that are civilization’s final hope. Think of everything you have seen and heard in the last two years…all the cheating, all the excuses, the lies, the abject moral squalor, coming from the highest offices in the land. Some days it seems like the human gutter has overflowed and we are drowning in its depravities. Still, despite everything, there is a nobility to the human spirit, rough-hewn though it may be. We can rise from the fallen state. We can turn this around. 

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