2 Survivors of Christian ’Ex-Gay’ Therapy Tell Their Stories
"It was all particularly self-destructive," he says. "It took me a very long time to rebuild my life." It was not until 2010 that Kendall’s life turned around when he served as a witness in the federal trial of Proposition 8, a bill that sought to eliminate legal same-sex marriage in California.
During his testimony, Kendall shared his experiences in reparative therapy. Kendall says it was a that lawsuit in a federal courtroom across the country that finally saved his life.
"To testify in such a landmark civil rights case, I pretty much owe my life to that experience." Kendall says. "It’s because of [Prop 8] that I found confidence in myself and got my life and happiness back." Kendall is currently a junior at Columbia University, where he is studying political science. After graduating, he hopes to go to law school.
Today, Taylor, now 31, identifies as a gay Christian, but says the church’s unwelcoming view of homosexuality sometimes makes it hard for him to attend church services. "I like to think I am a tough guy and that no one’s going to chase me away from Jesus," Taylor says. "But the reality is that the church does a good job of making sure gay people know they aren’t accepted."
Both men condemn reparative therapy as harmful and unscientific. Kendall points to the movement’s seeming retrenchment in the face of near-universal condemnations from their psychological peers.
"Now they don’t talk about making gay people straight," Kendall says. "They talk about suppressing sexual attraction, but it’s all the same shtick. Suppressing who you are because society doesn’t want you to be that person, it’s damaging. There is nothing wrong with people being who they are."