Justin Lee, founder of the Gay Christian Network, said Tuesday he was convinced that so-called ex-gay or reparative therapy didn’t work and was often harmful.
Lee was ostracized from his church when he admitted he was gay. After his attempts to transform himself into a heterosexual man failed, he later created the Gay Christian Network to support LGBT Christians worldwide.
“All my friend said to me, ‘Just don’t be gay,’” Lee explained on Current TV. “There is an episode of South Park where Stan tries to turn his dog straight, and he says, ‘Don’t be gay, don’t be gay.’ That is kind of what it felt like. And there were all kinds of things. I had a friend — very, very well-meaning — who brought me a stack of Playboy [magazines] and said, ‘Take some time and look through these and this is going to bring out your natural instincts.’ My natural instincts were being attracted to guys.”
Current TV host Joy Behar noted that the Southern Poverty Law Center had filed a lawsuit against Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH), a group that claimed to be able to convert gay Orthodox Jews to heterosexual men. The lawsuit alleges that JONAH violated New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act.
“It that situation and a number of other situations there has been actual sexual abuse in some of these groups,” Lee said. “More than anything I think it becomes a place of real abuse, spiritual abuse and sometimes sexual abuse and emotional abuse. You wind up with folks just absolutely hating themselves.”
Earlier this year, California became the first state to prohibit therapists from attempting to change the sexual orientation of minors. Adults can still undergo ex-gay therapy in the state, but must first sign a consent form that warns of possible psychological harm.
Watch video, courtesy of Current TV, below: