In 2014, nine activists formerly involved with the "ex-gay" movement penned an open letter calling for a ban on so-called reparative or ex-gay therapy. Since they spoke out, more former conversionists stepped forward in denouncing the ineffective, unnecessary, and harmful practice; its use on minors has already been banned in four states and the District of Columbia. Following are just a few of the ex-ex gays leading the way. — Leslie Dobbins
Allen served as a lay leader volunteer and church network coordinator at Exodus International in the 2000s, and then became a pastor in Denver. He finally came out to his family in 2012 and is now a member of the Former Ex-Gay Leaders Alliance. His story was featured in a 2013 episode of the documentary series Our America With Lisa Ling focusing on the "ex-gay" movement.
Bogle founded Paraklete Ministries, where she was director and counselor from 1985 to 1992. She also as a representative of Exodus until 1990. She once said, "There were a lot of people in leadership positions who still felt that they were gay but could not admit it. We learned to lie." She lived with her partner, Des, until Des's death in 2005. Bogle is a member of FELA.
Bussee founded EXIT, Ex-Gay Intervention Team, in 1975; he once described it as being like Ghostbusters for gays. He cofounded Exodus in 1976. He and his lover, Gary Cooper, left Exodus in 1979 to start their relationship. They came out publicly against Exodus in 1991, and their story was featured in One Nation Under God, a 1993 documentary on the "ex-gay" movement. Cooper died before the film was released.
Rymel was raised in a devout Pentecostal family,and always had difficulty reconciling his homosexuality with his faith. He attempted suicide by 22 and then entered Love in Action's live-in program for Christian men struggling with same-sex attraction. He became outreach director, a position he held from 1991 to 1996. He married a woman in 1995, but they parted ways in 2001. He came out as gay in 2008, is a member of FELA, and is writing his third book, Ex-Gay: 25 Years Later.
Marks founded Courage UK in 1988 and was involved with Exodus Europe from 1988 to 1999. He was expelled from Exodus in 2000 after coming out and then converted Courage UK into a pro-gay evangelical movement. The organization disbanded in 2012 but he continues as a blogger and activist. He is also a member of FELA.
Yvette Cantu Schneider
Schneider spent 15 years working for antigay and ex-gay organizations, serving as a policy expert for the Family Research Council from 1998 to 2011, board member for Exodus International from 2008 to 2011, and as a consultant for the antigay Concerned Women for America. Schneider sat down with GLAAD last year to discuss why she finally distanced herself from the movement. She is now a member of FELA.
Prickett was founder of the "ex-gay" group Coming Back and its and executive director from 1986 to 1988, but is now a self-described gay person of faith. On his website he credits the deaths of two friends, one by suicide, the other due to AIDS complications, for making him "take a good hard look at his life and the ministry." It was through this that he realized the conversion process was not working. He is now a member of FELA.
Chapman served as project coordinator (2000-2003) and women's ministry director (2005-2007) for the Portland Fellowship, an Exodus International affiliate in Portland, Ore. She is now an active member of FELA, having signed its open letter urging a ban on "ex-gay" therapy.
Paulk was one half of the cover couple — along with his then-wife, Anne — for a 1998 Newsweek that profiled the field of "reparative" therapy. At the time he was a devout member of Exodus, serving on its board from 1998 to 2003. Paulk was also the founder-director of Love Won Out and the public relations director for the Portland Fellowship from 1996 to 1998. In 2013 he came out against the "ex-gay" movement and ended his marriage to Anne.
Toscano spent 17 years in "conversion" therapy before coming out in 1998. He once said that his experiences "felt like a biblically induced coma." In 2005 he was invited by the Queer Action Coalition to protest outside the Love in Action facility, where he once resided. In 2007 he and fellow activist Christine Bakke started Beyond Ex-Gay, an online support group for LGBT survivors of "reparative" therapy. Toscano, now a performance artist, is married to Glen Retief.
Bakke spent four years in the "ex-gay" movement before joining Toscano and others in founding Beyond Ex-Gay. She was profiled by Glamour in the 2007 article "They Tried to Cure Me of Being Gay."
Evans was cofounder of Love in Action, the first modern "ex-gay" ministry, in 1973, but left the movement after a friend's suicide. He later went on to speak against "conversion" therapy and was a member of Truth Wins Out, a group that battles the "ex-gay" movement and homophobic organizations. Evans died in January of this year.
Schizzel received "reparative" therapy through the Janet Boynes Ministries and Bachmann & Associates — the latter run by Marcus Bachmann, the husband of former Minnesota congresswoman Michelle Bachmann. After years in and out of "treatment," Schizzel came out in 2014 denouncing the practice. "To those who still promote reparative therapy or hope it could work for them or a family member, I hope they realize this path leads to a horrid dead end," he said.