The former vice president of the now-defunct "ex-gay" Christian ministry Exodus International has renounced his past work, apologized for the pain he caused, and announced his engagement to a man.
Randy Thomas recently gave a candid interview to Truth Wins Out, an organization fighting against misguided attempts to turn LGBTQ+ people straight or cisgender. Speaking from his home in Orlando, Thomas relayed how he was lured into the conversion therapy industry. Growing up in Nashville in the '80s, Thomas was exposed to constant homophobia, physically assaulted, and kicked out of his home upon coming out to his mother, who told him he was going to hell (they've since reconciled).
Thomas moved to Texas and fell into drinking and drugs, until he found a church that hosted an "ex-gay" ministry affiliated with Exodus International. Assuaged by the friendly community and seeming concern for his well-being, Thomas quickly became involved in the conversion therapy movement, rising up the ranks and lobbying far-right leaders like Rick Santorum, Karl Rove, Kellyanne Conway, and even former President George W. Bush against LGBTQ+ rights. In his video, Thomas said he believes current Vice President Mike Pence is still a proponent of conversion therapy.
Even as Thomas became a prominent and respected figure in the evangelical sphere, he was nagged by feelings of being a fraud. He noted the "cognititive dissonance" of pretending to be heterosexual, saying there was an "on going revelation of 'how the hell did I get here?'"
He eventually disassociated himself from Exodus, which disbanded in 2013. Thomas is now engaged to Dan Scobey. The men have launched a group, Thrive LGBTQ+, to battle against conversion therapy, and Thomas is trying to make amends for his time working against his community.
"To the people who are harmed by the toxic theology and stigmatizing views that I once proposed and promoted, that made you feel alienated or disenfranchised from not only public policy but your own family, I'm very sorry."