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Gay Ex-O’Donnell Aide Speaks

Gay Ex-O’Donnell Aide Speaks


Wade Richards, who once worked as the outreach coordinator for an antigay organization headed by Christine O'Donnell, the Republican Senate nominee and Tea Party favorite from Delaware, said her homophobia is surprising given that her sister is a lesbian.

Richards, who came out in The Advocate in 2000, spoke with The Daily Beast about his work with O'Donnell when she headed the Savior's Alliance for Lifting the Truth in Los Angeles in 1996. At the time, Richards had just finished an "ex-gay" program, but he continued to struggle with his sexuality.

According to The Daily Beast, "O'Donnell's demonization of gay people is especially striking given the fact that, according to Richards, she has a sister who is openly lesbian. Indeed, it was meeting her sister, he says, that helped him begin to accept his own sexuality. 'What helped me really come to grips was that her sister is an open lesbian and was living in L.A. and was in a long-term relationship and was working with a youth organization,' he says. 'By hanging out with her, I saw, wow, she has a pretty normal life.' Being gay, he started to realize, needn't condemn him to a life of seedy anonymous hookups, drug abuse, and nihilism."

Richards, who works today as a hairdresser in Arizona, said O'Donnell turned her back on him after he came out.

- This article has been corrected from an earlier version.

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