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Former Exodus President Changes His 'Ex-Gay' Ways, Says He’s ‘Evolved’ 

Former Exodus President Changes His 'Ex-Gay' Ways, Says He’s ‘Evolved’ 


Alan Chambers says he now endorses same-sex relationships and condemns reparative therapy -- for everyone.


Two years after the antigay movement Exodus International closed its doors, its former president Alan Chambers is finally speaking out about his time leading the world's largest "ex-gay" group. In a new interview with Religion News Service, Chambers said his views on same-sex relationships and reparative therapy for minors have evolved; what he once promoted, he said he now condemns.

"I do believe that same-sex relationships can be holy. As a Christian, I think marriage is best. That is why I'm supportive of the Supreme Court decision for the legal recognition of same-sex marriage. I think same-sex marriages can reflect, and often do, God's image," Chambers said.

For his role in promoting reparative therapy for minors, Chambers takes full ownership, admitting he perpetuated "a lot of shame and unhealthy religion" to a lot of people.

"I support, and I've written about this, a ban on reparative therapy for minors," he told Religion News Service. "It perpetuates shame and I think it is dangerous. When it comes to the therapeutic niche of reparative therapy where psychotherapists and certified professionals are providing therapy with goals to change sexual orientation -- that should absolutely be banned."

The former poster boy for reparative therapy, who has been married to his wife for almost two decades, said he still supports the right of adults to undergo reparative therapy, within limits, although he does not endorse the discredited practice. Adults seeking out such therapy, he tells The Advocate in an email, should be warned of its dangers and that it won't change their sexual orientation:

"Since 2012 I have been a vocal critic of reparative therapy and do not believe it has any ability to change someone's sexual orientation. I believe it induces shame for those hoping for such change and it is thus harmful."

One thing Chambers hasn't changed is how he labels his own sexuality. Despite admitting being attracted to men, Chambers does not identify himself as either gay or bisexual, but he is ready to correct anyone who calls him straight Instead, he says his sexual orientation is toward his wife, Leslie.

"If you're going to nail me down on what has been the predominant orientation in my life -- it's [same-gender]," Chambers said. "As a married man, whether I had a straight or gay orientation, my orientation is fixed to my chosen partner. As a married man, I give the most energy to that as I think every married couple should." He added, in a very personal reflection, that he thoroughly enjoys having sex with his wife.

The interview coincides with the release of his new book, My Exodus: From Fear to Grace, in which Chambers delineates his time at Exodus International.

"As I am telling the story through my book, I am recounting my truth in the moment," he said. "I was trying to be straight, but really I was gay. Now at this point, I do not choose a label because there is not one that is best for me. Now, if someone were to call me straight, I would challenge them. If someone were to call me gay or bisexual, I would not necessarily challenge them. Those labels seem insufficient."

Read the full interview here.

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