'Ex-Gay' Leader Comes Out, Won't Condemn Conversion Therapy

David Matheson

David Matheson, one of the United States’ top proponents of "conversion therapy," came out as gay and said he can no longer live a celibate life.

News first spread after private Facebook group posts began to leak. But Matheson confirmed he will “pursue life as a gay man” to Truth Wins Out. But he also elected not to renounce his past, and stressed his strong Mormon faith.

“My time in a straight marriage and in the ‘ex-gay’ world was genuine and sincere and a rich blessing to me. I remember most of it with fondness and gratitude for the joy and growth it caused in me and many others,” Matheson said.

“But I had stopped growing and was starting to die. So I’ve embarked on a new life-giving path that has already started a whole new growth process. I wasn’t faking it all those years. I’m not renouncing my past work or my LDS faith. And I’m not condemning mixed-orientation marriages. I continue to support the rights of individuals to choose how they will respond to their sexual attractions and identity. With that freedom, I am now choosing to pursue life as a gay man.”

Matheson co-wrote the “Journey Into Manhood” program and authored the book Becoming a Whole Man. The work further reinforced teachings in the reparative therapy world that homosexuality stemmed primarily from an inability to relate to masculine activities.

He came out months after Truth Wins Out exposed Norman Goldwasser, who wrote a 2006 academic paper with Matheson promoting conversion therapy, was seeking men on Manhunt and Bear Nation for sexual encounters.

Truth Wins Out say the most recent news about Matheson shows how wrong-headed and destructive a practice conversion therapy can be for the entire LGBTQ community.

“If conversion therapy does not work for authors like David Matheson who write books on the discredited practice, it is naïve to expect it to work for those reading such deceptive publications,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “Conversion therapy employs guilt and shame to browbeat desperate and vulnerable people into renouncing their humanity. This is the latest evidence that conversion therapy is consumer fraud and ought to be outlawed in all 50 states.”

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