A once-prominent advocate of gay ‘conversion therapy’ has said he is now ‘choosing to pursue life as a gay man’.
Utah-based Mormon, David Matheson, previously created widely discredited courses which sought to change a person’s sexuality.
Earlier this week (22 January), Matheson came out as gay man in a public Facebook post, revealing he’s ending his marriage of 34 years.
According to the nonprofit organisation, Wyler stated Matheson is no longer part of the movement writing, ‘David… says that living a single, celibate life ‘just isn’t feasible for him’, so he’s seeking a male partner’.
Wyler added Matheson ‘has gone from bisexuality to exclusively gay’.
Matheson then confirmed this in a Facebook post of his own, where he also explained how he was not renouncing his religious faith, or his work as a conversion therapist.
Criticising the ‘shame-based, homophobic-based system’ of his Mormon upbringing, he wrote:
A year ago I realised I had to make substantial changes in my life. I realised I couldn’t stay in my marriage any longer. And I realised that it was time for me to affirm myself as gay.
I went back and forth for months on whether I actually could let myself be in a relationship with a man. I knew I had to remain true to the indisputable anchors of my faith even as I lost faith in some painful peripherals — most notably that same-sex partnerships are sinful.
I used to be caught in an ideological prison of my own. I know my work helped many, many people because they’ve told me so. But I’m sure I’ve hurt some people too.
Not that I would excuse myself, but any shortcomings I had as a therapist came from too narrow a view of what ’emotionally healthy’ can look like. They came from my own homophobia and narrow mindedness. Even today, as a newly-out gay man, I still find too much homophobia in myself.
I am truly sorry for those flaws and the harm they have surely caused some people. And I’m sorry for the confusion and pain my choice may be causing others.
So, what can you take from my course change? Not that I was faking it all those years or that the choice I’m making now was inevitable. Not that I’m renouncing my faith or my past work — even if I wish I could go back and change some things.
As reported by NBC, nearly every major health association has denounced the practice of gay ‘conversion therapy’ .
The news outlet adds, according to the Williams Institute, nearly 700,000 LGBTQ adults in America have received ‘conversion therapy’.
While the practice remains legal across the US for consenting adults, more and more states are banning minors from receiving it, with New York becoming the 15th state to do so last week.
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Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.