A man who founded one of the largest gay conversion therapy programmes in the US has come out as homosexual.
McKrae Game, 51, led faith-based conversion therapy group Hope for Wholeness in South Carolina for nearly two decades, where he believed the ‘gay community and the world was lying about homosexuality’.
While Game used to see homosexuality as a big ruse, he now disavows the ‘harmful’ practice which has hurt ‘generations of people’.
You can watch the Post and Courier‘s interview with Game below:
Conversion therapy is widely discredited and maligned, intended to suppress or change a person’s sexuality through counselling or religion, is currently banned in 18 states across the US. It formed the basis of two recent coming-of-age films: The Miseducation of Cameron Post and Boy Erased.
Now, nearly two years after Game was fired by Hope for Wholeness’ board of directors, the man once credited with leading the rise of conversion therapy is trying to come to terms with the pain he’s inflicted as well as himself.
Game told the Post and Courier:
I was a religious zealot that hurt people. People said they attempted suicide over me and the things I said to them. People, I know, are in therapy because of me. Why would I want that to continue?
Game is still married to a woman, Julie Game, who he says knows he is gay.
He took to Facebook on August 25 to plead for forgiveness, explaining he now realises the ‘harmful cycle of self-shame and condemnation has to stop’ as it’s ‘literally killing people’.
In the Facebook post, Game said:
Creating a catchy slogan that put out a very misleading idea of ‘Freedom from homosexuality through Jesus Christ’ was definitely harmful.
Promoting the triadic model that blamed parents and conversion or prayer therapy, that made many people believe that their orientation was wrong, bad, sinful, evil, and worse that they could change was absolutely harmful. People reported to attempt suicide because of me and these teachings and ideals.
At one time I was working with so many youth that I had a weekly youth group, where they’d share why they were there, and I would guide them in how to not be gay. What a sad commentary of my past verses today, or a bad joke as many may see it.
Game added that he believed many of the young men he worked with were now comfortable homosexuals and ‘one that I worked with for many years is married to a man and living in San Francisco. I hope to catch up with him.’
As reported by the Post and Courier, nearly 700,000 LGBTQ-identifying adults have undergone conversion therapy treatments or counselling.
Game is one of many who have abandoned the practice after championing it – in 2014, major figures from the most prolific conversion programs penned an open letter calling for a nationwide ban on the therapy.
The letter read:
As former ex-gay leaders, having witnessed the incredible harm done to those who attempted to change their sexual orientation or gender identity, we join together in calling for a ban on conversion therapy.
It is our firm belief that it is much more productive to support, counsel, and mentor LGBTQ individuals to embrace who they are in order to live happy, well-adjusted lives.
Hope for Wholeness, the programme Game once led, declined to comment on the Post and Courier story.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.