I wrote this at gaychristian.net today, but thought I'd cross-post it here. It's probably stuff I've covered on my blog before, but it deserves a repeat. The post I was responding to was saying that people were very negative about ex-gay ministries and this person felt censored in attempting to report their positive experience with ex-gay ministries. My response:
I believe that I have posted elsewhere that I did receive some benefit from ex-gay therapy. I worked through some important issues, and reconciled my own sense of myself and my femininity. I am very happy for those things, but overall my ex-gay experiences left me very damaged. I am still working through all the pain from those years and the aftermath. But I have no problem saying that there were good things that did come out of it.
I have even posted about and defended (elseweb) the ministry in Denver I used to attend. In fact, I still consider myself friends with one of the staff and have had some wonderful, open discussion with the ministry founder (who incidentally told me about an affirming congregation I could attend if I were so inclined - not the typical image people think of when they think of an ex-gay leader).
Recently I had the priviledge of meeting someone who had been a very influential person in my decision to do the ex-gay thing. I hold no ill will, and in fact was thrilled to meet her. She is someone that I deeply respect and admire, even though we disagree on some things.
I've never felt censored in saying these things on GCN, but perhaps the difference is that I do talk about the damaging effects, and honestly would never recommend someone go to one of these ministries. I will tell people, if you feel like you fit the ex-gay profile (i.e., have issues in your life that you feel might contribute to you being gay, or just issues you feel you need to resolve - child abuse, sexual addiction, not feeling comfortable with yourself, etc), by all means seek out therapy with a qualified counselor.
For me, I was glad that I resolved these issues, and I am definitely a very different person than the one who moved to Denver in 1998 to become ex-gay. But if I had to do it over (knowing what I know now), I would have gone about it much differently.
Oh, and by the way, after all these many years of therapy, different groups and programs and classes, as well as much prayer and praise and worship, exorcisms, and helping friends and pastors (along with a fervent desire to be pleasing to God and submit myself to his will and allow deep healing work), I am much more well-adjusted and happy in my own skin, but still gay.