"As we gathered in front of that large sheet of paper with the two trails of paper on the ground, we settled into what felt to be a hushed sacred silence. So much pain, so many memories stirred up and appeared on the page. Bit by bit we built this wall, which some said felt like a memorial. Our prompt "Ex-Gay Experiences—The Good/Harm" drew out responses including drawings. Many people claimed the good they received from their ex-gay experiences as well as listing the deep deep harm they experienced."
Some writing from the wall:
"I believed I was cut off from God's love"
"My family can only love the mask they give me to wear"
"If it hadn't been for the music and hymns, my God would have died"
"I could finally talk about being gay and Christian for the first time"
"John got so depressed that he ran his car into a tree"
"Hard to get rid of the sense of being broken"
"20 years wasted"
"I opened up for the first time"
"Ending friendships to go...when it didn't work...having my church "family" disown and reject me"
"My best friend (my ex-wife) is single at the age of 48."
"My parents felt like failures"
"It left me with this wound separating my faith and my sexuality"
"I can survive anything"
"I thought I was changing; in reality I walled away my sexuality"
"Learned to deal with family issues"
"I was 16 when my small group leader molested me"
"Blaming my parents, I legally changed my name"
"Randy 1963-1980 sorry"
"I made some really great friends through my experience"
"My Dad didn't make me gay, he made me REAL. I love you Dad. Rest peacefully"
"Exchanged the truth about myself for a lie"
"I've come to hate religion"
"Ultimatum received: be ex-gay or go away"
So what happened to our wall of grief, pain, remembrance, memories, thoughts and feelings? Watch the following video where we turn the pain and suffering into fodder for new growth.
(p.s., the woman in the blue shirt who speaks in the video is Pat Walsh, Former Director of the UC Irvine LGBT resource center)