As former leaders of ex-gay ministries, we apologize to those individuals and families who believed our message that there is something inherently wrong with being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Some who heard our message were compelled to try to change an integral part of themselves, bringing harm to themselves and their families. Although we acted in good faith, we have since witnessed the isolation, shame, fear, and loss of faith that this message creates. We apologize for our part in the message of broken truth we spoke on behalf of Exodus and other organizations.
We call on other former ex-gay leaders to join the healing and reconciliation process by adding their names to this apology.
We encourage current leaders of ex-gay programs to have the courage to evaluate the fruit of their programs. We ask them to consider the long-term effects of their ministry.
— Darlene Bogle
— Michael Bussee
— Jeremy Marks
Today I witnessed and accepted this unprecedented apology from three former ex-gay leaders.
Darlene Bogle was the founder and director of Paraklete Ministries, an Exodus referral in Hayward California. She was also the assisting pastor of the Foursquare church where the ministry was based. As an Exodus leader, she traveled the country, speaking and appearing on many national television shows.
Michael Bussee was one of the originators of the ex-gay movement. In the mid-1970s, he co-founded the Ex-gay Intervention Team (EXIT) and later hosted an unprecedented conference of ex-gay ministries at which a handful of ministry leaders, along with approximately 60 delegates, voted to form a loose coalition called EXODUS.
Jeremy Marks is a British evangelical Christian who founded an ex-gay ministry called Courage UK in 1988. He eventually became the President of Exodus International Europe and served on the board of Exodus International.
All three of them are now living out and proud, and all have concluded that while they always had the best interests of those who struggled with unwanted homosexuality at heart, they have never personally witnessed anyone change their orientation. Jeremy Marks took steps to transform his change ministry into one of support and love for GLBT Christians.
Today they made history by gathering in Los Angeles at the GLBT center for a press conference where they issued the above statement after telling their stories. It’s the first time that former leaders have publicly come together to apologize for their part in the ex-gay movement.
Peterson, Eric, Dan Gonzales and I received and accepted the apology on behalf of former ex-gays who feel that their ex-gay experiences caused more harm then good. As we stood next to the former leaders, we witnessed them each sign the apology. They turned and presented it to our group, and we accepted the letter.
What I didn’t count on was the emotion I felt when I reached out to accept the letter. Sometimes these kind of symbolic gestures can feel staged, but it made an emotional impact on me and I felt myself tearing up as we shook hands and hugged Darlene, Michael and Jeremy. It was moving and healing to hear an apology for the harm and damaging messages that I received. I hope the healing will continue as other former ex-gays read this apology. My hope is also that other former ex-gay leaders will start to step forward as well. Thank you, Darlene, Michael, and Jeremy.