(Photo Credits: Screengrab from Netflix’s Official YouTube Account)
We were the leaders of the ex-gay movement. We believed that something must have happened to “make you gay.”
Have you ever heard of Exodus International, guys?
Well, according to Wikipedia, Exodus International was “a non-profit, interdenominational ex-gay Christian umbrella organization connecting organizations that sought to ‘help people who wished to limit their homosexual desires.'”
Change Is Possible.
The conversion ministry, which was founded in 1976, declared that “reorientation of same-sex attraction was possible.” The group purported that Exodus International can help change a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity.
The ‘ex-gay’ movement started in the 1970s. Five gay men who were members of an Evangelical church, all of whom were struggling with their sexuality, started a Bible study to “help each other leave the ‘homosexual lifestyle.'” The group reportedly received over 25,000 letters from people asking for help, thus Exodus International was born. They will be known as the “largest and most controversial conversion therapy organization in the world.”
However, unknown to the world, the leaders of Exodus International themselves were struggling to change their sexuality. In fact, their “own ‘same-sex attractions’ never went away.”
In 2012, the organization’s then president Alan Chambers spoke in a Gay Christian Network conference where he announced: “the majority of people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9% of them have not experienced a change in their orientation.” In addition, he apologized for their “Change Is Possible” slogan.
During a separate interview, Chambers said:
I do not believe that cure is a word that is applicable to really any struggle, homosexuality included. For someone to put out a shingle and say, ‘I can cure homosexuality’ — that to me is as bizarre as someone saying they can cure any other common temptation or struggle that anyone faces on Planet Earth.
Almost a year after Chambers’ renunciation of conversion therapy, Exodus International was dissolved in 2013.
And today, their stories—they being the “former conversion therapy leaders, current members, and a survivor”—are being chronicled in Netflix’s new documentary film titled Pray Away. The film also talks about the ‘ex gay’ movement’s rise to power as well as the harm that conversion therapy brings to the LGBTQ community. Watch the film’s trailer below:
According to GLAAD, conversion therapy is “any attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.” To date, there are still 22 states and 4 territories in the U.S. that do not have laws or policies regarding conversion therapy. You may check out this website for more information on conversion therapy laws in the U.S.
Pray Away will hit Netflix on August 3, 2021. Itwas produced by Ryan Murphy and Jason Blum of Blumhouse Television and was directed by Kristine Stolakis.