Former Conversion-Therapy Spokesman Randy Thomas Announces Engagement

Randy Thomas, who served as national spokesperson for the now-defunct Exodus network of conversion-therapy ministries until Exodus closed in 2013, has announced his upcoming marriage to partner Dan Scobey.

In video for Truth Wins Out, Thomas tells of how being disowned and made homeless by his mother for being gay, and then suffering from a hate crime, caused him to fall into the hands of evangelicals who offered him conditional support as a “former homosexual.”

Scobey and Thomas now operate Thrive LGBTQ+, a non-profit organization that works to “confront religion-based stigma” and oppose “attempts to change or repress LGBTQ+ people’s innate sexuality and identity.”

Read more at The Advocate


Born Perfect is the leading campaign to end conversion therapy. We are survivors, lawyers, and policy experts working together to protect LGBTQ+ people nationally and around the globe. Born Perfect is a program of National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

Tel Aviv protest against conversion therapy

Israel Takes First Step Toward Banning Conversion Therapy

Tel Aviv protest against conversion therapy
Israelis oppose conversion therapy in a July 2019 protest in Tel Aviv. (Photo by Mathew Shurka)

In a historic development, a bill to ban conversion therapy passed a first vote by 42 to 36 in Israel’s Knesset. Under the current bill, psychologists who violate the ban could be fined or lose their licenses.

Conversion therapy is an effort to change one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Supporters of the ban cited the needless suffering of survivors of this therapy.

“The ban is a historic opportunity for Israel to protect LGBTQ people,” said Mathew Shurka, co-founder and chief strategist of Born Perfect. “Conversion therapy causes serious harm – depression, isolation, low self-esteem, and sometimes suicide. It is fraudulent and harmful and has no place in Israeli society.” As a teenager, Shurka endured five years of conversion therapy. Shurka’s therapist taught him to falsely blame an “overbearing mother” and “distant father” for his orientation.

Born Perfect has worked with survivors and LGBTQ advocates to support bans globally.

While the ban is popular with the Israeli public, the vote required members of the Knesset to break with their coalitions. Ruth Gophen of the Israeli Medical LGBT Association told Born Perfect, “Most of the people in Israel understand the harms of conversion therapy and thankfully despite politics, the vote passed.”

In the Jerusalem Post this morning, Meretz party leader Nitzan Horowitz called the ban “amazing news for the Israeli public and the LGBTQ+ community at whole. Today a historic change is beginning in Israel. I thank the members of the Knesset who voted in support of the freedom and equality in order to stop the horror of ‘conversion therapy,’ and for everyone who acted, initiated, wrote, shared and fought for the life of the proud community. You helped save lives today.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz tweeted, “Conversion therapy was born in sin and its place is outside of the law and the public norm. We will make sure that everyone, from every background and sexual orientation, in Israel will have free choice and security in their identity.”

Ruth Gophen, Knesset member Nitzan Horowitz, and three conversion therapy survivors

The latest effort to ban conversion therapy in Israel began in July 2019 when Israel’s new education minister, Rafi Peretz, supported conversion therapy and said he had actually performed it. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later publicly distanced himself from that position, according to Reuters.

Backlash against conversion therapy grew. Shurka told Newsweek that the incident presented a moment for the LGBTQ community “to see which elected officials stand where.”

“The Education Minister’s support for this life-threatening practice is dangerous and irresponsible. It is shocking that any public official would disregard the medical consensus that conversion therapy is ineffective and unsafe. Research has shown that being subjected to conversion therapy puts LGBTQ youth at high risk of suicide and depression.”

Shurka joined more than 1,000 demonstrators protesting in front of the Kiryat HaMemshala government building in Tel Aviv. The protesters included conversion therapy survivors who shared their stories of abuse, as well as activists, teachers, students and parents.

Before today’s vote, Ohad Hizki, director-general of Aguda, The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel, called this a “moment of truth” for Israel’s governing alliances.

The Israel Psychological Association strongly supports the ban.

“The considered treatments were not found to be helpful, and they could cause real damage,” the Israel Psychological Association said before the vote. Conversion therapy could lead to “mental damage, including anxiety, depression and suicide. Other possible damage includes isolation and social withdrawal, difficulty making intimate and sexual connections, avoiding social connections, harm to religious belief, anger and distancing toward parents.”

Dr. Tzvi Fishel, Chairman of the Israel Psychological Association, praised the bill’s passage. In today’s Jerusalem Post, Fishel cited fraudulent “therapists who violated the first rule of medical ethics: ‘First do not harm!’”


Born Perfect is the leading campaign to end conversion therapy. We are survivors, lawyers, and policy experts working together to protect LGBTQ+ people nationally and around the globe. Born Perfect is a program of National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

Trump Adviser Jenna Ellis Retweets Support for Conversion Therapy

Jenna Ellis, a legal adviser to the Trump campaign, on July 21 retweeted the message “No, sexual orientation is not immutable,” which linked to an article that falsely claims that bad parenting and childhood trauma make people LGBTQ. The cure, the article contends, is harmful conversion therapy.

The original tweet was by Nancy Pearcey, an anti-LGBTQ professor at Houston Baptist University, who gave Ellis a hat tip for the link. The article was by Canadian pastor Paul Dirks, who opposes bans against conversion therapy. Pearcey subsequently deleted the tweet and replaced it with a tweet to the same article without a retweet by Ellis.

Read more at Out Magazine


Born Perfect is the leading campaign to end conversion therapy. We are survivors, lawyers, and policy experts working together to protect LGBTQ+ people nationally and around the globe. Born Perfect is a program of National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

British Prime Minister Publicly Supports Banning Conversion Therapy

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said July 20 that “conversion therapy” is “absolutely abhorrent” and “has no place in this country.”

Johnson added that plans to ban the fraudulent practice will be brought forward after the government completes a “study” on the issue. The British government pledged two years ago to ban therapies that claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

“We’re delighted that Boris Johnson has listened to our calls for a ban on conversion therapy,” the Ban Conversion Therapy UK campaign said. “Now we await action – LGBTQ+ people have been tortured for long enough.”

Gendered Intelligence, a charity that aims to improve the quality of life of trans people, said: “Whilst we hope the prime minister used ‘gay conversion therapy’ for brevity, we must ensure the ban on conversion therapy covers all LGBT people, including trans people.”

Read more from the BBC


Born Perfect is the leading campaign to end conversion therapy. We are survivors, lawyers, and policy experts working together to protect LGBTQ+ people nationally and around the globe. Born Perfect is a program of National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

instagram

Social Media Begin to Curb Conversion Therapy

Instagram
Instagram

When Facebook and Instagram announced they will exclude content that promotes conversion therapy, it was a game-changer that will finally begin to remedy a problem that social media itself inadvertently created: the explosion of conversion therapy into an internet-driven industry that has caused devastating harm to LGBTQ+ people.

Born Perfect was a key stakeholder and is proud to have provided Facebook with key technical guidance to regulate harmful content.

Removing conversion therapy content drastically reduces abusive organizations’ pipeline of fraudulent activity into the homes of youths and adults alike. Read the story and our vision for social-media safety at them.us.


Born Perfect is the leading campaign to end conversion therapy. We are survivors, lawyers, and policy experts working together to protect LGBTQ+ people nationally and around the globe. Born Perfect is a program of National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

Red Wing

Red Wing, Minn., Votes to Ban Conversion Therapy for Minors

RED WING, Minnesota (June 23, 2020) — The Red Wing City Council voted last night to ban conversion therapy for minors. The vote makes Red Wing the fourth city in the state to protect youth from this harmful practice, after Duluth, Minneapolis and most recently St. Paul.

The new ordinance prohibits licensed medical and mental health professionals from practicing conversion therapy for minors. Red Wing is a city of 16,000 people located an hour southeast of the Twin Cities. The vote was 6-0 with one abstention. OutFront Minnesota and Safe Space Red Wing were among the groups carrying the proposed ban to victory.

Officials took this step to proactively protect families and young people in their community. According to The Post Bulletin, council member Becky Norton said of “reparative” or “ex-gay” therapy: “It’s not welcome here.” Council member Evan Brown said, “I don’t consider this is therapy of any kind.”

City Council members Becky Norton, Evan Brown, and Erin Buss

‘Conversion therapy’ is neither

Born Perfect Co-Founder Mathew Shurka agreed with Brown.

“Conversion therapy is neither therapy nor conversion. It is a combination of shame-based verbal abuse and misinformation that has been discredited by medical science — and by survivors,” Shurka said. “Conversion therapy reinforces depression, low self esteem, family breakdown, and suicidal tendencies. It changes neither sexual orientation nor gender identity. Red Wing’s city council took the right step to prevent serious harm to Red Wing’s youths, and to prevent parents from being misled.”

Starting at age 16, Shurka spent five years in conversion therapy, including being told that an overbearing mother and distant father caused his homosexuality — resulting in years of family conflict.

“Red Wing is saving lives by protecting young people from this dangerous practice,” Shurka said today. “They have reaffirmed that LGBTQ youth are born perfect and that no young person should be told that who they are is not OK.”

‘When we say these things, we mean them’

“Red Wing is joining dozens of other localities across the country who are standing up for LGBTQ youth to ensure that they cannot be subjected to this dangerous and harmful practice,” said Shannon Minter, the legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which provides legal support to U.S. states and cities in implementing and defending bans. “In addition to preventing mental health professionals from engaging in this fraudulent practice with minors, this law will help to educate parents and others that attempts to change a younger person’s sexual orientation or gender identity are extremely damaging.”

The city’s Human Rights Commission had previously cleared the ban for council consideration. High school health teacher Lisa Hanson told the commission that “as a health teacher and an ally of those who have been marginalized in our society and in our community, I have to speak out because I have seen firsthand the harm that has come to these people because of the thinking that they can change.” Erin Buss, the City Council liaison to the commission, said: “Our city’s mission is to create a community where every person feels at home. Banning conversion therapy supports that endeavor and shows the youth — and adult — in our community that when we say these things, we mean them.”


Born Perfect is the leading campaign to end conversion therapy. We are survivors, lawyers, and policy experts working together to protect LGBTQ+ people nationally and around the globe. Born Perfect is a program of National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).