This week, Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky gained a powerful new ally: 24 former conversion therapy advocates, who later repudiated conversion therapy, admitted that their sexual orientation and gender identity never changed, and now call for Kentucky to protect youth by banning this abusive and fraudulent practice.
Michael Bussee leads the Former Ex-gay Leaders Alliance, an alliance of former conversion therapists who now seek to end the practice.
The Alliance explained their journey from practicing conversion therapy to recognizing its harms in a powerful op-ed this week for the Frankfort State-Journal:
“Together, we represent more than half a century of experience, so few people are more knowledgeable about the ineffectiveness and harm of conversion therapy. We know first-hand the terrible emotional and spiritual damage it can cause, especially for LGBTQ youth.
“We once believed that there was something morally wrong and psychologically “broken” about being LGBTQ. We know better now. We once believed that sexual orientation or gender identity were somehow chosen or could be changed. We know better now. We once thought it was impossible to embrace our sexual orientation or sexual identity as an intrinsic, healthy part of who we are and who we were created to be. We know better now. …
“As former ‘ex-gay’ leaders, having witnessed the incredible harm done to those who attempted to change their sexual orientation or gender identity, we join together in calling for Kentucky to ban conversion therapy. We can’t take back the harm that we caused, but we want to prevent future damage. The bills proposed by Senator Alice Forgy Kerr and Representative Lisa Willner strike the right balance of protecting LGBTQ youth and individual freedom by appropriately regulating the conduct of licensed mental health professionals and protecting public funds from misuse. It is our firm belief that it is much more productive to support, counsel, and mentor LGBTQ individuals to embrace who they are in order to live happy, well-adjusted lives.”
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).