By Mark Dawson
Survivors of Gay Conversion Therapy Respond to Founder of One the Country’s Largest Conversion Therapy Organizations Coming out as Gay
The founder of one of the largest conversion therapy organizations has come out as gay and is now apologizing for his role in pushing the practice.
McKrae Game, 51, the founder and leader of Hope for Wholeness in South Carolina, publicly revealed his sexuality back in June, but begged forgiveness in a recent Facebook post.
“I certainly regret where I caused harm,” Game wrote. “Promoting the triadic model that blamed parents and conversion or prayer therapy, that made people believe that their orientation was wrong, bad, sinful, evil and worse that they could change was absolutely harmful.”
Out author and singer Raph Solo, who underwent conversion therapy and writes and sings about the psychological damage it has caused to him in his new single, “Memory Lane”, is willing to forgive Game. He welcomes his voice within the LGBTQ community.
“Personally, I believe his experience is invaluable to share with the community. When you share that kind of knowledge and experience it can be of great use to those who have struggled and continue to struggle (with their sexuality). On a personal note, I have chosen to speak out about my reparative experience because I believe no one deserves to live a life of fear for being gay.”
Justin Utley, a former Latter-Day Saint who sings about his experience with conversion therapy in his new album, Scars, out today, says not so fast. He points out that Game has caused irreversible harm, both mental and physical, to kids, adults, and their families, and that he made money from a practice that has long been denounced from medical and mental health boards. He questions Game’s motives in coming out now.
“There have been a lot of these men coming out recently,” he says. “Is it because they see the legislative writing on the wall? Are their paychecks dwindling due to lawsuits? Or did they just get tired of pretending?”
Utley isn’t surprised Game has come out as gay because he points out that nearly all conversion therapists are gay themselves. “The men put themselves in dangerous situations and emotional relationships with other men at these retreats,” he adds.
Still, Utley is willing to welcome Game into the LGBTQ community.
“We all come from some pretty diverse backgrounds, and I don’t think it would be appropriate to deny someone refuge who has evolved and come to terms with their own identity and sexuality. As a Latter-Day Saint (Mormon) we were told by church authorities to avoid associating with homosexuals, since the sin they commit is repugnant and next to murder. I embraced that at one time. Should I be told there isn’t a place for me at the table now? Some might think so.”
Nearly 700,000 adults who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual have undergone conversion therapy treatments or counseling, according to a study from UCLA’s Williams Institute last year.
Game now calls the process of Conversion Therapy “not just a lie, but very harmful. Because it’s false advertising.”