One of the survivors of the Pulse gay nightclub massacre has shocked the LGBTQ community by claiming that God has “made him straight.”
Luis Javier Ruiz announced on Monday that he will be taking part in the controversial Freedom March in Washington, D.C. on Saturday.
The event aims to celebrate “freedom from homosexual / transgender lifestyles by the grace and power of Jesus Christ.”
On June 12, 2016, while patrons were celebrating Latin Night at the Orlando, Florida club, Omar Mateen burst into the venue and opened fire on the crowd. A total of 49 LGBTQ people and their friends were slaughtered in cold blood.
“I should have been number 50!” said Ruiz in a dramatic post on the Freedom March’s Facebook page, which includes photos of him in hospital after the attack.
Under the heading of “homosexuals can change”, Ruiz wrote that at the time of the massacre he experienced “struggles of perversion, heavy drinking to drown out everything and having promiscuous sex that led to HIV”.
He explained that he believes that “the enemy had its grip” on him and that God has now “taken me from that moment and has given me Christ Jesus.”
Ruiz added: “I know who I am and I am not defined with who the enemy says I use to be – but who Christ Jesus says I am.”
Ruiz is among several people expected to speak at the march who claim to now be “former homosexuals” or “former transgender” individuals.
Critics, however, believe that so called “ex-gay” individuals are actually in denial about their sexuality and are forced to repress their true nature in order to live heterosexual lives.
Attempts to change the sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression of LGBTQ people is known as conversion therapy. The practice is grounded in the belief that being LGBTQ is abnormal or immoral.
The World Psychiatric Association and many other mental health bodies have asserted that trying to “cure” LGBTQ people doesn’t work and is both dangerous and unethical. The Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) has also condemned conversion therapy and believes that registered health professional who practice it should be disbarred.
Sadly, the publicity around Ruiz’s dubious and misguided claims are only likely to add to the shame and stigma experienced by young LGBTQ people around the world.