The so-called ex-gay movement continues to be exposed as a farce. One of America’s most notorious proponents of conversion therapy has announced that his efforts to ‘convert’ himself have failed and he is dating men.
David Matheson is the Mormon co-creator of conversion therapy programmes like Journey into Manhood and writer of the ‘ex-gay’ book, Becoming a Whole Man. He has appeared on high profile television shows to defend the ex-gay movement.
Journey into Manhood’s director, Rich Wyler, has now revealed in a post to a private Facebook group that Matheson told him “that living a single, celibate life ‘just isn’t feasible’ for him, so he’s seeking a male partner.”
The post was obtained by Truth Wins Out (TWO), an American organisation that fights against right wing extremism and anti-LGBTQ prejudice and discrimination. The group then reached out directly to Matheson, who responded:
“My time in a straight marriage and in the ‘ex-gay’ world was genuine and sincere and a rich blessing to me. I remember most of it with fondness and gratitude for the joy and growth it caused in me and many others. But I had stopped growing and was starting to die. So I’ve embarked on a new life-giving path that has already started a whole new growth process. I wasn’t faking it all those years. I’m not renouncing my past work or my LDS faith. And I’m not condemning mixed-orientation marriages. I continue to support the rights of individuals to choose how they will respond to their sexual attractions and identity.”
Matheson concluded: “With that freedom, I am now choosing to pursue life as a gay man.”
TWO noted that the statement “was surprisingly unrepentant and failed to apologise for the grave harm he has caused many of his clients.” It said Matheson is living proof that conversion therapy programmes don’t even work for its most ardent advocates.
“If conversion therapy does not work for authors like David Matheson who write books on the discredited practice, it is naïve to expect it to work for those reading such deceptive publications,” commented TWO Executive Director Wayne Besen.
“Conversion therapy employs guilt and shame to browbeat desperate and vulnerable people into renouncing their humanity. This is the latest evidence that conversion therapy is consumer fraud and ought to be outlawed in all 50 [US] states,” he said.
In November, TWO revealed that another leading conversion therapy proponent, Norman Goldwasser, was cruising gay websites for sexual encounters.
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. In April 2018, the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) reaffirmed its condemnation of conversion therapy.