Former conversion therapist who came out as gay: ‘I feel as if I escaped a cult’
A former gay conversion therapist has said that when he came out as gay last year he felt as if he “escaped a cult”.
McKrae Game, 51, was the founder of Hope for Wholeness, a faith-based conversion therapy program, but he came out as gay in a Facebook post on 25 August, 2019, which began: “I was wrong. Please forgive me.”
Medical experts consider interventions to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity to be pseudo-scientific, ineffective and harmful.
In an opinion piece for The Guardian, Game said that his first same-sex sexual experience was when he moved out of home at the age of 18.
He said: “Afterwards, I felt awful about what had happened. When I was growing up, the word ‘gay’ was a slur; I’d only ever heard negative things about homosexual life. My parents would call and I’d start crying, but I could never tell them why.”
Although he began to come to terms with his identity, when a friend and his wife asked him to go to church with them, he agreed.
He continued: “After a few months, I felt as if I’d found something of meaning: I believed that God loved me and had a plan for me – and that plan did not include homosexuality.
“One day, I was in the car and heard a radio ad for a Christian conference. It said: ‘If you’re gay or lesbian and don’t want to be, make a change.’
“I went to the conference and met a counsellor from a support group for men who were ‘coming out of homosexuality’. We discussed how I could be more masculine and date women again.”
Game saw the same conversion therapist for the next eight years, and eventually married a woman he’d met at church. He soon became a conversion therapist himself, and founded his own “ex-gay ministry”, Hope for Wholeness.
He said: “By that point, I was a zealot: I didn’t have any doubt and felt as if I was on a mission from God.
“I counselled hundreds of clients over 28 years. But while I was telling others to repress their sexuality, I was still struggling with my own.
“I was honest with my clients about my sexual thoughts and struggles with gay pornography. I told them those feelings never go away – it was about learning to deny same-sex attractions.”
However, Game’s honesty caught the attention of the ministry’s board chairman, and in 2017 he was fired for continuing to watch gay porn.
Two years later, he decided that the time had finally come to come out publicly as gay.
In a Facebook post at the time, he admitted: “Promoting… conversion or prayer therapy, that made many people believe that their orientation was wrong, bad, sinful, evil, and worse that they could change was absolutely harmful. People reported to attempt suicide because of me and these teachings and ideals.”
Game said that now his “faith in God is just as strong, if not stronger, than it has ever been”.
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He added: “I never believed that God was as harsh as everyone was telling me he was.
“I want to help the church to love and accept people, regardless of their sexuality, and to play a large part in ending conversion therapy.
“Hopefully, I can find some personal happiness in relationships.
“I feel as if I escaped a cult: I was brainwashed for 28 years. I’m now able to start exploring who I authentically am.”