Sy Rogers, a former leader of the religious ‘gay cure’ movement, has died
Sy Rogers, a former leader within the gay ‘cure’ movement, has died.
On Tuesday (April 21), it was reported that Rogers had passed away after a long battle with cancer, aged 63.
Rogers lived as a gay man for years in his youth before identifying as transgender, but in the late 1970s, he detransitioned and renounced his previous sexuality, becoming the poster boy for the “ex-gay” movement while claiming God had enabled him to live as a straight man.
He later married a woman, Karen, and became President of Exodus International, which at the time was the world’s largest promoter of the discredited belief that gay people can “overcome” their sexuality through God.
Rogers also starred in an infamous video, One of the Boys: The Sy Rogers Story, which was routinely used by schools to encourage gay people to repent.
Exodus International shut down in 2012 after its then-president Alan Chambers renounced conversion therapy and apologised for its work — but Rogers continued to tour churches as recently as 2019, promoting himself as a “leading voice regarding sexuality, cultural themes and God’s character”.
Hillsong Church co-founder pays tribute to gay cure preacher
His death attracted tributes from across the evangelical community, including from Bobbie Houston, the co-founder of Hillsong Church.
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She wrote: “Brian and I are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of dear friend Sy Rogers today. Sy was truly one of the kindest people you could ever meet. He exemplified grace and freedom and a passion to always bless others. We will miss you Sy.
“You ran your race perfectly, always giving honour to your Saviour King. Our sincere love and prayers are with Karen and family.
“Heaven truly welcomed home a treasure today who will light up that landscape with his warmth, humour and goodness. With love and affection – Brian, Bobbie and your global Hillsong family.”
Preaching at Hillsong in 2007, Rogers appeared to admit that he still has gay thoughts regularly.
He said: “Look at what I’m thinking God, I love it and I want it. But I love you and want you too, help me.
“This thing calls my name and wants to be my master, but you call my name and want to be my master, help me. Don’t get into the pretentious trap of ‘I’m a Christian now, I don’t have those thoughts.'”