What Are "Ex-Gays" and the "Ex-Gay" Ministries?


General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Warren Throckmorton, PhD, Director of Counseling at Grove City College wrote in a 2002 article titled "Initial Empirical and Clinical Findings Concerning the Change Process for Ex-Gays," published in Professional Psychology that stated:

"'Ex-gay' refers both to people who have changed and also to people who are in the process of changing their lesbian or gay male identity - as a by-product of religious observance. I [also] consider the term 'ex-gay' to refer to an individual who experiences same-gender sexual attraction but who has changed or desires to modify sexual arousal due to religious motivation.

'Ex-gays' are often associated with ministry organizations of various faiths... [T]he objective of ex-gay ministries is to assist clients who desire an alteration of sexual orientation."

2002 - Warren Throckmorton, PhD 

Bridges Across the Divide, a website devoted to discussions on homosexuality, used the following definition for "ex-gays" (accessed 2006):

"The term 'ex-gay' refers to people who have experienced same gender sexual attraction and who, for religious or other reasons, have chosen not to embrace a gay identity and not to engage in same gender behavior. 'Ex-gay' does not necessarily imply past same gender behavior nor does it specify the degree of significant change in same gender sexual attraction."

2006 - Bridges Across the Divide 

The God's Love-Our Witness (GLOW) website defined change ministries as (accessed 2006):

"Christian ministries specializing in helping homosexually oriented persons change their sexual orientation or at least live as though their sexual orientation is changed. The usual expectation is that persons will become heterosexually oriented."

2006 - God's Love-Our Witness 

The Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance provided the following definition for "ex-gay" ministries on their website (accessed 2006):

"[M]ost conservative Christian groups in North America believe that homosexuality is an unnatural, deviant, sinful disorder, condemned by God. Homosexuality itself is something that needs healing. Some have created specialized... 'ex-gay ministries' to help 'cure' gays and lesbians."

2006 - Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance