Remember John Paulk? He’s the ex-gay dude, author, Focus on the Family poster boy for ex-gayhood, Exodus International supporter, figurehead of Love Won Out, husband, etc. who evidently realized he is, indeed, gay after all. Now he has apologized for his involvement in the “harmful ex-gay movement.” He’s also issued a formal apology. According to the Advocate, Paulk says:
“For the better part of ten years, I was an advocate and spokesman for what’s known as the ‘ex-gay movement,'” said Paulk, “where we declared that sexual orientation could be changed through a close-knit relationship with God, intensive therapy and strong determination. At the time, I truly believed that it would happen. And while many things in my life did change as a Christian, my sexual orientation did not.”
He goes further:
“Today, I do not consider myself ‘ex-gay,'” said Paulk. “And I no longer support or promote the movement. Please allow me to be clear: I do not believe that reparative therapy changes sexual orientation; in fact, it does great harm to many people.”
While I’m pleased that he has accepted himself for who he is, I’m saddened by all the people who swallowed his evangelical message.
“I know that countless people were harmed by things I said and did in the past, ” Paulk continued. “I am truly, truly sorry for the pain I have caused. … From the bottom of my heart I wish I could take back my words and actions that caused anger, depression, guilt and hopelessness. In their place I want to extend love, hope, tenderness, joy and the truth that gay people are loved by God.”
I wish him the best. I wish all the people he hurt the very best. I hope that those injured in the wake of his christian zeal get the help they need. An apology is a good start, but there’s much work to do as he moves forward with his life.