Prominent ‘conversion therapist’ leaves movement, comes out as gay

The New York Post/January 24, 2019

By Emily Jacobs

One of the nation’s leading gay conversion therapists has come out as gay, and he’s looking for a boyfriend.

David Matheson, a once-prominent Mormon author and creator of several “ex-gay” programs, told LGBTQ nonprofit Truth Wins Out on Sunday that he is embarking “on a new life-giving path that has already started a whole new growth process.”

News of Matheson’s announcement came after posts from a private Facebook group by another conversion therapy advocate, Rich Wyler, had begun to leak. Wyler wrote in the group that Matheson “says that living a single, celibate life ‘just isn’t feasible for him,’ so he’s seeking a male partner,” adding, “He has gone from bisexuality to exclusively gay.”

Following the leak of the posts, Truth Wins Out reached out to Matheson who confirmed the news.

“My time in a straight marriage and in the ‘ex-gay’ world was genuine and sincere and a rich blessing to me…But I had stopped growing and was starting to die,” Matheson said to the nonprofit.

Matheson added, “I am now choosing to pursue life as a gay man.”

Matheson then went public with the news in a Facebook post, saying, “A year ago I realized I had to make substantial changes in my life. I realized I couldn’t stay in my marriage any longer. And I realized that it was time for me to affirm myself as gay.”

He goes on to say: “I went back and forth for months on whether I actually could let myself be in a relationship with a man. I knew I had to remain true to the indisputable anchors of my faith even as I lost faith in some painful peripherals—most notably that same-sex partnerships are sinful.”

Gay conversion therapy is a series of practices that aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It has been denounced by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and a host of other major, accredited health organizations.

Despite this radical change in his life, Matheson does not regret his past work or renounce the practices involved in conversion therapy.

In his statement to Truth Wins Out, Matheson said, “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 did acknowledge that his work had hurt some people, though he would only blame the “shame-based, homophobic-based system” of the Mormon church that he was raised in, during an interview with NBC News.

Matheson adds, “I know there are people who won’t be satisfied by anything less than a complete and unequivocal renunciation of everything. That’s hard, because I want people to feel the genuineness of my change of heart, but people need to understand that there is more than one reality in the world.”

He does, however, “unequivocally apologize” to any of those harmed by his work.

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