Beyond Ex-Gay

The Ex-Gay Survivor's Survey Results


If there is any theme that outweighed any other in the results of the survey it is that the concerns and conflicts of ex-gays are above-all religious in nature. There were only five people out of 400+ (1.3 percent) who were atheist when they went through their SOCE’s. It is true that the most popular activity was one-on-one counseling, and there was clearly disappointment in the quality of particular counselors and/or therapists. Yet, the vast majority of complaints and conflicts had to do with religious beliefs and how they were in conflict with sexual orientation and desires. Furthermore, a number of participants spoke of their SOCE and church/religious experiences as one in the same.

The importance of this theme is that the so-called “reparative therapist” community would lead the public to think that SOCE is a psychological “dysfunction” in nature, and its “cure” is found in psychotherapeutic treatment as well. Often they cite the long disproven research about passive fathers and overbearing mothers. Yet in all of these surveys only two people ever mentioned anything remotely like these outdated theories. Conversely, and overwhelmingly, the participants in this survey were mostly concerned with whether or not God loved them, or if they would be sent to hell for being sexually aroused by the same gender, or what the Bible said about homosexuality, and so on.

There may have been a time during which the psychological community was the only arena in which sexual orientation was explored and understood. But when psychology proved that homosexuality was not a mental illness, that assertion was not enough for religion. Reflected in these survey results, Sexual Orientation Change Efforts are now conceived, driven, and perpetuated primarily as a problem of religion, no matter how much reparative therapists want to dress it up in psychobabble. I guess that is why there are no so-called “reparative therapists” who are atheists.

It seems the path of the ex-gay is rarely the journey of an unbeliever. It is my guess that eventually, the hyper-religious environment will be the only arena within which LGBTQ people of faith will have to deal with sexuality as if it is a curse. Hopefully this is a dwindling commentary on the church since, now more than ever, there are growing options in a wide variety of religious organizations where LGBTQ people are accepted, loved and welcomed. Indeed, when the participants were asked what they did to recover from their SOCE, often their responses were to simply find a religious community that accepted them unconditionally.

With these growing options, it does not seem to bode well for the ex-gay movement. In fact, seeing in the survey how many people left religion all together as a result of the ex-gay experience, I highly caution any religious organization who would consider taking on any form of SOCE. Hopefully with these options of acceptance, the damage that is so vividly shared in these results will become an experience of the past.

Implemented and edited by Jallen Rix, Ed.D., ACS


With Co-facilitators, Christine Bakke-O’Neill, Gail Dickert, and Peterson Toscano
Again, if you are an ex-gay survivor, you are invited to fill out the survey which is still available to take. We will then tabulate the results again at some point down the road. 

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SOCE Survey Results are © Copyright 2013. Jallen Rix, Ed.D., ACS and
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