Conversion therapy founder McKrae Game comes out as gay after leading homophobic program for 20 years: 'I was wrong'
The founder of one of America's largest and most expansive conversion therapy programs has come out as a gay man, close to two years after he was kicked out of the organization.
McKrae Game, 51, the founder of South Carolina-based conversion therapy group Hope for Wholeness — one of many such organizations in the country that offers to change a person's LGBTQ identity through counseling or ministry — came out of the closet this past June, according to the Post & Courier.
Game had led the organization, which announces on its website it offers "Freedom From Homosexuality Through Jesus Christ" and wants to "shed light on the complicated issues of sexual and relational brokenness with special expertise on homosexuality and transgenderism," for 20 years before he was fired in November 2017.
Now, he has called out the industry and disowned the practice. "Conversion therapy is not just a lie, but it’s very harmful," he told the Post & Courier. "Because it’s false advertising."
He also detailed his experiences in Hope for Wholeness in a Facebook post where he acknowledged that he had caused harm and issued an apology to all those he had affected along the way.
"I WAS WRONG! Please forgive me!" he wrote.
"Creating a catchy slogan that put out a very misleading idea of 'Freedom from homosexuality through Jesus Christ' was definitely harmful. Promoting the triadic model that blamed parents and conversion or prayer therapy, that made many people believe that their orientation was wrong, bad, sinful, evil, and worse than they could change was absolutely harmful."
He revealed people had reported attempting suicide because of him and his teachings and ideals, and that in response, he told people "they were going to hell if they didn't stop."
"It’s all in my past," he continued, "but many, way TOO MANY continue believing that there is something wrong with themselves and wrong with people that choose to live their lives honestly and open as gay, lesbian, trans, etc. The very harmful cycle of self-shame and condemnation has to stop. It’s literally killing people!! Learn to love. Learn to love yourself and others."
He said his belief now is that "ex-gay ministry and conversion is HARMFUL" and that he hoped all ex-gay ministry and conversion therapy counselors and organizations are shut down.
Game is not the only former conversion therapy advocate to have come out as gay either.
The Post & Courier reported that, in 2014, nine founders and leaders of some of the nation's most prominent programs came out to call for a nationwide ban on the practice.
In an open letter, they said they had "witnessed the incredible harm done to those who attempted to change their sexual orientation or gender identity" and that "it is much more productive to support, counsel, and mentor LGBTQ individuals to embrace who they are in order to live happy, well-adjusted lives."
Conversion therapy has been condemned by practically every major medical group in the country, including the American Psychological Association and American Medical Association, and 18 states have laws banning the practice.