“Ex-Ex Gay: John Paulk, pictured here as he looks today, was once the face of the gay conversion therapy movement
A man who was once one of the most visible advocates of so-called gay conversion therapy has now come out as still gay.
You might call John Paulk ex-ex-gay.
In 1998, he appeared on the cover of Newsweek alongside his wife. The headline asked ‘Gay for Life?’
Now estranged from his wife and sporting a much less conservative look, including long blond hair and a deep tan, Paulk seems to have the answer.
And if you haven’t figured it out, it’s a yes.
‘My beliefs have changed,’ Paulk told PQ Monthly, which stands for Proud Queer. ‘Today, I do not consider myself “ex-gay” and I no longer support or promote the movement.’
This is a huge departure from Paulk’s prime ex-gay days, when he founded and ran a ministry called Love Won Out based on what he called ‘reparative therapy.’
The psychology community would now, as much of it did back then, be quick to balk at the idea of using therapy to change one’s sexual orientation.
But Paulk was a true spokesman for the technique and was even chairman of the board of Exodus International, one of the most well-none ex-gay organizations.
Paulk also penned two books on the subject: Not Afraid To Change: The Remarkable Story Of How One Man Overcame Homosexuality and Love Won Out, which he wrote with his wife, who also claimed to have rid herself of her own homosexuality.
Then: In 1998, Paulk appeared on the cover of Newsweek touting his belief in conversion therapy and ran a Christian ministry based on those beliefs
Change of mind: Mr Paulk, right, is pictured in drag for a 1990s photoshoot after his conversion
He remained at the forefront of the ex-gay movement until September of 2000, when it was widely reported that the self-proclaimed born-again heterosexual was seen living it up in a Washington, DC gay bar.
Now, the 50-year-old says he’s come along way and apologized for harm he’s done to people close to him and to the LGBT community as a whole.
Changed: Paulk wrote two books on gay conversion with wife Ann, pictured, but now makes his living in the catering business
‘Please allow me to be clear,’ Paulk said. ‘I do not believe that reparative therapy changes sexual orientation; in fact, it does great harm to many people.’
He later said: ‘I know that countless people were harmed by things I said and did in the past.’
Paulk’s wife Anne, according to PQ, remains a vocal proponent within the ‘reparative therapy’ movement today.
Paulk now supports himself in the food service industry, running a catering company in Portland, Oregon called Mezzaluna Catering, and says he no longer profits from his former job.
‘I don’t get any royalties from these publications,’ he told PQ Monthly. ‘I discourage anyone from purchasing and selling these books or promoting my “ex-gay” story because they do not reflect who I am now or what I believe today.’”
Well, what can I say … firstly, good on him for seeing the light, and realising that this is bullsh*t! Secondly, I cannot believe that woman is still part of this. How can you live such a massive lie, and not feel so psychologically damaged and depressed?
Unfortunately, this still goes on (watch the film Bruno!), which is very upsetting and worrying. Things like this should be illegal!! I don’t see the difference between this and back when women had no rights, and would attempt to be cured of ‘hysteria’. What a load of uneducated, ignorant crap!!
This is why I am an atheist.