Escape From the Ex-Gay Movement

Christian Schizzel was once the poster child of the "ex-gay" movement. After leaving the movement, he called out the conversion attempts that he suffered through for what they are: something terribly dangerous.

The movement Schizzel represented for a while isn't pretty: The ex-gay movement is mainly supported by evangelical groups, and they believe that homosexuality is an illness that can be cured by leading the "sufferers" closer to the Christian faith. The main tool employed by the group is so-called "conversion therapy. "

Following his escape from the ex-gay movement, Schizzel has now revealed the horrors that he and others had to endure, telling Religion News Service:

There was a psychological 'breaking-me-down' and isolation process from my friends and family because they were considered unhealthy. They did this to achieve complete domination over me to build me up and mold me from there.

He added:

I was kept from attending the funeral of the mother of one of my closest friend because, they said, the devil was using this funeral to lure me back out to become reacquainted with non-believers. I didn't talk to my mom for almost a year and a half. I was told it was my family's fault I was gay because of how I was raised. They demonized my entire support system until I had no one to turn to except them. After roughly two years of the break down I was finally on the same page as them and I began conforming to their wishes all on my own.

Conversion Therapy Is a Horrible Dead End

According to Schizzel, his stepfather abused him when he was a child and justified it to him by citing the Bible. The ex-gay movement then tried to persuade him that the abuse he'd suffered earlier in his life was to blame for his homosexuality.

Schizzel has finally cut himself off from the movement, but, naturally, he still having trouble getting his life back on track, telling RNS:

Now that I am coming out [as gay] this second time I have to finally deal with my sexual abuse almost as if for the first time, understanding it didn't cause my orientation.

Standing Tall as a Gay Man in a Heterosexual World

He now wants to shed light upon conversion therapy, which has been repeatedly deemed dangerous by professional organizations of therapists and psychologists alike:

To those who still promote reparative therapy or hope it could work for them or a family member, I hope they realize this path leads to a horrid dead end. It's harmful and excruciatingly painful. .... In the end, my sexuality is a beautiful gift from God, and every day, I have found, I have to make a choice to honor it in the straight man's world.

This post was originally published on HuffPost Germany and was translated from German into English.