Conversion Therapy Gains Support From Former Opponents

17 hours ago

Randy Thomas is former executive vice president of Exodus International. It has since closed and he now advocates against conversion therapy.
Credit Blaise Gainey / WFSU

Lawmakers are filing bills to stop counselors from practicing conversion therapy on minors. Former conversion therapy practitioners are rising to support the bill.

The controversial practice is mostly known for trying to change someone from gay to straight. As a gay man, Randy Thomas advocated for conversion therapy. But he stopped after his friend committed suicide.

Activists against conversion therapy showed up at the press conference.
Credit Blaise Gainey / WFSU

“He had gone back to being gay. And he had gotten involved in a difficult situation.  And conversion therapy taught him that he was broken and he couldn’t get rid of it. He thought that he was experiencing these negative experiences because somehow God was punishing him and he took his own life," says Thomas.

Thomas is now supporting two bills that would ban counselors from using conversion therapy on anyone under 18. He spoke at a press conference at the Capitol Tuesday. A 1999 study from the American Psychological Association notes conversion therapy is not effective at changing a person’s sexual orientation.