“You know, Mike, I used to be gay,” I said.
Mike stopped moving his paintbrush as the words fell clumsily from my mouth. He was painting the St. Louis apartment I called home in the summer of 1997 as I began working toward my PhD in historical theology.
He’d asked me about my schooling, and we got to talking about faith. Mike had explained to me how he felt he could never go to church because he was gay.
“I know they say that’s not supposed to happen,” I went on, after dropping the bombshell. “But that’s my story.” Mike stared at me with interest as he set the paint can down, gently balancing his brush on its edge.
Looking back on this encounter, I can see that it had all the trappings of what became known as the ex-gay movement, of which I was once an eager proponent. Most…
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