Former ‘Love Wins Out’ Gay-Conversion Crusader Is Gay – Again (VIDEO)

John Paulk

Photo: Business Journal 

John Paulk, founder and former spokesmodel for the anti-gay group Love Wins Out, is back in the news. The formerly ex-gay is gay again. In 1998 he and his wife (who still calls herself a former-lesbian) were on the cover of Newsweek for their work in the gay-conversion movement . Years later, after heading his crusade, writing books and speaking worldwide, Paulk  was photographed in another type of more under cover photo, when he was spotted at a gay bar in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 19, 2000, by Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out. He left his gay-conversion, Love Wins Out (now taken over by Exodus International) waited a bit for things to die down, then  started up a catering business in Portland, Oregon – a very successful catering business. Recently discovered, this didn’t go over well with some of the Portland LGBT community, nor in national LGBT communities. Paulk  has recently made an apology, but for many, that simply is not enough.

Here is why:

Let’s imagine for a minute, you are heterosexual/straight. For some this will not be a stretch. Next, lets imagine your friends, parents, church told you, if you stay straight, you are going to hell. Let’s go further, you are not  only going to hell, you are discriminated against, bullied, beaten and disowned from family members, because you are not sexually attracted to your own gender. You think,”Wait, I know I am straight. Why do others keep trying to convert me into being gay?” Sometimes you want to die, because many in society call you  sick, perverted, and they don’t want you around their gay children. To make matters much worse,  a very slick national organization with a catchy name, ‘Love Wins Out” comes into your community and tells your friends, your parents, and your church, that they can cure your sickness.

Let that roll around in your head for a bit. I don’t know about you, but it leaves me with a sick feeling inside. Welcome to the world of being gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender. Welcome to the world of teens killing themselves because their gayness could not be prayed away. Welcome to the world of pain caused by people like John Paulk.  Love Wins Out held conferences for parents and teens, and in those conferences, you would hear speakers like Dr. Nichols, a ‘reparative ‘therapist tell audiences:

“Homosexual behavior is always – my wife says when you speak publicly you never speak in absolutes, always and never – I’m telling you homosexuality, homosexual impulse is always prompted by an inner sense of emptiness. It’ not about sex,” Dr. Nicolosi tells audiences.“there is no such thing as a homosexual, just misbehaving heterosexuals who can reclaim their identity through prayer and therapy.”

And this is why the LGBT community is not okay with Paulk simply ‘moving on’ with his life. In a PQ interview, Roey Thorpe, former director of Basic Rights Oregon and a leader in the national LGBTQ rights movement through her job with the Equality Federation Institute, is familiar with Paulk’s work and words. She first heard about him when the Love Won Out tour came to Portland in June of 2003.

“It was aimed toward LGBT people, telling them that they could be cured by Christianity, but also toward our families, telling them that acceptance is not the loving thing to do, but instead pushing LGBT people to repent and change,” Thorpe said. She and BRO put on an alternative conference called Love Welcomes All, aimed at those hurt by the ex-gay movement.

Thorpe is concerned Paulk is currently pursuing catering work in Portland’s LGBTQ community without disclosing his past. She believes people have a right to know about his background.

“John Paulk isn’t just a conflicted man who hasn’t been able to reconcile his sexuality with his faith — we are all sympathetic to that and many of us have had that struggle. This is different,” Thorpe said.

“Thousands of young people have been forced into religious conversion programs, shamed into believing they are sinners. Families have been encouraged to reject their children, and queer kids end up on the streets or committing suicide.

Others live silently, filled with shame. This is how the Paulk family has made their living. I have dear friends who have been through hell and are still exiled from their families because of John Paulk. It’s important for people to know who they are doing business with.”

Paulk’s emailed PQ:

“Until recently, I have struggled all my life in feeling unloved and unaccepted,” Paulk said. “I have been on a journey during the last few years in trying to understand God, myself, and how I can best relate to others. During this journey I have made many mistakes and I have hurt many people including people who are close to me. I have also found a large number of people who accept me for who I am regardless of my past, any labels, or what I do.”

Paulk continued, “I no longer support the ex-gay movement or efforts to attempt to change individuals — especially teens who already feel insecure and alienated. I feel great sorrow over the pain that has been caused when my words were misconstrued. I have worked at giving generously to the gay community in Portland where I work and live. I am working hard to be authentic and genuine in all of my relationships.”

To this Thorpe replied:

“I believe that people can change and that we need to recognize change when it occurs,” she said. “But even though John may be personally reconsidering his views, the fact that he has remained silent and not publicly renounced the ex-gay movement has allowed Anne to continue to earn a living as an ex-gay leader who lies about her family and her husband. It’s appalling that his silence perpetuates her lies and the direct damage to LGBT people and our families. It’s good that he wants to help the community, but it is meaningless until he speaks out and puts a stop to the bad things that are happening because of this lie.

I believe in forgiveness. I also believe we should try to make amends whenever we realize we have hurt someone badly. John Paulk has the opportunity to help those he hurt, as well as help and millions of others, by condemning anti-gay groups such as Exodus, or at minimal, tell his story in a book or in public speaking — as he did when he was anti-gay crusading. If he is truly sorry, and he truly cares, here is his chance for redemption.

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Original Source: Business Journal 

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Author, Leslie Salzillo, is a political commentator, diarist, activist and visual artist. Salzillo often writes diaries in Daily Kos, and began contributing to in March 2013.