The founder of one of the largest conversion therapy programmes in the US has called the practice “harmful”. McKrae Game came out as gay during Pride month on Facebook, and his first interview since doing so was released today, September 4.
McKrae spent more than 20 years promising “freedom from homosexuality” to clients at his Hope for Wholeness centres where ‘conversion therapy’ practices were carried out.
Mr Game, from South Carolina, repeatedly said that LGBT+ people who did not change were doomed.
51 year-old McKrae has now admitted that the practice of suppressing or changing a person’s sexuality through counselling or religion does not work.
“Conversion therapy is not just a lie, but it’s very harmful,” he told The Post and Courier newspaper. “Because it’s false advertising.”
He added: “I was a religious zealot that hurt people. People said they attempted suicide over me and the things I said to them. People, I know, are in therapy because of me. Why would I want that to continue?”
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Mr Game was fired from his role at the Hope for Wholeness Centre two years ago, a programme which he founded in 1999 and estimates to have “treated” thousands of people.
He is now calling for the dissolution of ‘conversion therapy’ programmes.
“I can see how my life could have been used manipulatively, and I’m very sorry for that,” he said. “How can I count all the ways I did wrong? I don’t know that I can. But I’ve tried, and I’m trying.”
Conversion therapy has been banned in 18 American states. A report published by the Williams Institute found that 698,000 LGBT adults in the US have received conversion therapy at some point in their lives.
Investigative pieces in GCN and Hot Press magazine have shed a light on the practice of conversion therapies in Ireland. Organisations such as Courage International, who promote the use of ‘conversion therapies’, are currently active in the country and have been advertised through parish newsletters.
A bill which aims to make the practice of performing ‘conversion’ or ‘reparative’ therapies illegal in Ireland, is currently passing the various stages of the Dail. The bill would see fines for individuals providing the service and prison sentences in extreme organisational cases.
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