Some Australian religious organisations are still attempting to “convert” LGBTI people to heterosexuality, despite recent closures of major ex-gay organisations internationally.
A recent report by the ABC uncovered ex-gay practices at Ramsgate Community Church in Sydney’s south, where Reverend Ron Brookman runs Living Waters, a group claiming to heal people with “damaged” sexuality.
Brookman runs a course that purports to help people who “struggle with gender confusion, homosexual, trans or bi-sexuality”.
“The aim of Living Waters is to call forth the true masculine or feminine, the true image of God in each one of us. This, in turn, enables us to put off the false ways we have learned to relate to others and to find God’s clarity in our confusing and sinful sexuality and patterns of relating to others,” the Living Waters website states.
Brookman himself describes his experiences growing up as a gay man and eventually “transforming” through religious experience, marrying a woman and having three children.
Experts have widely condemned “homosexual conversion” practices, arguing that not only are they unsuccessful, they can cause permanent psychological damage.
“Those people are being psychologically damaged at a very, very deep level and quite often that damage is with them forever,” psychologist and survivor of an ex-gay program Paul Martin told the ABC.
One of the world’s largest ex-gay organisations, Exodus International, closed down in May. The organisation’s former president Alan Chambers publicly apologised for any trauma caused by its conversion programs.