In a stunning about face, the founder of Hope for Wholeness, one of the most prominent gay conversion therapy groups in the United States, has criticised conversion therapy after coming out as gay.
McKrae Game, founder of the South Carolina-based therapy ministry, first came out in June. His admission came nearly two years after being ejected by the organisation’s board of directors in November 2017, from the ministry he founded 20 years ago.
In a new interview with The Post and Courier, Game said his ministry had “harmed generations of people”.
“Conversion therapy is not just a lie, but it’s very harmful,” he said.
“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?” he asked.
Game, 51, said the LGBTIQ community had been a pillar of support since coming out.
“Most people in the gay community have treated me ridiculously kind. Liking me for me now and not who I was.
“I hope they just give me the chance to talk to them so I can hear them out and apologise.”
While gay conversion therapy is starting to lose traction in the US, Hope for Wholeness still operates across at least fifteen states today.
Game is one of many former conversion therapy advocates who have come out as LGBTIQ and condemned the practice.
In a Facebook post from August 25, Game further recounted his experience as a conversion therapy minister, simply beginning the post with “please forgive me.”
“I certainly regret where I caused harm. I know that creating the organisation that still lives was in a large way causing harm,” the post continued.
“People reported to attempt suicide because of me and these teachings and ideals. I told people they were going to Hell if they didn’t stop.”
Game added that a groups like Hope for Wholeness could serve as a community for those who believe “homosexuality is incongruent with their faith.”
Survivors of Hope for Wholeness have found this sentiment unsettling.
32-year-old Greenville man Josh Crocker is a survivor of Hope for Wholeness and sought counsel from the ministry as a college student in 2006, when it was formerly known as the Truth Ministry. Crocker told The Post and Courier that he rejects Game’s sentiment, and believes that there is no aspect of Hope for Wholeness that would be of benefit to anybody.
“For me, I just think that’s inadequate … I think he should be afforded the time and space to process all the things he needs to process and become who he is,” he said.
“But I’d love for him to apply that same passion he had for Hope for Wholeness … to advocacy for the LGBTQ community … and to dismantle conversion therapy and ex-gay ministries.”
Former Pentecostal preacher, gay conversion therapy survivor and founder of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International (ABBI) Anthony Venn-Brown said that while some of Game’s comments are “clouded”, these developments are a part of the healing process for ‘ex-gay’ leaders and survivors.
“Over the years, I’ve worked with a number of ‘ex-gay’ leaders to help them come out. It’s a challenging process,” said Sydney-based Venn-Brown.
“Whilst former ex-gay leaders are coming out it’s not unusual for some of their vision to be clouded. Give it another 12 months and I’m sure McKrae will wish he never said that.
“These days there are plenty of places for people to work through issues of faith/sexuality conflict; an LGBTQA conversion organisation is not one of them,” he said.
“The next step is do what they can to repair the harm they’ve caused. I know that is McKrae’s intention.”