Jonathan Higbee's picture

World's Biggest Ex-Gay Group Shutting Down, Apologizing To The LGBT

The world's largest "ex gay" organization has announced that it will close up shop by the end of the year.

News that Exodus is shutting down isn't a huge surprise; after all, over the past year the group and its founders have started moving away from the whole "ex gay" promotion (at least in the U.S.). Still, the harm Exodus has caused untold numbers of gay Americans and their families is far too deep of a cut for a "going out of business" alert to repair.

But an apology is a good start.

Along with news of its imminent end, Exodus found Alan Chambers has issued an apology to the LGBT community on behalf of the group:

Never in a million years would I intentionally hurt another person. Yet, here I sit having hurt so many by failing to acknowledge the pain some affiliated with Exodus International caused, and by failing to share the whole truth about my own story. My good intentions matter very little and fail to diminish the pain and hurt others have experienced on my watch. The good that we have done at Exodus is overshadowed by all of this.

Friends and critics alike have said it’s not enough to simply change our message or website. I agree. I cannot simply move on and pretend that I have always been the friend that I long to be today. I understand why I am distrusted and why Exodus is hated. 

Please know that I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents. I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly “on my side” who called you names like sodomite—or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him that I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry that I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine. 

Reactions from the community have started to pour in:

“I pray that Alan Chambers is truly remorseful about the damaged and lost lives as a result of Exodus interventions," says Soulforce Executive Director Rev. Cindi Love. "Soulforce will never stop speaking up for our siblings who are vulnerable to the harm and spiritual violence caused by “ex-gay” ministries.  We are grateful for this development.  God loves us exactly as we are--we need no repair.  Anyone who continues to try and “fix” LGBT people makes a mockery of God’s love.”

"Alan Chambers, and the rest of the Exodus leadership, has fully and completely come to the realization that their so-called 'ministry' has done harm to thousands of people,” said Ross Murray, Director of GLAAD's News and Faith Initiatives. “They are coming to the right decision to end that harm now."

According to Exodus's closing statement, it appears the infrastructure of the notorious anti-gay group will remain, leaving many to wonder if it will simply rebrand. One possible rebranding is reducefear.org, which is linked to directly in the "we're shutting down" release.