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One of the biggest ‘conversion therapy’ organizations in the US is closing forever

One of the biggest ‘conversion therapy’ organizations in the US is closing forever

  • ‘Ex-gay’ group Hope for Wholeness operates in at least 15 states.
Youth on a bench at sunset.

Prominent US ‘gay cure’ ministry, Hope for Wholeness, is disbanding after several ‘tumultuous years’.

Hope for Wholeness is based in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and boasts one of the biggest networks of ‘conversion therapists’ in the country.

It promises ‘freedom from homosexuality through Jesus Christ’. However leading psychological, psychiatric and health organizations around the world agree that ‘gay cures’ don’t work and can cause serious, lasting harm.

In a message to members, the Hope for Wholeness board said:

‘It has been a tumultuous several years for us. We lost the founding director, searched for two years for his replacement, hired a new director and then lost that director as well.

‘After much prayer and discussion, we have made the difficult decision to dissolve the organization. This was not an easy decision. But we do believe it is the right decision.’

‘Conversion therapy’ is sinking like the Titanic

It comes as efforts to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’ around the world are starting to gain ground.

There are already bans in 20 US states: New Jersey, California, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Nevada, Washington, Hawaii, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Colorado, Utah and Virginia as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Moreover, Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for the presidency, has promised he will ban the ‘therapies’ if he gets to the White House.

However, while the closure of Hope for Wholeness is a major victory for campaigners, the fight is not over yet.

The organization has said it will redirect any remaining funds when it closes to another ‘conversion therapy’ group. Its choice is Abba’s Delight in Louisville, Kentucky which says it deals with ‘unwanted same gender attractions’.

Indeed, Hope for Wholeness itself grew out of another failed ‘ex-gay’ organization – Exodus Interntional.

Exodus International was the leading organization in the field for decades, with 120 ministries in the United States and Canada.

It collapsed after its leader Alan Chambers declared that homosexuality cannot be ‘cured’ and admitted attempts to do so could be harmful.

Likewise, Hope for Wholeness’ founder McKrae Game, 51, resigned in 2017. He subsequently came out as gay and denounced the group.

Now he likens funding the ‘ex-gay’ movement to ‘throwing money at the Titanic as it’s taking water’.

‘Conversion therapy’ bans around the world

So is the end of ‘conversion therapy’ really in sight? Earlier this year, international LGBT+ organization ILGA World predicted 2020 could be a breakthrough year on the issue.

So far only Malta, Ecuador, Brazil, Taiwan and Germany have banned ‘conversion therapy’ in law.

Meanwhile Albania also banned the treatments this year. But its ban is not a law. It only covers therapy professionals and only carries professional sanctions.

However, there are partial, de-facto or regional bans in countries including China, Switzerland and Spain.

Moreover, a number of countries are considering a ban. They include the Netherlands, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and Chile.