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Former ‘ex-gay’ activist says anti-gay therapy should be outlawed

Former ‘ex-gay’ activist says anti-gay therapy should be outlawed

LAST UPDATED // Wednesday, 30 July 2014 15:11 Written by // Andrew Shaw

A former ‘ex-gay’ activist in the US says she wants anti-gay therapies banned. 

Yvette Schneider was an out lesbian until she became a Christian, and spent almost 15 years as ‘proof’ that homosexuality could be overcome.

Schneider joined the Family Research Council to lobby against same-sex marriage, supported the Prop 8 marriage ban and regularly appeared as the face of the ex gay movement. 

Now, in two lengthy interviews with GLAAD, Schneider says she no longer wishes to identify with the 'ex-gay' movement, is sorry for the pain she caused as part of that world, is highly questioning of the idea of 'ex-gay' itself, and is fully supportive of LGBT people.

“Before I became a Christian, I was open and proud about my sexuality,” Schneider told GLAAD.

“I never hid my partners from my work colleagues or from my mom and sister. When my girlfriend and I exchanged rings and my mom asked us to take them off when my sister brought her boyfriend home from the east coast to visit, I refused.”

But Schneider said once she became a Christian she felt ashamed about her ‘deviant’ sexuality.

“This may sound bizarre to some people — how I so quickly went from pride to shame — but when you’ve had a spiritual experience and seek to understand it by finding pastoral help, it’s easy to fall into the trap of seeing them as the experts, and believing their interpretation of certain Biblical passages without taking the larger picture into consideration.”

Schneider has now distanced herself from the movement and is questioning the validity of efforts to change sexual orientation.

She said even when she was in the 'ex gay' movement she refused to date men who identified as 'ex gay'.

"Many people I knew suspected all along that change — true change where all same-sex attractions disappear or become rare and incidental, and heterosexual attractions take their place — never happened," she explained.

"I can say I’ve never met an 'ex-gay' man I thought was not still attracted to men, and would not go back to gay relationships under the right circumstances. One of my colleagues tried to fix me up with an 'ex-gay' man when I was still single. I said, 'No way. I have no interest in dating an ex-gay man. I don’t trust that they’re actually ex-gay.'"

Schneider supports legislative efforts to ban the scientifically discredited practice known as sexual orientation change therapy or "reparative therapy”.

"These types of bans need to progress throughout the nation as quickly as possible," she said.

"Not only is the efficacy of change therapy dubious at best, but the type of therapy this legislation bans is specifically for minors. It’s damaging to take a child who is questioning his or her sexuality, or who may display qualities that are not in line with what our society considers normative for their gender, and communicate to the child - and parents - that there is something wrong with him, that in some way he or she is deficient."

Read the full interview on the GLAAD website.


Andrew Shaw

Andrew Shaw

Andrew Shaw is editor of Queensland Pride.

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