Ex-Gay conversion therapy program Living Waters to close
Ron Brookman, Australian Director of Living Waters Australia (LWA), one of the longest running ex-gay/conversion therapy programs in Australia, has announced the group will cease operations next month.
Brookman made the announcement to followers via a newsletter last week. The closure of Living Waters Australia will mean only a handful of ex gay therapy organisations remain operational in Australia.
Anthony Venn-Brown, founder of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International, who has been monitoring Australian ex-gay activities for nearly two decades, welcomed the news, saying participants in these programs were often psychologically damaged by the ‘change is possible’ programs.
“It can take years to work through the trauma, shame and self-loathing,” Venn Brown told SX. “Some have even taken their own lives. The closure does mean that Christian people 'struggling with unwanted same sex attraction' will have fewer options and less people will be harmed. But it also means that we have to build bridges to the strugglers to help them reconcile faith and sexuality instead of being told they have to choose one or the other.
“Sadly, for the next twenty years we will no doubt be working with those previously damaged by the out dated message that homosexuality is a sin and God changes gay people to straight" Venn-Brown added.
Venn Brown said the closure of LWA is particularly significant as it was one of Australia’s most prominent and long lasting organisations. “In many ways LWA's closure is equivalent to Exodus International in the US shutting down" Venn-Brown said.
Venn Brown believes the days of ex-gay therapy organisations are drawing to a close in Australia as the number of gay Christians finding a place in welcoming and accepting churches continues to grow.
“The vast majority of Australians have an out, proud gay or lesbian brother, sister, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle, parent or grandparent, friend or work colleague. And to hear churches or religious organisations label them as sick, dysfunctional and broken is abhorrent, offensive and ignorant" Venn-Brown said.
LWA will close its doors after a final Thanksgiving Service at the Ramsgate Community Church on Saturday April 12.
Image: Reverend Ron Brookman