Well-Known “Conversion Therapist” Admits He’s Gay and Turns His Life Around

David Matheson, a former conversion therapist who designed numerous programs that sought to demolish gay feelings or tendencies, has come out as gay.

He apologized for his previous actions and has even announced he is now looking to have a gay relationship. The news was broken by Rich Wyler, founder of People Can Change organization, on a private Facebook group which fights for gay rights and the end of prejudice and discrimination:

“David… says that living a single, celibate life ‘just isn’t feasible’ for him, so he’s seeking a male partner. He has gone from bisexuality to exclusively gay.” 

David thanked Rich for the support and added that he would never regret the time he spent in a straight marriage and as part of the “ex-gay” community. He wrote:

“I remember most of it with fondness and gratitude for the joy and growth it caused in me and many others. But I had stopped growing and was starting to die. I wasn’t faking it all those years. I’m not renouncing my past work or my LDS faith. And I’m not condemning mixed-orientation marriages. I continue to support the rights of individuals to choose how they will respond to their sexual attractions and identity. With that freedom, I am now choosing to pursue life as a gay man.”

His controversial past still haunted him

Whilst David is unashamed and proud of who he is, his story has attracted some criticism; mainly about his time as a conversion therapist that had left numerous people emotionally and psychologically scarred. Chaim Levin was one such individual who is feeling the long lasting effects of David’s therapy. This is what he said about his experiences:

“While I am pleased for Mr Matheson that he has found a path forward for his life, I can’t help but think of the hundreds if not thousands of people who are still stuck in the closet, a closet that was created in part by Mr Matheson himself. I hope that Mr. Matheson will do whatever he can to rectify the harm that he’s inflicted on many people in the LGBTQ community, myself included.”

David has fought back against these claims, arguing that his therapy used all “standard, normal therapeutic principles” that forms the backbone of mainstream therapy. Nothing immoral happened behind closed doors. He claimed to use “cognitive therapy and emotion-based therapy, standard therapeutic approaches, with an emphasis on helping them feel more comfortable in their masculinity.”

His therapy didn’t come cheap

He was certainly a leader in his field; his qualifications set him above the rest with a Masters degree in Counseling and Guidance from Brigham Young University. He went on to start his own gay conversion centre where a 90-minute session would cost you an eye-watering $240. At the same time, he lead an organization named the Centre for Gender Affirming Processes. It was exactly what it said on the tin.

Although he is far happier within himself now, David is acutely aware of the prejudices that the gay community faces every day. In particular, he finds it difficult to deal with people who reject homosexuality completely and aren’t open to changing their opinion.

“For some people ‘gay’ is never going to work,” he mused, “That kind of life and that kind of living is never going to gel—ever—with their value system. For those men, that’s why we exist, so that they can have another way, another approach of dealing with their sexual feelings.”

Since coming out, David has experienced a “whole new growth process” and sees his journey as a “new life-giving path.” With this new perspective, he responds to individuals who struggle with their sexual identity with sympathy and understanding; a far cry from his Mormon days.


Photo credits: Newsweek, Dailymotion, Youtube, Pink News

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