The founder of Hope for Wholeness: "We have harmed generations of people.”
A once highly ranked advocate and founder of Hope for Wholeness, conversion therapy program, has come out as gay and against the practice in a new interview by The Post and Courier.
McKrae Game was the executive director of the group for almost 20 years, after he was fired in late 2017, he came out. That was back in June and now he's opening up about his experience, something he's not very proud of.
"I was a religious zealot that hurt people,” said Game, a former Southern Baptist minister. “People said they attempted suicide over me and the things I said to them. People, I know, are in therapy because of me. Why would I want that to continue?”
“Conversion therapy is not just a lie, but it’s very harmful,” he added. “Because it’s false advertising.”
The practice of conversion therapy and Ex-gay, or "pray the gay away" treatments have been proven to be harmful. In fact, respected medical and mental health organizations have denounced the practice which can involve anything from psychoanalytic therapy to spiritual interventions. The United States is slowly banning the practice; 18 states have made it illegal. However, non-licensed religous councilors in any state can still provide treatment to kids and adults.
Game, 51, says he knew he was gay at an early age and even had a same-sex relationship in his late teens, but the pressure of growing up in a Southern Baptist household left him wrought with anxiety and fear. This led to what he says was a nervous breakdown which in turn forced him to seek comfort among evangelical Christians in 1993.
“Because, in my mind, homosexuality and Christianity didn’t go together,” he told The Post and Courier. “And the very first thought was ‘now I can go to heaven and not hell.’”
Perhaps because of these deep-rooted fears and consternation stemming from the church, Game married a woman in 1996; he says his attraction to men was still present. After completing a conversion therapy program through the highly controversial and now dead organization Exodus International, Game started his own group called Truth Ministry.
He admits his program taught people that homosexuality was a "developmental disorder.” Through the years, Game says thousands have gone through his program.
“We have harmed generations of people,” he said.
He and his wife are still married and have two children, she knows he is gay and wished to remain out of the media.
After all was said and done, Game took to Facebook and apologized, although not all the responses have been supportive, the majority have offered positive feedback.
"Most people in the gay community have treated me ridiculously kind,” Game said, “liking me for me now and not who I was. And I hope they just give me the chance to talk to them so I can hear them out and apologize.”
In 2017, San Diego was the site for the giant conversion therapy organization Restored Hope Network's (RHN) annual conference.
Jerry Reiter, who has been involved with exposing reparative therapy and ex-gay groups from the beginning told San Diego Gay and Lesbian News at the time that he is a survivor of ex-gay therapy, “it was a scam that sucked $41,000 from me, but did not work."