After twenty years of pushing the dangerous practices of ex-gay conversion therapy onto thousands of people in the LGBTQIA+ community, former conversion therapy leader McKrae Game has admitted he’s gay.
Game called faith-based conversion therapy “false advertising” to Post & Courier on Friday (Aug 30). The 51-year-old is adjusting his new life after he officially came out in June and cut all ties with Hope for Wholeness (previously known as Truth Ministry). Game dedicated over two decades of his life to the organization by counseling members of the LGBTQIA+ community and shunning homosexuality in South Carolina.
“I was a religious zealot that hurt people,” Game said. “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?”
Game shared how his battle with coming out began as a young man. At 11-years-old he believed he was attracted to other boys and would oftentimes wear his sister’s clothes. It wasn’t until he turned 18 that he had an intimate relationship with a man and began socializing in gay circles.
“I was blown away. I had major butterflies in my stomach,” Game said about his first time in a gay club. “I was talking to people whose stories … sounded a lot like mine.”
After feeling a sense of guilt for his lifestyle, he attended church and sought counseling for his attraction to men. He went on to marry a woman in his church and later help create Hope for Wholeness, aligning himself with Joseph Nicolosi — the man considered to be the founding father of modern-day conversion therapy.
“Conversion therapy is not just a lie, but it’s very harmful,” Game said. “We have harmed generations of people.”
Game recently took to Facebook to apologize for his actions and condemned the actions of conversion therapy practices and ex-gay ministries. He’s met with some of the people he previously counseled to mixed results.
Game is just one of many ex-gay leaders who have come out or called for the dissolution of conversion therapy across the nation. David Matheson, formerly of Journey into Manhood, came out in January. He blamed the Mormon church for their “shame-based, homophobic-based system.”
A Colorlines piece by Darren Calhoun titled “How I Survived ‘Ex-Gay’ Conversion Therapy” broke down the fatal side effects of conversion therapy which include depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicide.
“Also called “ex-gay” or “reparative” therapy, conversion therapy like the kind I survived is ineffective and harmful,”Calhoun wrote. “My faith community was everything to me. I trusted this pastor to be my spiritual advisor, even as the things he said to me became more and more terrible and isolated me from friends and family. At one point he told me that the devil wanted me to be “full of AIDS” as if HIV/AIDS were a punishment for being gay. I spent two years under his strict control in Indiana—one of 37 states without laws to protect youth from this practice.”
A total of 18 states and Washington, D.C., have banned the practice of conversion therapy for minors. South Carolina isn’t one of those states.