Ex-Gay John Paulk Now Officially Gay, Officially Sorry

John PaulkA week after his half-assed apology, ex-gay poster boy John Paulk put his whole ass into it by issuing the following statement, renouncing his ex-gay past and apologizing for the harm he caused:

For the better part of ten years, I was an advocate and spokesman for what’s known as the “ex-gay movement,” where we declared that sexual orientation could be changed through a close-knit relationship with God, intensive therapy and strong determination. At the time, I truly believed that it would happen. And while many things in my life did change as a Christian, my sexual orientation did not.

So in 2003, I left the public ministry and gave up my role as a spokesman for the “ex-gay movement.” I began a new journey. In the decade since, my beliefs have changed. Today, I do not consider myself “ex-gay” and I no longer support or promote the movement. Please allow me to be clear: I do not believe that reparative therapy changes sexual orientation; in fact, it does great harm to many people.

I know that countless people were harmed by things I said and did in the past, Parents, families, and their loved ones were negatively impacted by the notion of reparative therapy and the message of change. I am truly, truly sorry for the pain I have caused.

From the bottom of my heart I wish I could take back my words and actions that caused anger, depression, guilt and hopelessness. In their place I want to extend love, hope, tenderness, joy and the truth that gay people are loved by God.

Today, I see LGBT people for who they are–beloved, cherished children of God. I offer my most sincere and heartfelt apology to men, women, and especially children and teens who felt unlovable, unworthy, shamed or thrown away by God or the church.

I want to offer my sincere thanks to everyone who encouraged me to take this initial step of transparency. Even while promoting “ex-gay” programs, there were those who called me on my own words and actions. I’m sure I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but they have helped me to realize this truth about who I am.

This is a life transition that has been and will continue to be, challenging. Sadly, my marriage of 20 years is in the process of ending. I want to take the time to make sure my next actions come from a place of truth and authenticity. Therefore, I’m drastically limiting my public engagement until my own personal life can be settled. After that I eagerly anticipate giving back to the community.

Finally, I know there are still accounts of my “ex-gay” testimony out there being publicized by various groups, including two books that I wrote about my journey. I don’t get any royalties from these publications, and haven’t since I left the ministry nearly ten years ago. I discourage anyone from purchasing and selling these books or promoting my “ex-gay” story because they do not reflect who I am now or what I believe today.

Paulk’s estranged wife Ann issued a statement of her own, in which she offers her prayers and wishes him the best. The two are currently in the middle of a divorce and we can’t help but think this may have something to do with it.

What do you think of Paulk’s apology? Too little too late or better late than never?

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  • CaptainFabulous

    Seems heartfelt. Better late than never.

  • NateB79

    I’m sure that I’ll be lambasted for this but what the hell? I really feel kind of sorry for him and figure that it’s better late than never that he renounces this reparative therapy business and maybe actually be someone that people stuck in this situation can look to as an example of getting out.I know this guy went around claiming that he was healed of his homosexuality, but I guess knowing extremely devout people, I can understand why you would work so hard to try to be “normal” to the point where you lie to yourself and everyone around you. He got sucked into a system that promised to give him the love, support, and acceptance he so obviously craved that he was willing to dedicate his life to what the church wanted. We’ve all been in the same boat where we just want people to accept us, and I feel that he was misguided and deserves to be able to apologize. Everybody makes mistakes. I think he was a victim as much as anyone else that has had to suffer through this “therapy” and we should accept his apology.

  • Frank

    Small comfort to the many damaged lives, as well as those ended by suicide. Anger, depression, guilt, and hopelessness are just the tip of the iceberg as far as the destruction he created. When someone uses their personal faith to tell others how to live their lives, no good comes from it. I can think of dozens of suicide notes and gladly trade any one of them for his. His personal journey took more than 20 years. Forgiveness takes time too.

  • 2eo

    @Frank: Indeed, we are too easy on those who’ve dealt actual damage. In the case of PaulK here directly responsible for the suicides of people. This is his burden, and he should try and make amends.

    His past will not be forgotten, he has to accept that the best he’ll ever get to is neutral, the man has caused too much pain to just gloss it over with a couple of press releases, no matter how sincere.

    An apology is still only words. Those words won’t bring anyone back, he needs to start taking positive steps, apologising is merely putting his shoes on for the very long walk.

  • kurt_t

    If you heap scorn and recrimination on people who leave the ex-gay movement, you create an incentive for people to stay in it. If you treat them with compassion, forgiveness and understanding, you create an incentive for people to get out of it. Personally, I’d like to see more people get out of it.

  • ted72

    You said it best. Thank you for reminding me and others. I was thinking the same as others and about to attack the poor soul. If we attack him, we’d be no better than the fundies for attacking us for centuries.

  • gaymaniac

    Better late than never, but this whole thing shows only that the community’s worst enemies are gays themselves. They simply can’t deal with it and try to make all the rest of us suffer as they do. I hope Santorum gets dragged out of the closet sonner than 2023.

  • dvlaries

    You’re right, we don’t have to attack him, but we don’t necessarily need him in the public eye for anything either, do we?
    Fine. He apologized. Now go live a private life, all good to luck to you, and let us start to forget you, will ya?

  • kookookachoo

    I tend to agree that we should accept his apology and move on. I’d like to see a special apology to all of us who told him “shame on you, shame on you” at the time tho lol. As an old militant gay atheist, I don’t like all this God stuff in his statement. The church, especially the Christian church in the USA, has done so much damage to us, and still does so. Why doesn’t he see and understand that? It’s what underlies his entire “journey”. He still doesn’t get it, he doesn’t get to make up his own religion that magically accepts us. Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

  • Hillers

    @kurt_t: Well said, indeed! I mean, no one’s going to be nominating him as the grand marshal of their Pride parade anytime soon, but better that he be out of that movement and renouncing it rather than contributing to its validation.

    Next up: Mike Glatze. Come on down!

  • Cam

    My only issue with this is…

    He had major baggage. Fine I get it, The problem is, he used his baggage to found and support a movement that caused massive damage to others.

    Perhaps he should think about working HALF as hard repairing some of that damage as he did in creating it.

  • GayTampaCowboy

    Ok, fine, he apologized. Good.

    But, i want to know WHY after 20 years did he all of a sudden want to do this? A few ideas come to mind:
    1)His WIFE caught him cheating, or, someone recognized him from his A4A, Manhunt, Grindr profile OR a CraigsList ad?


    2) He met a guy and fell in love and HAS to come out OR he’ll bring the wrath of MANY parties in this mess of what he calls a life.

    I’m going to be watching what he does and says AFTER he’s divorced! There’s MORE to this “coming out/apology” than meets the eye!

  • thisisimportant

    It seems quite simple. this guy is a self-serving egoist. His behaviour might be interpreted as that of someone with a narcissistic personality disorder. He was into himself before becoming ex-gay, whilst he was ex-gay, and now again. Do not give him the air/media time.

  • Polaro

    He’s a tool. He screwed himself up a lot too and was used. Forgive him? Yes. Forget what he did? Never.

  • MuscleModelBlog.com

    Although I think that his apology is sincere, I think that more people would accept it if he actively worked against the ex-gay movement that he used to be a part of.

  • boring

    Every time I see this guy’s name in a headline I go WAIT, WHAT’S THIS ABOUT JOHAN PAULIK? DID WE TAKE A TIME MACHINE BACK TO MASTURBATION IN 1996?

  • LadyL

    His apology does seem very heartfelt. Ultimately though I throw in my lot with those who are waiting to see what he does (not says) next. He could be a powerful ally for us all if, after his personal life is “settled,” he becomes as vocal and active advancing LGBT empowerment as he once was condemning it.

  • balehead

    You don`t have to attack him…but you shouldn`t give him media coverage either!!!

  • Caliban

    Here’s the question I have. He was very much the public face of the “ex-gay” movement for a long time, paraded around as their success story. So is he willing to put the same amount of energy into publicizing that all that was a lie?

    When he was “ex-gay” he was on the cover of Newsweek, selling the idea to the public that it was both possible and desirable to “overcome” ones homosexuality. Now that he’s repudiated all that the only place I’ve seen it on gay blogs like this. Not exactly equal, ya know?

  • jestgr

    I remember when I was first teased about being gay. I denied it even though I didn’t know what it meant. I denied it because of the way it was presented to me. It was something bad or wrong and I was going to get beat up if I said I was gay. When I finally realized what it meant to be gay, I continued to deny it. I was raised in a strict Southern Baptist family with an abusive father. I denied it because it was expected of me. I denied it because it was what I had always done. I denied it because it was wrong. These were the messages I grew up with. When I finally figured out I was gay, I continued to deny it, even spoke out against it. I attended a Southern Baptist school and was planning on entering the ministry. I was indoctrinated into not just the Southern Baptist belief, but also into the bullying of the playground cowards and the beatings of an angry father. As a result, I, unfortunately, came out very late. The last thing I needed was more abuse from someone for not standing up sooner. We all have our stories. We all have our personal tragedies and our personal triumphs. Our strengths and weaknesses. The best way to beat the Christians is to be better at it than they are, even if you don’t believe in a God at all. It’s just so simple. Offer forgiveness. Celebrate love. Welcome those who finally find their way. Aren’t the absences of these virtues in the Christian faith what we usually criticize them for? And yet we want to turn around and treat someone the same way? I wish I had come out when Fire Island was in its prime. I wish I could have marched in the parades when I was young and beautiful. But life is what it is and it’s not worth regrets. Just enjoy life. Enjoy each other. Celebrate together. Leave the negativity to others. I hope this makes sense.

  • greyhound1954

    I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, like an announcement that Paulk has a book coming out. Cynical, yes, but even if he hasn’t written something, he will now be in demand on talk shows.

  • glitterbang

    He sure has glammed himself up, hasn’t he? It’s a night & day difference!

  • hf2hvit


  • Elloreigh

    No apology can undo the damage the ex-gay movement has done and continues to inflict upon families. But I applaud the effort.

  • Ogre Magi

    He is just one of the many victims of christianity, one of the two foulest religions on earth!

  • Niall

    Was that horrendous hairdo he’s spotting in the pic before or after his coming out?

  • Aidan8

    Seems heartfelt and might be completely honest. I guess we all learn and evolve, some in ways that really hurt a lot of people. So, ok, good that he broke free and made a heartfelt apology. Still…. I’d have a hard time not kicking him in the balls if I saw him in person. (and I’m not a violent person… he just evokes that in me)

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