“Ex-gay” preacher Sy Rogers died yesterday morning after a long struggle with kidney cancer.
Rogers rose to notoriety as a member of Exodus International in the 1980s. He claimed to have lived life as a gay man, and later, as a transgender woman, before undergoing a religious awakening. He spoke at length about his “conversion” throughout the 1980s, 90s and 2000s. He also spoke about his extremely abusive childhood, having grown up with an alcoholic mother and an emotionally distant father. Rogers also claimed to have been bullied for his effeminate manner, and to have been sexually abused.
Rogers later met his wife, Karen, in a Bible study. They wed in 1982. The couple had several children and grandchildren together. The family would relocate to Singapore in the mid-80s to open a ministry in hopes of using conversion therapy to combat the AIDS crisis.
Though he gained fame as an advocate of conversion therapy, Rogers would distance himself from his “ex-gay” messaging after the closure of Exodus International in 2013. He began to preach a more generic message about salvation through Christianity. Exodus subsequently apologized for the harm it did to the LGBTQ community, though Rogers never did personally.