“I’m a product of the 60s and you don’t even talk about your sexuality or gender in those days, I knew as soon as puberty hit that I was gay but no way to do anything about it or talk about even. I became a Christian in my late teens thinking it was a spiritual journey but to actually be genuine to myself, I didn’t know what to do so I thought I can’t be gay, I just can’t.
I dove into Christianity in an effort to change because I had heard that you could be changed, it was absolutely possible, from that point on I spent my whole life just radically attempting anything I could to become straight, normal. I ended up going through all sorts of things, all sorts of prayer therapies right through to deliverance therapies where they cast out the demons. The primary [message] is that you’re broken and God doesn’t like you like that, some go far as to say God can’t stand the sight of you, others will just say he loves you but he just wants to be normal which is now the primary focus of conversion therapy. A lot of it comes across as a very loving process but there’s still this element to it that you are broken and must be fixed.
My wife and I worked together [in conversion therapy], she had come from lesbian relationships. We had that background in common, we ended up joining an organization called Living Waters in the mid-’90s and we worked together, we’re both musicians so we’re sort of music leaders. We became work leaders and worked in good faith, in helping people but through all this time, this massive cognitive dissonance going on where I knew I was just as gay as I ever was, but you live in this repression, denial. It’s underneath everything in your life, part of it is this constant deep fear that I’d get found out and I’d be a fraud, I had to keep this front up all the time because I wasn’t allowed to be gay, my belief system said ‘sorry you can’t do it.'”–Former conversion therapist and now openly-gay activist Jim Marjoran, speaking to Kiwi morning show Breakfast about his life journey. Following the death of his wife, Marjoran realized he couldn’t change his sexuality. He now operates Silent Gays, a group working to expose the abuses of conversion therapy, and which works to ban the practice. New Zealand is expected to ban conversion therapy nationwide by the end of next year.