When John Paulk appeared on the cover of Newsweek in a 1998 article about the gay conversion therapy movement, read — turning gays straight — he became the poster boy for a highly controversial social topic. Now the man who’s written books about the movement has left his wife and has admitted he’s still gay.
Paulk founded and ran a ministry called Love Won Out based on what he called “reparative therapy.” He was also chairman of the board of Exodus International, one of the most well-known ex-gay organizations.
In an interview with PQ Monthly, Paulk has fundamentally backtracked on his stance and preachings as the 50-year-old looks for forgiveness from the LGBT community. “My beliefs have changed. Today, I do not consider myself ‘ex-gay,’ and I no longer support or promote the movement,” he said.
“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.”
His two books on the topic, Not Afraid To Change: The Remarkable Story Of How One Man Overcame Homosexuality and Love Won Out, were co-written by his wife, who also claimed to have rid herself of her own homosexuality. Paulk is encouraging everyone to stay away from his own writings and was adamant in stating that he no longer receives royalties from the publications.
Paulk’s former wife, Ann, still believes in reparative therapy and remains a vocal proponent according to PQ.