A roomful of “ex-gay” survivors confronted Alan Chambers, the president of the ex-gay ministry Exodus International, during a powerful episode of Our America.
Last year, Chambers began leading Exodus away from supporting therapies aimed at “curing” gay men and lesbians of their sexual orientation. Chambers, who at one point starred in ads for the ministry touting “change is possible,” reversed course, saying such therapies do not work and revealing that his attractions to other men have not faded.
On Wednesday, Chambers apologized for promoting such therapies and announced the shuttering of Exodus, which bills itself as the world's oldest and largest “ex-gay” ministry.
The following day, cabler OWN aired an Our America special on the group in which Chambers is confronted by a roomful of “ex-gay” survivors, including Michael Bussee, who help found Exodus.
In the segment, Chambers attempts to rationalize his work by suggesting that some people were helped.
“There is a real demographic of people who chose the life that I've chosen,” Chambers, seated next to his wife, told the group. “There are people who are looking to live celibate lives. And there are small numbers of people like me who will get married. And so, for that group of people we're there. Not to tell them that change is possible or to wave the magic wand over them, but to provide a place of community for them.”
A female “ex-gay” survivor disagreed, calling Chambers a “cult” leader.
“And you say there are people like us still out there. Absolutely there are. You can always prey on the vulnerable. There will always be vulnerable people. That's what cult leaders do.”