Survivors of Ex-Gay Movement Uniting in Fort Lauderdale

"It was a disaster for me personally," said Kevin Schupp, speaking last week to South Florida Gay News about his time in an "ex-gay" group in Dania Beach. "The man teaching the so-called 'ex-gay' ministry had no clinical or theological training."

The program to which Schupp refers was the "Restoring Hope" ministry at Lighthouse Community Church -- a group affiliated with "Desert Stream Ministries," a Missouri outfit that claims to heal "sexual brokenness" by putting queers in touch with Jesus.

It didn't work for Schupp, who attempted suicide. He's on the rebound now and may well find himself at a new group, this one created by Dr. Jerry Stephenson -- a gay man and graduate of the North Florida Baptist Theological Seminary, who wants "people to accept themselves for whom they are as gays and lesbians and tell them God still loves them," according to SFGN.

Stephenson's "Coming Out of the Ex-Gay Movement Support Group" meets on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. at the Mission of St. Francis in Fort Lauderdale. I spoke with Stephenson, who told me his group was created to provide "mental, emotional, and especially spiritual healing" to its members. I asked why they "especially" needed spiritual healing, and he explained: "A lot of time, people leave the ex-gay movement and they never go back to the church." He said this as though it were a tragedy.

Never mind that the folks who attend his group wouldn't have had any trouble if they hadn't been so slap-happy on Jesus Juice in the first place. Whatever gets you through the night, I guess.

Follow The Juice on Twitter: @ TheJuiceBPB.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Brandon K. Thorp