In 2001, Tharunka reported that the year before leading American ex-gay John Paulk was photographed in a gay bar.
Odds & Sods: snippets of queercentric news coverage from Australian media in years gone by.
- claim they formerly identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual but subsequently transformed into happy shiny heteros.🤪
- sometimes forge lucrative careers exploiting troubled queers who believe they can be guided/coaxed/coerced/prayed/medicated back to the straight and incredibly fcking narrow.
- first gay, lesbian or bisexual, then wannabe heterosexual, and finally gay/lesbian/bi again.
- the reversion to the individual’s authentic orientation sometimes results from self-realisation (preferable). But, all too often, it occurs after the convert is revealed as ex-gay in name only.
- sometimes transition seamlessly from careers as ex-gays to careers as ex-ex-gays.🤔
Tharunka described John Paulk as perhaps America’s best-known ex-gay. Allegedly an $80-an-hour male sex worker sometimes known as Candi, he found God and subsequently married a former lesbian. John Paulk founded an ex-gay ministry and wrote an autobiography about changing his sexual orientation. He and Anna Paulk appeared on the cover of Newsweek. They even shared the couch with Oprah on her television show.
But in 2000, a patron recognised him in a Washington DC gay bar. John Paulk later claimed he only stopped at the bar to use the toilet. He denied knowing it was a gay bar. However, he stayed an hour and, according to eyewitness accounts, flirted with other male patrons.
Paulk later left the ex-gay movement, acknowledged the harm done by conversion therapy and apologised for his past actions. He and Anna Paulk divorced and John now identifies as both a Christian and a gay man.
That is great. People can change. Not their sexual orientation but they can learn self-acceptance and realise the destructive nature of conversion therapy.
After years as a professional ex-gay, John Paulk did not transition to a career as a professional ex-ex-gay and instead works in catering. He features in the 2021 documentary Pray Away.
We call this ‘former’ gay an xxx-gay because he consistently does the one thing he tells others not to do — gives himself over to the absolute pleasure of gay sex.
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