We ran a residential programme called Steps Out Of Homosexuality. People came from all over Europe. I did feel attractions, but we believed wholesome friendship was the answer, so I turned my battles into a great cause.....
A few years later, we had to close our live-in discipleship houses, but I kept in touch with people afterwards and was dismayed to see what happened. Once people were on their own again, their world collapsed. Family and friends would say, "So, when are we going to hear wedding bells?" It never occurred to them that maybe you are gay because that's just the way you are. I began to see more people losing hope, getting severely depressed. One made a serious suicide attempt.
By the end of the 1990s, the only ones doing well were those who'd accepted they were gay and found a partner. It was as if a great burden had been shifted, that they thought, "Now at last I know who I am. I know I'm in love with somebody and they love me." I thought, this is the kind of result we hoped they'd achieve living an upright Christian life, but they're finding that contentment just being themselves. I began to think that perhaps we'd got it really wrong.
We need to be highlighting these movements--not the ex-gay movements, but the way Marks here advocates committed relationships held to the same standards as straight relationships. Yes, I know that many in the LGBT community don't see themselves as part of the historical patriarchal relationships of marriage, etc. That's fine. Lots of straights don't either. But too often, the opponents of equality assume all of us are promiscuous revolutionaries, and frankly, we aren't.
I still run Courage, but now it's with a belief that you can be gay and Christian. We offer a chance to meet other gay Christians and support committed same-sex relationships. It's been difficult for my wife, because she's naturally very concerned that I might therefore decide, "That's it, I want to go and find a man." But we're coming up to retirement age and I wouldn't feel happy just to leave her – feeling abandoned after all we've been through together. Ours may not be the traditional heterosexual romance, but the care for one another's wellbeing is just as real. I try not to look back, but I know I've missed out in a big way – and so has she. She should have been with some heterosexual guy who adored her, as she should be adored.