Top US 'gay conversion therapist' comes out as gay

One of the most prominent "gay conversion therapists" in the US has come out as gay and divorced his wife.

David Matheson was raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah, and became an famous practitioner of "reparative therapy", which claims it can change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

But Mr Matheson says throughout this time he secretly struggled with his sexuality.

"I enjoyed a happy and fulfilling marriage with my wife for many years. Overall, it was a beautiful relationship and being straight became a core part of my identity," he wrote on Facebook.

"But I also experienced attractions to men. Much of the time these were in the background. But sometimes they were very intense and led to pain and struggle in my marriage."

He has broken up with his partner and apologised for the pain his actions have caused.

"Any shortcomings I had as a therapist came from too narrow a view of what 'emotionally healthy' can look like," he wrote.

"They came from my own homophobia and narrow-mindedness. I am truly sorry for those flaws and the harm they have surely caused some people."

LGBTQ charity Truth Wins Out founder Wayne Besen told NBC News that Mr Matheson used to be the go-to expert for the conversion therapist movement.

"When your expert is now coming out of the closet and dating men, I think that speaks volumes about how [the] therapy is damaging and ineffective."

Nearly 700,000 LGBTQ adults in the US have received "conversion therapy" - and it's a practise that's come under scrutiny in New Zealand.

A new Labour party member, Marja Lubek, has put forward a Bill aiming to ban the practice.

"This sort of practice does harm to people, and it doesn't do any good. In fact, it makes the job for practitioners harder because they see a lot of harm that they have to undo."


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