Conversion Therapy Survivor Survey Results

Why Would Anyone Try Conversion Therapy?

As I’ve been performing research for my book on sexual orientation change efforts, I’ve followed the work of Dr. Jallen Rix, sexologist and author of Ex-Gay No Way.

Dr. Rix and his colleagues surveyed men and women who have engaged in conversion therapy.

This blog post explores the answers to the following question (as presented on the Conversion Therapy Survey):

What were the reasons (the motivations) you tried to follow an ex-gay path?

Many people, both gay and straight, are baffled by the concept that people would actually pay money to go to therapy to change their sexual orientation.

This question explores the “why” behind the choice to try to change a person’s orientation.

The Conversion Therapy Survey Answers

415 people answered this question on Dr. Rix’s survey.

When asked why they tried conversion therapy (in other words, why they tried to change their sexual orientation through therapy), people gave the following responses:

  • Over 300 people believed God wanted them to change their orientation from gay to straight
  • Just under 300 people believed they would be condemned (by God) if they did not successfully change their orientation
  • Just under 300 people reported societal pressure to conform to heterosexuality
  • Just under 250 people reported fear of losing friends and family
  • Just over 200 believed they were “sexual deviants” and such deviation from the norm was morally wrong
  • Just about 225 reported feeling self hatred for being gay
  • Approximately 100 reported they didn’t think there was any other option but to try to change

You can read the actual responses here.

Why This Conversion Therapy Survey Matters to Me

I’ve been working on a book about ex-gay ministry experiences, motivated initially by the story of a dear friend of mine who denied his sexual orientation for over 30 years before coming out.

It’s important to understand why people would be willing to spend thousands of dollars and years of their lives trying to suppress or change their sexual orientation from gay to straight. Once we understand why people feel pressured to do this, we can provide the support needed to alleviate that pressure.

Thank you, Dr. Rix, for conducting this survey and posting the results online! May this result in positive change!