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Reform Magazine | October 16, 2021

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I am… a survivor of conversion therapy

I am… a survivor of conversion therapy

A survivor of conversion therapy looks back

I grew up in a small village west of Edinburgh during the 80s and 90s. Knowing from a very early age that I was lesbian meant that I harboured a constant, painful secret. By the age of 14, the pain and the shame were pushed down deep, and a decade of alcohol and substance abuse beckoned until only two choices presented themselves: stay on this path and self-destruct, or give God a chance.

My sister encountered an old school friend who was a member at a local evangelical church. One thing led to another and we both decided to become members. Folks were lovely. Some of the biggest hearts I’d ever encountered. And that’s what makes this story so difficult to share.

There were things I heard on repeat during the first few months of my journey – things like ‘God loves the sinner but hates the sin.’ But isn’t God love? Where does the hate fit in?

During those first few months, I began counselling with my pastors in their home. In many ways, it was quite helpful – it was the first time I’d talked about my life. But we’d linger on my relationships with my mum and dad, and on my sexual abuse by a stranger when I was eight. These things, I was told, likely played a huge part in my ‘choice’ to be same sex attracted…

Christine Rarity-Middleton is Chair of West Lothian Pride

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This is an extract from an article published in the October 2021 edition of Reform

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