A group of formerly LGBT-identified persons marched to the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and staged a news conference. The 16 individuals are part of Church United and the Changed Movement. Joined by survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting, the men and women shared personal stories of transformation. Their intention is to open the eyes of lawmakers after the House passed a bill earlier this year that would bar citizens from accessing counseling and therapies for unwanted same-sex attraction.
The group was dressed in black T-shirts with “Changed” printed across the front. Members of the group took the microphone and shared their personal stories to members of Congress, the Senate and their staff. Their joint message: Do not support the “Equality Act,” if it ever reaches the floor for a vote.
According to Jim Domen of Church United, “There are bills behind us that are going to take away our rights.”
Domen spoke out about his personal experience after having lived as a gay man for 5 years. He shared that he had to deal with unwanted sexual attraction from men since he was in seventh grade. Now a changed man, he is married to a woman and has three kids. He attributes his former life to desperation borne out of a need for love.
He and his companions emphasized the need for people like them to have access to counseling and support. However, H.R. 5 or the so-called Equality Act will put restrictions on such therapies.
Despite the protest against the bill, Domen emphasized that his group is not against the LGBT community nor are they trying to take away the group’s rights. “I want to very clear about something, all of us here, we love, we absolutely love the LGBTQ community. We understand you. We know what it’s like. We’ve lived there, we’ve walked it. We’ve been from gay bars and back. We know the journey. We know the pain,” he said.
Another speaker Christopher Sims grew up in New York City. He was raped by his father who was a pastor. His mother abused him all his childhood until he was 13 when he had a chance to move out with his sisters. By the time he was 18, he finally went to church and met a God that his parents did not tell him about. Since then, he walked on the journey towards forgiveness and healing. Today he is the healthiest he has ever been, both emotionally and spiritually.
“And I want to say change is possible. People like me do exist,” Sims said.
According to Christian Post, the Equality Act is not likely to make it to the floor for a vote. The Trump administration and the dominantly Republican Senate Judiciary Committee is not inclined to back the bill.