X-Outloud is a growing network across Europe of people who are no longer LGBT and a collection of their testimonies can be found in the ministry’s new book.
The timing of the book is significant as the UK and other parts of the world seek to ban so-called conversion therapy, jeopardising along with it legitimate help for people struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria.
While the narrative has been dominated by stories of harm, X-Outloud’s Matthew Grech, who used to be gay, and former trans Libby Littlewood say there are also many positive experiences of people overcoming same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria after receiving help.
They were involved in the creation of the new X-Outloud book and speak to Christian Today about why it’s so important that ex-LGBT voices are heard too.
There aren’t many books giving the testimonies of ex-LGBT. Is that why you decided to put this together?
Matthew: We were inspired by a book in the US called “Changed”, released by the Changed Movement. We felt very strongly that we need to be speaking about this and promoting and celebrating our testimonies in an extravagant way. And we think it’s helpful to do that through a collection of stories in a book like this that brings together people from various European countries and a few other nations as well.
Libby: It’s amazing that we have such a breadth of people, and the book is very relevant given the conversion therapy debate going on in the media, the political changes we are seeing, and even the backlash we are facing for posting on social media about our testimonies and Christian faith. That’s normal, it’s something we get a lot of, so it’s really nice to have the book as a resource at a time like this. It features 44 amazing people and what’s important about that is that it’s very easy for people, politically, to de-personalise this whole issue and say we are attacking LGBT people. But this ignores the fact that there are people from a whole range of backgrounds who are ex-LGBT and this is our lives we’re talking about. It’s important that institutional leaders understand that.
Matthew do you feel that the climate is hostile in Malta where you are?
Matthew: We have a different context because there is already a conversion therapy ban in place in Malta. In spite of this ban, I still get invited onto TV programmes to speak about the subject but what normally happens is that opponents tell the stations that they should not give me any airtime. Because, ultimately, what they really want to do is to cancel us. They don’t want us to have the right to speak about our point of view. And that’s very damaging because now most people are brainwashed to want to cancel those they disagree with. So opponents don’t actually stand for freedom of speech. Somehow these laws have created a culture where freedom of speech is at stake and that is what is so troubling about all this. For example, I have disabled comments on my TikTok platform because of the negativity.
Supporters of conversion therapy bans speak a lot about harm. What do you make of that?
Matthew: These days the thinking is: as long as you’re not harming anyone we will accept you. So what the LGBT lobby is trying to do is to convince people that our message is damaging and harming because it could supposedly force LGBT people into the closet. But I would argue that the LGBT message is harmful and I think our role is to give reasons for that and explain why encouraging young people to take puberty blockers is damaging, and why not giving young people different options or points of view is so harmful. Because if we remove the freedom to choose, then they are going to think that their only choice is to accept something they potentially don’t actually want to.