For decades, some children who have come out as gay have been sent to camps to try and "convert" them to be straight. These kids are subjected to horrific mental and physical abuse, where they are essentially told that who they love is wrong and that they need to change. McKrae Game was the leader of the faith-based conversion therapy group Hope for Wholeness in South Carolina, which was one of the largest conversion therapy groups in the country.
Even though Game spent 20 years running Hope for Wholeness, he was hiding a big secret of his own. He is also gay. As a teen, Game began realizing that he was attracted to other men, but tried to supress these feelings. Game received counseling from a therapist who said he could overcome his homosexuality. As he got older, Game continued to believe he would change, and most of his desire to do so came from his religious background.
“Because, in my mind, homosexuality and Christianity didn’t go together,” Game said. “And the very first thought was ‘now I can go to heaven and not hell.’ I guess my thought process was ‘this will become manageable.' My hope was to get to the point where I could lay this down, meet a girl, fall in love and have a family.”
The conversion therapy was abruptly fired from Hope for Wholeness in 2017, and many people wondered why. Then, Game publicly came out in June 2019. He's been extremely open about living his life as a gay man, and now he's issuing an apology to everyone who was affected by conversion therapy.
20yrs in exgay ministry
I WAS WRONG! Please forgive me! ❤️Unpacking the memories. In the discussions leading up to The Post & Courier coming to interview me, I’d told the young reporter that I’d still not unpacked from my having been fired. “It was just too painful. I’ve just been putting it off. “ It all had been stacked up in our home office, which is a wreck, thus taking it all up to the den. The young reporter asked, “Would u be willing to let us film you and me talk to u while u go through the boxes?” I said “I guess I could do that.”
It was very cathartic going through the boxes, explaining each item, book, and pictures, including one of me and Joseph Nicolosi—author of Reparative Therapy and late director of NARTH, Joe Dallas, and my counselor Dan Garvin of Solid Rock. I went through each item, one at a time: my plaque from my 2010 marathon, ordination certificate, a toy Hummer I used to explain coveting, and garden gnome that was underneath one of my many plants that were in my office.
Many books on understanding the roots of homosexuality, brokenness, sexual healing, Christianity, many Bibles, and my Hope for Wholeness badge I wore when displaying at conferences. Two cases of my book The Transparent Life. And my prize possession of my Promise Keepers hat that was signed by the men on the bus (to/from Bolder Colorado from Spartanburg, a 37 hr bus ride) that said me sharing changed their lives. He asked me after we got done what I would do with it all. I said I’d donate the normal books, throw away the books on homosexuality, keep the personal items like the embroidered Truth Ministry podium swath that someone (I don’t remember who) made for me.
He asked me why I’d keep the items. I said, “That was 20-26 years (20 in ministry leadership) of my life, it’s a large part of me (though its like a distant memory). I will want to keep them to remember.” The memories aren’t all bad. There’s many good memories. But I certainly regret where I caused harm. I know that creating the organization that still lives was in a large way causing harm. Creating a catchy slogan that put out a very misleading idea of “Freedom from homosexuality through Jesus Christ” was definitely harmful.
Promoting the triadic model that blamed parents and conversion or prayer therapy, that made many people believe that their orientation was wrong, bad, sinful, evil, and worse that they could change was absolutely harmful. People reported to attempt suicide because of me and these teachings and ideals. I told people they were going to Hell if they didn’t stop, and these were professing Christians! This was probably my worse wrongful act. At one time I was working with so many youth that I had a weekly youth group, where they’d share why they were there, and I would guide them in how to not be gay.
What a sad commentary of my past verses today, or a bad joke as many may see it. I believe all of these young men are now out/gay and one that I worked with for many years is married to a man and living in San Francisco. I hope to catch up with him. I believe I’ll message him today. Hopefully he’ll not be too angry with me.
When the reporter asked me if I’d like to see Hope for Wholeness shut down, I said I’d like all exgay ministry and conversion therapy counselors and organizations shut down. I told him I believed the only positive and productive use for HFW and exgay ministry is for those that believe that homosexuality is incongruent with their faith, to receive and have a community of like minded people so that they can live healthy lives, and in the end that was what I was trying to do.
Today, I’m thankful to have it all behind me. I plan to communicate with anyone, including media, that wants to speak with me. I’ll take advantage of any opportunity I get to share my experiences, and my belief that exgay ministry and conversion therapy IS HARMFUL. At some point I’ll write a book about my experiences and certainly a revision of my Transparent Life book, which I plan to offer the ones I have on Amazon soon. I’ll include a note with where I am today and my new beliefs and hope they do not take personally my words against homosexuality.
Largely the book is not about homosexuality, but how to live authentically honest and open, though at the time I had not fully grasped this concept myself. It’s all in my past, but many, way TOO MANY continue believing that there is something wrong with themselves and wrong with people that choose to live their lives honestly and open as gay, lesbian, trans, etc. The very harmful cycle of self shame and condemnation has to stop. It’s literally killing people!! Learn to love. Learn to love yourself and others. ❤️
In an interview with The Post, Game also called for the complete upheaval of conversion therapy, and said that the whole practice is a lie.
“Conversion therapy is not just a lie, but it’s very harmful,” Game said. “Because it’s false advertising.”
I think it's brave for Game to speak out against conversion therapy, especially knowing that he'll face major backlash.