Jeffrey McCall, the founder of “ex-gay” group Freedom March, has confessed to having multiple hookups with men since last year.
McCall claims to have lived as a gay male sex worker, and then as a transgender woman named Scarlett, before renouncing his sexuality and gender identity and founding Freedom March.
The group, which came to Washington, D.C. this summer (coincidentally right as gay bars fully reopened), holds ex-gay rallies across the country where they falsely claim that the “grace and power of Jesus Christ” can “free” LGBTQ people.
But in a post last month on his Facebook page, McCall told his supporters that he had engaged in “multiple” sexual encounters with men since 2020.
“In 2020 I met someone that I was trying to help…which lead to me being unfaithful to Jesus and giving my heart away,” he wrote.
“After denying what I wanted with him I then went on to fall sexually with a man when I felt wounded and lonely. This lead to multiple falls with men over time.”
McCall said that none of the men he had sex with were “Christians or people from ministry” and claimed that every time he “fell” he would “truly repent and turn away again.”
In an added flourish, he claimed to “feel Gods [sic] love, mercy, and forgiveness sometimes before I could even finish the prayer.”
Rather than admit widely debunked conversion therapy doesn’t work, McCall is instead doubling down on his grift, claiming that having sex with multiple men has helped him to “feel like I’ve grown so much spiritually” and made his “relationship with the Lord…even stronger.”
McCall said he has “no plans or desires to return to my old life. If anything it makes me never want to fall into that sin ever again.”
His Facebook post was spotted by Truth Wins Out, an organization dedicated to fighting anti-gay religious extremism and the ex-gay movement.
The organization condemned McCall, calling him a “hypocritical fraud” and demanding that Freedom March “permanently shut down and stop conning people into believing that they can ‘pray away the gay.'”
“Jeffrey McCall is a self-serving con artist who runs a fraudulent organization that preys on vulnerable and desperate LGBTQ people who grow up in religious homes,” Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen said in a statement.
“If McCall had an ounce of integrity he’d apologize for his rank hypocrisy and shut down his odious Freedom March racket before it ruins more lives. McCall’s own actions prove that he has no ability to ‘help’ anyone, starting with himself.”
Besen added: “It seems that the real message of the Freedom March is that copious amounts of closeted gay sex is okay, as you feel bad about it and pray after each encounter. This is a tragic, pathological, toxic group that spews dangerous lies into our society.”
Besen continued: “The Freedom March has been exposed as a false front and the only respectable outcome from McCall’s revolting revelation is for these dishonest events to end.”
McCalll was part of a group of ex-gay activists who descended on D.C. this summer — right as LGBTQ bars reopened fully during the pandemic — purportedly to complain about conversion therapy bans and LGBTQ rights. The activists claimed to have “left LGBTQ because we wanted to.”
Unfortunately for them, conversion therapy — which can include extreme methods such as electroshock or aversion therapy — has been widely debunked and found to be detrimental to the mental health of LGBTQ people subjected to it.
Last year, the United Nations urged a global ban on conversion therapy, labeling it “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment” and saying it “may amount to torture depending on the circumstances.” In December, more than 370 religious leaders from around the globe called on lawmakers to ban conversion therapy.
Research has found that conversion therapy more than doubles the risk of suicidal ideation among gay and bisexual adults, while transgender people subjected to conversion therapy as children are four times more likely to attempt suicide.
In addition, a number of former “ex-gay” leaders, who touted the efficacy of conversion therapy, have since come out as gay and decried the practice, admitting the harm it can cause to LGBTQ people.
McKrae Game, South Carolina faith-based conversion therapy organization Hope for Wholeness, last year admitted that he was gay and said the ex-gay movement was not only “a lie,” but also “very harmful.”
In February 2020, David Matheson, a former “ex-gay” advocate who spent years promoting conversion therapy to LGBTQ Mormons, finally admitted that the practice does not work and should be stopped.
In an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 News, Matheson said that conversion therapy “just can’t” change a person’s sexual orientation, that it “should be stopped” in the U.S., and expressed regret over the harm caused to LGBTQ people by his work.
In January 2020, John Smid — former executive director of Love in Action, a conversion therapy organization — stated that the practice does not work and should be stopped.
Smid, who inspired a character in conversion therapy drama Boy Erased, wrote in a column for the Advocate that organizations still advocating for the practice in 2019 “blithely disregard the mountain of evidence” against it.
And in 2013, Alan Chambers, president of conversion therapy umbrella organization Exodus International, came out as gay and shuttered Exodus for good.
Speaking to Metro Weekly in 2016, he said that people should be warned against conversion therapy: “This is not something that’s going to work. This is dangerous. It creates shame. It is not something that is going to produce an orientation change in you.”
Chambers said that conversion therapy should be banned for adults, not just minors, and unlike Matheson, both he and Smid are working to make amends for the damage inflicted by their work.
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