Freedom March Highlights Survivors of Bullets and Therapy Bans

June 3, 2019

The second annual “Freedom March,” featuring men and women who formerly identified as homosexual or formerly identified as transgender, was held in Washington, D.C. on May 25. They celebrated freedom from homosexuality and freedom from gender confusion with a rally and worship time at the Sylvan Theater (an outdoor amphitheater), followed by a march, on the grounds of the Washington Monument.

A highlight of the event was the testimony offered by two survivors of the 2016 shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub called Pulse. (The shooting, in which 49 people were killed, was carried out by Islamist terrorist Omar Mateen; law enforcement authorities concluded there was no evidence he had targeted Pulse because of its gay-identified clientele.) Angel Colon and Luis Javier Ruiz were both at the Pulse nightclub that night (and Colon was wounded), but both have since committed their lives to Christ and renounced a “gay” identity. They have formed a ministry called “Fearless Identity” to bring “hope and understanding to the LGBTQ community and the church through education, biblical clarity, and support in a judgement-free environment for those seeking the option to change.”

One of the M.C.’s for the event was Elizabeth Woning, who also attended FRC’s Watchmen on the Wall conference in the days before the Freedom March. Woning, a former lesbian who is now married to a man, is one of the co-founders of the ministry Equipped to Love. She was also one of the leaders of the Changed movement, which mobilized dozens of ex-gay individuals to lobby, demonstrate, and testify against the extreme legislation (in the end withdrawn by its sponsor) that would have defined it as “consumer fraud” to engage in sexual orientation change efforts (counseling or therapy) for a fee.

I offered my support to the Freedom March by attending and taking photos. In a way, Family Research Council and ministries like those that organized the Freedom March represent two different but equally important facets of the movement to defend sexual morality and educate America on the fact that each of the elements of sexual orientation—attractions, behavior, and self-identification—can change.

FRC’s policy papers document the research showing that change is not only possible but common for people who have experienced some aspect of same-sex sexuality, as well as the fact that counselling or therapy intended to facilitate such change can be effective and is not generally harmful.

On the other hand, the first-person testimonies of people who have actually experienced such change—whether as a result of counseling, a spiritual rebirth, or both—give a vital personal touch and confirmation of the findings of the scientific research. FRC looks forward to a third Freedom March next year in support of the freedom of those with unwanted same-sex attractions to seek change.