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08/04/2013 10:00 am ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

Alan Chambers, Exodus International's Former President, On Sexual Labels, 'Ex-Gay' Therapy

The president of the now-defunct “ex-gay” organization, Exodus International, has been married to a woman for nearly 16 years. But he rejects labeling himself straight, bisexual, gay, or even “ex-gay,” noting that “while my life has changed dramatically, my same-sex attraction hasn’t.” In an interview in which he once again apologized for the damage he admits his group did to many people, Alan Chambers, who for 12 years led the 37-year-old group which promised to "cure" homosexuality, stopped short of saying someone shouldn’t try to control or deny sexual desires for the sake of religious convictions, while rejecting the therapeutic aspects of so-called “reparative therapy,” especially for minors.

“There’s no better way to do it than an apology for the people who were hurt,” Chambers said in an interview with me on SiriusXM Progress, a little over a month after his public apology and the stunning announcement that the group would shut down its "ex-gay" program. “Exodus should have just stayed as a support system for people who were looking for an alternative to gay life. I think the therapeutic aspect of it, not to mention the short stint we had in the political world on this, really did a disservice.” (Scroll down to listen to the interview)

Chambers said he believed the therapies do damage to people and that minors should not be put through them even as adults should still have the choice.

“What I believe is that when it comes to promising or assuring someone, or causing someone to expect that they’re going to completely eradicate a set of feelings or temptations or desires, I think that sets someone up for tremendous damage, which can cause them shame and guilt,” he said. “I certainly believe we should never be offering [conversion therapy] for minors. For adults, they can decide based on all the facts presented.”

Regarding his own life, and his sexual orientation, Chambers rejected what he called “labels.”

“As far as my life goes, I am married,” he said. “I am happily married. There’s not been one day in the course of our nearly 16 years of being married that I’ve been tempted to be unfaithful to my wife. I would say I have an orientation towards her. I do have same-sex attractions. But to say I have same-sex attractions would be the same as saying I was a married man with opposite-sex attractions. I am attracted to my wife in every single way that I as a married man need to be attracted to my wife, and our life is amazing. Am I a gay man? Some people would say you’re gay simply because you have these attractions. Some people would say you’re straight because I’m married. Some people say I’m ex-gay because I’m not leading a gay life.”

Listen to the full interview here:

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