Former Homosexual David Pickup Advocates for Therapy Freedom

David_PickupRICHMOND, Va.—Earlier this month, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the Conversion Therapy Prohibition Act into law, and the state became the fourth to ban “conversion therapy,” which makes it illegal for counselors, psychotherapists and others to counsel minors about homosexual identity issues, even if they voluntarily request the therapy. The measure was passed by both the Illinois House and Senate this spring.

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX,, the nation’s leading advocacy organization that offers love and support to families and friends of individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions and gender confusion, says the maneuver directly harms children whose homosexual feelings have been brought on by sexual abuse, denying them the right to seek help to overcome the trauma they experienced. The ban, adds PFOX, also harms families by denying them the right to provide support and help to their children.

David Pickup, one of the featured speakers at the third annual Safe Exit Summit, a two-day conference in October co-hosted by PFOX, says the law is harmful rather than helpful to minors and strips them of their therapy rights. Pickup, who has called himself a poster child for the emotional and sexual abuse that leads to homosexuality, works closely with PFOX and other groups to protect therapy choices.

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“David Pickup has been instrumental for many years in the effort to keep therapy options open for those struggling with same-sex attraction and gender identity confusion,” said Regina Griggs, executive director of PFOX. “David will be the first to say that therapy saved his life. All of our Safe Exit Summit speakers have a story like David’s. Our message is that those with homosexual feelings and gender identity issues have the right to self determination and the freedom to get help, without government intervention. Our Safe Exit programs can help fill the gap where needed. The American Psychological Association stated in its 2009 Task Report that there is no proof of harm, and that some people benefited by sexual orientation change efforts. The APA has also stated in the past that it has not been proven that gay affirming therapy helps, yet this was not part of the therapy ban.”

After being sexually abused at a young age by a pedophile, Pickup began experiencing same-sex attractions that lasted throughout much of his life. He later participated in authentic reparative therapy that he says helped saved his life. Today, Pickup is a licensed marriage and family therapist in California with extensive expertise in reparative therapy. He also serves on the board of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH).

“This recent maneuver in Illinois directly harms children whose homosexual feelings have arisen because of sexual abuse by pedophiles and does a host of other harms to therapists and families,” Pickup said of the recent therapy ban. “How do I know this? Because I was in Illinois twice this year testifying for these abused children and for the wonderful healing that children can experience through authentic, professional therapy.”

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Pickup has also testified on the “documentable truth that authentic change therapy does not harm people, that the American Psychological Association stated in its 2009 Task Report that there is no proof of harm, and that earlier in the report some people do benefit by sexual orientation change efforts,” he said. He also testified that children who do not identify with gay ideology and believe they were born as heterosexuals will have their rights for sound therapy taken away from them, as will their parents, when the government controls their therapy.

“Licensed therapists working directly within the employ of churches would also have their religious rights taken away from them by not being allowed to experience change therapy,” Pickup added. “Many reparative therapy clients experience not only behavioral change, but emotional change, which by the way, reveals their true identity. I have clients who will become suicidal if they can’t receive the kind of therapy that truly resolves their issues. And, finally, children whose homosexual feelings have arisen through sexual abuse at the hands of pedophiles would be further abused by not getting the therapy they need to eliminate those feelings.

“There’s really only one primary issue fueling this therapy ban,” he continued. “It’s not about harm, or therapy, or children. This is about the normalization of homosexuality, no matter how harm comes to children. Like so many of these kinds of laws, it’s always the children who suffer at the hands of unscrupulous adults. Why didn’t this ban bill simply make provision for those therapies that actually do work for change, and why didn’t this bill make allowances for family and religious rights? Because of the bigotry, lying nature and numbing force of an agenda forced into law by people who will do anything to get what they want.”

Pickup’s personal story is featured on the PFOX web site, along with many others.

“I was the quintessential kid who was set up for homosexuality on several levels,” Pickup recalled. “I didn’t identify well with my gender in growing up for various reasons. I wasn’t close to my father at all; I was defensively detached from him. I was also bullied by my peers because I think I was a very sensitive boy, and so I always felt odd, not ‘boy’ enough, and then later on through puberty and above that even, not man enough.”

Pickup said by puberty, he began to look at men and those with masculine identity as objects, and once his sexual hormones kicked in, he began to feel sexual attraction toward men. Eventually, Pickup saw a licensed reparative therapist, who, he says, facilitated real reparative therapy, and Pickup then learned there was hope for real change.

“My journey, that took quite a few years actually, resulted in the resolution of my gender identity inferiority, and raised my level of self-esteem, particularly as a man in my own body,” he said. “My depression and anxiety, which I had experienced a lot of during those adult years, began to lessen and dissipate, and I began to get my male emotional needs met, which I never had growing up. And as a result of that, my same-sex attractions automatically and spontaneously began to, through this therapy, lessen and dissipate.

“And so reparative therapy really worked for me,” Pickup said. “It helped save my life.”

The Safe Exit Summit is set for Oct. 2-3, 2015, following September’s Ex-Gay Awareness Month, in Washington, D.C. The event will feature a legislator education day on Capitol Hill, for those who are in support of ex-gays and individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction, so they may visit their legislators and share information with them.

Friday Oct. 2 will feature a time of praise as well as a viewing of the video “Such Were Some of You,” produced by Safe Exit Summit speaker Dr. David Kyle Foster and followed by a Q&A with Foster and the Rev. Stephen Black. Then on Saturday, Oct. 3, numerous expert speakers will address several issues to encourage, educate and edify church leaders, family members and friends, as well as those struggling with sexual identity issues.

Serving as the keynote speaker for the Safe Exit Summit will be Dr. Michael Brown, one of the most respected conservative voices in America and author of the new book, “Outlasting the Gay Revolution: Eight Principles for Long-term Cultural Change.”

Brown is widely considered to be the world’s foremost Messianic Jewish apologist. Since coming to faith in 1971 as a 16-year-old, heroin-shooting Jewish rock drummer, he has devoted his life to fostering awakening in the Church, sparking moral and cultural revolution in society, raising up gospel laborers for the nations and reaching out to his own Jewish people.

He is the host of the nationally syndicated “Line of Fire” radio broadcast, the president of FIRE School of Ministry, and a professor of Bible and Hebrew Studies at several leading seminaries. Brown has preached in more than 25 nations and is the author of 25 books and numerous scholarly and popular articles. He has debated Jewish rabbis, agnostic professors and gay activists on radio, TV and college campuses. Read more or view his columns for The Christian Post.

Several other top-name speakers will also be featured at the Safe Exit Summit. For information and bios on additional speakers, visit

According to Griggs, research, along with the personal experiences of ex-gays like those featured at the Safe Exit Summit, has shown that homosexuality is not innate and that change is possible. Visitors can also listen to personal stories of ex-gays who share about their lives and their decision to change.

Griggs added that thousands of men and women with unwanted same sex attractions and gender confusion make the personal decision to leave their homosexual lifestyle and identity, and seek support and help from churches in their journey. Churches interested in finding out more about Safe Exit, a program that offers resources and expert speakers to help them open their doors to the ex-gay community and those struggling with same-sex attractions and gender identity confusion, can visit

Those traveling to the Washington, D.C., area for the Safe Exit Summit will be connected with the host hotel upon registration. The hotel—close to the conference site—is offering attendees a discounted rate, a free breakfast and other amenities. Registration for the two-day event is now open. Co-hosting the Safe Exit Summit with PFOX is Voice of the Voiceless and Equality And Justice For All.

PFOX is a national non-profit organization that supports families and educates the public on sexual orientation and the ex-gay community. PFOX supports an inclusive environment for the ex-gay community and works to eliminate negative perceptions and discrimination against former homosexuals by conducting public education and outreach to further individual self-determination and respect for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation.

This article is printed with the permission of the author(s). Opinions expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the article’s author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of American Clarion or Dakota Voice LLC.

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  • DCM7

    Selfishness and evil don’t get much greater than this: People trying to forcibly prevent others from finding healing and wholeness, just so they themselves can more easily ignore flashing-red-light truth that they don’t want to deal with.

    Fortunately professional therapy isn’t the only road away from same-sex attractions.

    • Thisoldspouse

      Homosexuals are always, constantly telling us, “if you don’t like ‘gay’ sex/’marriage’ then don’t have one.” Well, here are people who are trying not to have one and are being denied the means and tools to not have one.

      • franklinb23

        I personally don’t have any issues with people defining their own lives, so long as it isn’t hurting anyone else.

        My issue is when folks like this guy insist his “problems” are somehow applicable to everyone.

        Not all gay people were physically or sexually abused. Most, in fact, were not. Many come from two-parent heterosexual households, some of them conservative.

        Sexual identity is a bit more complex than all that.

        • Bob Ellis

          Sexual identity is very simple. One need only look between one’s legs to determine what sex they are, and the obvious design and function of the male and female sex organs makes the proper use for them very clear.

          How people come to terms with that reality, however, is more complex. It can be thrown off kilter through a variety of environmental causes, not the least of which is childhood sexual abuse. Child molestation is not universal in the childhood background of homosexuals, but it is uncharacteristically and dramatically higher among homosexuals, and this is well documented. Also highly common in the childhood background of most homosexuals is an imbalance in the male/female relationships that were modeled in their youth, primary by their parents. If there was something unhealthy about the way their mothers related to men, or the way their fathers related to women, or both, research shows this to be a very common occurrence in the backgrounds of most homosexuals.

          These factors are far too pronounced to ignore (for the rational person to ignore, that is), and we invite the perpetuation and multiplication of this dysfunction on future generations of American children by pretending reality isn’t so.

          • Elizabeth Putnam

            It isn’t everyone though. I have always been bisexual and I’ve recently come out. I have never been sexually assaulted or raped in my whole life. My family is well to do and have been living in the suburbs for our whole life. My parents are still married after being together for 22 years. I realize my life isn’t like everyone elses but you can’t generalize a community of people because some people had horrible things happen to them. LGBTQ people aren’t being denied therapy either. There are different types of therapy other than conversion therapy that helps. I’m sure insight or talk therapies are just as effective with dealing with sexual abuse than conversion therapy if people want to seek help.

            • Bob Ellis

              It isn’t a “generalization” when the overwhelming body of research all points to the fact that most homosexuals were subjected to some sort of abuse as a child (whether they are willing to admit that or not), or at a minimum, were subjected to some sort of imbalance or abnormality in the relations their mothers and/or fathers had with each other. There are also times when a person who isn’t well grounded in who they are experiences some sort of trauma later in life that short-circuits their ability to naturally relate normally to the opposite sex.

              The simple facts are that science makes it clear that human beings were designed to function heterosexually. Nothing else makes sense, and nothing else has any practical or scientific purpose or usefulness. And this is without even getting into the moral issues and the fact that every major religion in the world recognizes that the behavior is immoral and contrary to our designer’s intent. These facts, in addition to the reality that less than 3% of human beings are homosexual, make it clear that the behavior is aberrant and not normal.

              There are any number of methods and techniques which may be effective in helping a person deal with and even overcome unwanted homosexual attractions, including coming to terms with one’s Creator. As with substance abuse or any self-destructive and aberrant behavior, two things are critical to the success of any effort: (1) first admitting that the problem IS a problem, and (2) a committed desire to change. As a former drunk I can tell you, without both, change is not possible.

              • Rusty Reiter

                That is not what research says, unless you get yours from a hate group. Cite a link or admit you made it up yet again, Bob. You live in a tiny bubble of fantasies, hate and lies.
                THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A HOMOSEXUAL TURNED HETEROSEXUAL. The ex-gay scam is over.

              • Bob Ellis

                Just some professors whose work was published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy.  Not a hate group like the Southern Poverty Law Center, which incites real hatred and violence against people who tell the truth about immoral behavior.

                I suppose you can keep telling yourself that you can’t change (despite the incontrovertible evidence of so many who HAVE changed), and keep doing so all the way through the gates of Hell, if you insist. That’s your choice.  But you can’t keep trying to deceive people here.

                I gave you a chance to be reasonable, and you spurned it.  More proof that you can lead a horse to water…

              • DCM7


                You can yell it as loud as you want. You can’t change hard reality just by getting ticked off at it.

                Former homosexuals not only exist; they exist in large numbers. I’ve known several personally, even in my fairly limited experience.

          • Rusty Reiter

            Total and deliberate ignorance on sexual and gender matters. Bob, you are out to destroy LGBT people’s lives as a means to advance your political career with the Tea Party, but it won’t work. You are so out of touch you don’t realize young people will see your views on gays and marriage equality the way most of us see our grandparents’ generation’s views on race and interracial marriage.

        • Thisoldspouse

          “I personally don’t have any issues with people defining their own lives, so long as it isn’t hurting anyone else.”

          Well, then, Franklin, time to pony up. Do you or do you not champion legislation to ban any and all professional therapy, or any kind, to dissuade from homosexuality, whether only to minors or adults?

    • Rusty Reiter

      Nonsense. The AMA and APA testified in court (where facts are required) that sexual orientation change efforts cure nobody and harm many people. Google gay curing ruled consumer fraud in court
      Medical experts always testify against gay-curing reparative therapies as quackery and junk science leading people to waste huge sums of money only to put their mental health at risk.

  • Rusty Reiter

    The 3rd annual Exit Summit ex-gay conference supposedly happened in DC this past weekend, but there is no coverage of it any place, including the Christian Post and Charisma, or even WND. What if they held an ex-gay conference and nobody came?

  • Rusty Reiter

    The article mentioned one state which banned gay conversion therapy, but the list is growing and there is a national bill being created in Congress to ban what one governor called “quack therapy.” Who is right here? When this “therapy” went before a court of law recently (where facts are required), it was ruled “consumer fraud.” The medical professionals all testified against gay reparative therapy, warning it cures nobody and harms many people.

    • DCM7

      Sounds like some medical professionals were paid well to give the “right” testimony. Well, as most of us know here, a lie furthered by any number of supposedly reputable experts is still a lie.

      I have never heard of anyone being harmed by trying to overcome same-sex attractions, outside of someone being pushed against their will. On the other hand, I have had friends who died as a direct result of typical male “gay” lifestyles, and I have known men who left the “gay” lifestyle (though not by actual “therapy” as far as I know) and were vastly better off for it. All this represents the pattern to be found in real life.

      Via therapy or not, recovery from same-sex attraction is both real and beneficial, and no amount of denial — by people paid to deny it, or otherwise — will ever change that.

      • Rusty Reiter

        Any evidence for your claim? And who exactly did the alleged paying? And how is that every medical association in the free world has been explaining for decades sexual orientation is not a choice?
        If you have never met anyone harmed by sexual orientation, let me introduce myself. I wasted decades of my life and over $40,000 on this consumer fraud. All it did was cause depression, despair and suicidal thoughts. Now I am happy since I quit the quack therapy.
        PS This is 2015 and nobody uses that tired old nonsense about “THE gay lifestyle.” What you are trying to do is claim all LGBT people are promiscuous, but that is just a tactic of the bigot.

        • Bob Ellis

          “Every medical association in the free world” does not ascribe to the complete lie that homosexual behavior is not a choice; only those that are more interested in running with the herd than telling the truth.

          Homosexual behavior was understood to be a mental disorder (what else can you call a desire to stick your penis into another man’s anus, or have another man stick his penis into your anus?) until homosexual activists so harassed the psychiatric community in the early 1970s that they gave in and removed it from the DSM-5. The change was based on absolutely zero new scientific data; it was based 100% on being intimidated by homosexual activists.

          In times of widespread corruption and moral decadence, even the institutions that could once be trusted to be the “grownups” of society abandon their responsibility to protect against destructive behavior, and join in the cannibalistic free-for-all. We’ve seen it around the world throughout history, and unfortunately we’re now seeing it in the United States. In such times, it falls to individual people to exercise responsibility and intelligence to investigate the facts on their own and do what George Orwell called a “revolutionary act” in such settings: embrace the truth.

          Homosexual activists have been changing their behavior for thousands of years. The Bible records homosexuals leaving behind that lifestyle, and the multitude of homosexuals who continue today to leave this behavior behind reveal the “I can’t change” mantra for the complete lie that it is. The subject of this article reveals the lie for what it is, as do all the other former homosexuals who are no longer in bondage to that aberrant and dangerous behavior.

          I used to be a smoker. I tried several times to quit and I couldn’t…until I really wanted to (now I haven’t smoked in 21 years). I used to be a drunk, and I tried several times to quit drinking and I couldn’t…until I really wanted to (now I haven’t had a drink in 23 years)

          A study done a few years ago found that not only is reparative therapy successful for many homosexuals who want to stop behaving homosexually, it is actually more successful than reparative therapy for substance abuse.

          Numerous studies around the world for decades have proven what we have always known: promiscuity is rampant in the homosexual community, with many homosexuals reporting over 1,000 lifetime sex partners, with the average in the hundreds. Monogamy is almost unknown in the homosexual community, and this is also a documented fact.

          If you insist on putting your body and soul in danger, no one can stop you. But you are not entitled to lie to others and mislead them into believing they are slaves to their most base and self-destructive impulses.

          • Rusty Reiter

            Mr Ellis, your ignorance is astounding. There is no addiction expert who agrees with your claim that a person’s sexual orientation is an addiction (like your smoking). And if there is a single medical association left in the free world who claims sexual orientation is a choice, you had better provide a link or admit you lied. And you don’t seem to realize dakotavoice is not a medical or scientific publication. It is the blog of a hatefilled homophobe like yourself.
            There is no choice in a person’s sexual orientation. You don’t understand sexual orientation yet; that is all. A sexual orientation is not a behavior, not an addiction and is neither moral nor immoral. You are assuming all homosexuals are promiscuous, but that is obviously not true. In fact you will find promiscuity is primarily a male problem. Lesbians have less of it (and less STD’s) than any other group.
            In my church we have 2 warm, wonderful women who’ve loved the Lord and one another for 60 years. For you to claim their life is a “cannibalistic free-for-all is absurd. You speak about gays the way our ancestors spoke about African-Americans.

        • DCM7

          “Any evidence for your claim? And who exactly did the alleged paying?”
          In all seriousness, I wouldn’t know whether the experts were *directly* paid to give the “right” testimony. Possibly not. But when experts do testify something that’s not true, as in this case, there’s always a reason. In our world there’s an overriding tendency to treat truths we don’t like as if they’re falsehoods, and there are always plenty of “experts” willing to cooperate and tell us what we want to hear. Scientists may be told to show *that* something is true, rather than to investigate *whether* it’s true. Anyone who thinks the persuasive power of the word “science” wasn’t going to be heavily abused has their head in the sand.

          “I wasted decades of my life and over $40,000 on this consumer fraud. All it did was cause depression, despair and suicidal thoughts. Now I am happy since I quit the quack therapy.”
          Even taking that claim at face value, there’s clearly more to the story than you’re telling. Perhaps you expected a “change” to happen far more easily that it actually ever would. Perhaps the whole approach (or your part or a therapist’s) was misguided. I just know that there are plenty of “gays” who think their failure to “change” (which they usually expected to happen far too easily) constitutes some kind of proof that “change” is impossible. The reality, of course, is that the real-life change of many “gays” is proof that it IS possible. But if anyone told you it should be easy, they were leading you wrong.

          “What you are trying to do is claim all LGBT people are promiscuous”
          Are you seriously going to try to tell me that “gays” don’t strongly tend to be far more promiscuous than “straights”? Do you actually believe that yourself? Unfortunately for your claims, I know more than you give me credit for. And you can’t change that.

          P.S.: Don’t think you can just sit there and call me some kind of “bigot.” My onetime best friend died of AIDS at 33 due to the kind of lifestyle that you’d rather I think no one really lives. He knew I was no “bigot” or “hater,” and his mission toward the end of his life was to tell others not to do what he’d done. The blood of people like him is not on the hands of people like me; it’s on the hands of people who claim that “gay is OK and you can’t stop being that way anyway.”

    • Bob Ellis

      A study done a few years ago found that the recovery rate for homosexuals who wanted to leave this self-destructive behavior behind is considerably better than that of substance abusers who wanted to leave their self-destructive behavior behind (I’m one of the latter, and I’ve been try for about 23 years).

      Of course, if you’re invested in the lie that people can’t change (in order to absolve yourself of responsibility for change in your own life or the life of others you care about), then it makes sense to claim it’s impossible.

      Human beings aren’t animals. Human beings have intelligence, a conscience, and a free will. They can modify their behavior if they want to bad enough, and if they don’t want to, they can’t.

      • Rusty Reiter

        You made that up. In fact, the reality is as far from that as possible. The long-time president of Exodus International, the only global ex-gay ministry, admitted in 2012 “Other than a few bisexual lesbians, 99.9% of Christians seeking a change of sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual did not experience it.”
        The long-time leaders of Love in Action, the oldest ex-gay ministry, which had a year-long, live-in facility to cure gays, admitted in 2013 nobody changed from homosexual to heterosexual. Those groups had spent 40 years creating “change” testimonials, and though the videos and books still circulate (deceiving people like you), it was all just “fake it til ya’ make it” wishful thinking.
        And this year the gay-curing therapies were ruled “consumer fraud” in a court of law (where facts are required). THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A HOMOSEXUAL TURNED HETEROSEXUAL.

      • DCM7

        A quick look at Rusty’s DISQUS activity reveals that he puts quite a bit of energy into trying to cast a “shadow of doubt” on the truths about homosexuality, recovery from homosexuality, the Bible, etc. He demonstrates a marked tendency to assume that positions with detailed and authoritative-sounding justifications must automatically equal correct ones.

        • Bob Ellis

          Yeah, that quickly became apparent just from what he was saying here. I’m willing to give any fellow the benefit of the doubt at first (I was misled by a number of liberal philosophies at one point myself). But once you demonstrate a repeated hostility toward coming to terms with both facts and simple common sense, I have no time for such propaganda artists anymore. There was a time when I’d spend days on end attempting to help a fencepost come to terms with reason. But as Eric Carmen once said, those days are gone.

  • Rusty Reiter

    David Pickup, where is your wife? If you want to make yourself the poster boy for the few dozen ex-gays left in America, someone your age should be married and a father and even grandfather by now. Your own life is the best proof you are not heterosexual. You are simply a homosexual who hates homosexuals.