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Pastor Jim Domen has a story to tell.
At 16 years old, Domen went to counseling to address unwanted same-sex attraction. The counseling lasted for two years.
“I started pursuing masculine traits and masculine identity issues,” Domen said. “I started associating with the masculine instead of the feminine and seeking men who would affirm masculine traits and masculine qualities — kind of like the provider, protector and promoter of the family.”
He said it took some time to gain an understanding of what the masculine soul is about.
But from age 23-28, he was in the homosexual lifestyle.
He had a foundation, though, which gave him the escape he needed. He returned to counseling and was able to get his life “back in order.”
“As a youth, it gave me a great foundation to understand, ‘OK, with my religious convictions, how does that correlate with my sexuality — how can the two align,'” he said. “That gave me the tools to understand and to work through this.”
Domen has been married for 10 years and has three children.
He is the founder of Church United, a 501 (c)(3) based in California. The organization helps pastors engage government.
“We help them deal with the spiritual issues in their communities,” he said. “And what we found was, when the church gets behind an issue and we put people at the tip of the spear who are representatives, like for this issue former LGBTQ people, we’ve found that we win and defend justice.”
California’s Assembly Bill 2943 would have banned paid gay ‘conversion therapy’ last year. But Domen said his organization was able to help stop it by rallying former LGBTQ people to be spokespersons on this issue.
Key to the debate over banning “conversion therapy,” Domen said, is that “conversion therapy” doesn’t exist.
“What the messaging of the Left has done is, it’s created this term ‘conversion therapy,'” he said. “I’m a former homosexual. I’ve never experienced conversion therapy. Of the hundreds if not thousands of people who have left the LGBTQ lifestyle that I’ve met, that I’ve counseled, that I’ve known, no one has ever experienced conversion therapy.
“It’s literally a term and something that has been created by the Left to try to say these horrible things happen.”
When a reporter from the local ABC affiliate asked him about conversion therapy, he told her he had never experienced it.
“She didn’t know what to do with that,” he said. “I told her it doesn’t exist. She said, ‘but you’re a former homosexual.’ I know, it doesn’t exist. They don’t know because this messaging has been so misleading and programmed that people believe it is happening and these evils are happening to people.”
The Left, as he puts it, often points to drastic, archaic so-called “conversion therapy” efforts that include electroshock therapy. But they also lump those efforts, which he called barbaric, with basic counseling.
If the abusive forms of conversion therapy are happening, Domen said he has a few questions.
“If any of these horrible things are happening to people, where are the insurance claims,” he asked. “Where are the police reports filed? Where are the arrests? Where are the medical malpractice lawsuits and awards? If half of what they’re claiming has happened to them, why was there nothing ever done criminally?
“There is zero evidence that any of this is ever taking place.”
Instead, this issue has become an opportunity for LGBTQ activists to attack the idea that sexual orientation can be changed.
“The Left has taken this term and created this definition of these horrible practices,” Domen said. “None of us are in favor of ‘conversion therapy.’ What has happened is, it’s now become psychological counseling. There should be counseling choice where I choose to direct the therapies I go to. Now that is being deemed evil and inappropriate. They’re confusing two separate issues.”
Domen asks whatever happened to freedom of choice?
“Give people the freedom to choose to be homosexual, LGBTQ-plus infinity,” he said. “Or, choose to be a heterosexual. Give people the choice. What are we afraid of? They’re trying to prohibit the freedom of people to choose and calling it banning conversion therapy.”
The idea that sexual orientation cannot be changed is wrong, Domen said.
Domen is president of the Global Rainbow Crosser Alliance, an international organization representing 30 nations. He expects the organization to grow to 60 by the end of 2020. The group has at least one representative in each nation who is a former LGBTQ member.
“What we’re seeing is this trend, which ironically these things start in California and go not only across the U.S. but around the world,” Domen said. “This topic of banning conversion therapy, none of us have experienced it. As I say, it doesn’t even exist.”
Efforts to ban conversion therapy often include removing any ability for any kind of counseling that would involve someone changing their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“If one of my kids struggled with it, or if I did, you run the risk (as a therapist) of having your license removed or being fined by the licensing authority in the state of California,” Domen said. “If your client chose to seek how to eradicate or remove unwanted same-sex attraction, a therapist would run that risk. They’ve taken this term and applied it to counseling choice.”
At the heart of the push to ban counseling choice is whether people like Domen are frauds.
“What it was doing in California, it literally would make my story, my family, frauds,” he said. “What they were doing was changing California business law so any financial transaction that would take place, if someone paid me to help them and I counseled them or someone bought my book or I had materials that would help people change, that would all be considered fraudulent business transactions.
“I have a 5-, 3-, and 1-year old. My daughter is not a fraud. My son is not a fraud. My 1-year old is not a fraud. Neither is my wife. We’re not frauds. I changed. I changed lifestyle. I changed sexual orientation.”
He pointed to the Genome Project.
“They studied 500,000 LGBTQ people and did this huge study on is there a gay gene,” he said. “The study said, and this is science, there is no gay gene. GLBT is not genetic. There are no genetic factors to it. It came back to what I have always preached and experienced personally, and now through science, it is developmental. It’s developmental and during young ages in life is what can skew people or move people toward the LGBTQ lifestyle.”
For years LGBTQ activists demanded government stay out of their bedrooms. Now Domen is simply asking government to stay out of the counseling office.
“Get out of private time with a coach, counselor, therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist,” he said. “It’s counseling choice. What they’re banning is the freedom of choice. We want counseling choice for everyone, for every child, youth, young adult and adult.”
That environment, he said, is supposed to be a confidential environment. The client leads the direction.
“It goes back to the freedom of choice, freedom of thought, freedom of conscience,” he said. “If you want to be gay, great, choose that path. Lesbian, trans, whatever. You can choose that path. We’re not saying you can’t choose it. But don’t prohibit somebody who doesn’t want to be that way from seeking help.”
He cautions Republicans from getting on board with efforts to ban conversion therapy.
“Let’s give people the freedom to choose,” he said. “If you want to pass a bill that condemns conversion therapy, fine, I support that. What traditionally has been defined as conversion therapy is horrible. What they claim has been done to people is barbaric. But they’ve taken the word conversion therapy and added anything like reparative therapy. They’re grouping all of it into one category and calling it conversion therapy. What I would say to Republicans is, let’s let people have the freedom to choose. The government needs to be out of the therapist room. The government doesn’t need to be in people’s personal matters.”