McKrae Game, the founder of a gay conversion therapy organization in South Carolina, came out as gay and apologized for his work.
Game was raised Southern Baptist and founded Truth Ministry in 1999. Between the ages of 19 and 22, he was “kind of out,” he said on a Facebook Live video. He then got “saved,” he said, using air quotes, and founded Truth Ministry. He later joined the board of Hope for Wholeness, a gay conversion therapy practice.
Throughout his time as a gay conversion therapy leader, he said he was open about same-sex attractions. He struggled with watching gay pornography, and was fired from the Hope for Wholeness board because of it, he said. Game came out publicly in June. His story gained publicity after a Facebook post went viral. In it, he apologized for his gay conversion therapy work.
“I WAS WRONG! Please forgive me!” he started the lengthy post.
“The very harmful cycle of self shame and condemnation has to stop. It’s literally killing people!! Learn to love. Learn to love yourself and others,” he concluded the post.
Game, who is 51, lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He married a woman, Julie Game, in 1996. The couple have two adult children. Game said on a Facebook Live video he never called himself “straight.”
“I never lived a double life. I was 100 percent authentic all the time,” he said.
Even when he was leading a gay conversion therapy group, he said he was open about the fact that he was attracted to men and watched gay pornography. Still, he said he started as “a zealot.”
“I was a real zealot in the beginning, and I kind of softened over the years,” he said.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Game & Wife Julie Are Still Together & He Says She’s Being ‘Ridiculously Kind’
Game married Julie Game in 1996, according to the Post and Courier. They remain together, and she knows he is gay. They have two adult children.
His Facebook status is listed as, “it’s complicated.” They met in church, according to the Post and Courier.
“I’m still at home with my family, and my wife is being ridiculously kind and sweet,” he said on a Facebook live video.
He once used Grindr, a dating app for LGBTQ people, after he was fired from his board position at Hope for Wholeness. He said he wasn’t looking for a relationship, but felt like his social outlets were destroyed after he was fired.
Since then, he has met many people in the gay community and made many friends, he said on the video.
Game has also made friends following his Facebook post. Some of the interactions he received following the post were negative and angry. He asked two of those people if they wanted to talk on the phone. He had a lengthy conversation with one of those people, he said on the video.
“By the time we were done, we were good friends,” he said.
2. Game Was Raised in a Southern Baptist Family & Realized He Was Gay at Age 11
Game was born and raised in Spartanburg, in a Southern Baptist household, The Post and Courier reported.
He told the newspaper that he wasn’t very close to his parents and older sister. In secret, he wore his sister’s clothes, the Post and Courier reported, adding that he was teasingly called “McGay” in school because he seemed feminine.
According to the Post and Courier, he realized he was attracted to boys at age 11, but he didn’t tell anyone until age 18.
Game said on a Facebook Live video September 3, 2019, that he was indoctrinated by evangelical beliefs when he led gay conversion therapy groups. In his practice, he said he would ask a participant if they wanted to be gay. If they did not, he would attempt to counsel them through minimizing their same-sex attractions. People were only asked to participate if they wanted to minimize their attractions, he said. They could only participate under their own volition.
“I was wrong, but honestly that’s who I was at the time…I was indoctrinated into the Evangelical language of, you know, ‘homosexuality is an abomination.’ Frankly, homosexuality is the pet peeve of the church. I think it’s their repugnance, their disdain of the issue. It’s their tool to help them feel better about their own issues.”
He went through gay conversion therapy himself, and attempted to eliminate his own same-sex attractions. The process is not only ineffective, but also harmful, he said.
He later said on the video, “I was a full participant in my own brain washing.”
3. Game Said He Wishes He Stayed in Landscaping
Game discussed his background and answered questions in a Facebook Live video September 3, 2019, after his Facebook post went viral.
During the video he discussed his firing from Hope for Wholeness. He was fired because he frequently watched gay pornography. He said he was devastated at the time, but his wife said it was a blessing in disguise. He had three mental breakdowns during his time with Hope for Wholeness because he was not equipped to deal with the mental anguish people in the ministry were facing. At the same time, he was conflicted about his own same-sex attractions.
“Looking back, frankly, I wish I had never started all of it. I wish I had kept my landscaping business,” he said.
“Now I’m back in landscaping,” he said.
In the winter months, he works in ski patrol at Sugar Mountain Resort.
“I get to enjoy what I do,” he said.
He lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He is 51.
4. Game Was ‘Shocked’ By Response to Facebook Post
Game posted an apology for his work in conversion therapy in a post that went viral.
The post said:
20yrs in exgay ministry
I WAS WRONG! Please forgive me!
Unpacking the memories. In the discussions leading up to The Post & Courier coming to interview me, I’d told the young reporter that I’d still not unpacked from my having been fired. “It was just too painful. I’ve just been putting it off. “ It all had been stacked up in our home office, which is a wreck, thus taking it all up to the den. The young reporter asked, “Would u be willing to let us film you and me talk to u while u go through the boxes?” I said “I guess I could do that.” It was very cathartic going through the boxes, explaining each item, book, and pictures, including one of me and Joseph Nicolosi—author of Reparative Therapy and late director of NARTH, Joe Dallas, and my counselor Dan Garvin of Solid Rock. I went through each item, one at a time: my plaque from my 2010 marathon, ordination certificate, a toy Hummer I used to explain coveting, and garden gnome that was underneath one of my many plants that were in my office. Many books on understanding the roots of homosexuality, brokenness, sexual healing, Christianity, many Bibles, and my Hope for Wholeness badge I wore when displaying at conferences. Two cases of my book The Transparent Life. And my prize possession of my Promise Keepers hat that was signed by the men on the bus (to/from Bolder Colorado from Spartanburg, a 37 hr bus ride) that said me sharing changed their lives. He asked me after we got done what I would do with it all. I said I’d donate the normal books, throw away the books on homosexuality, keep the personal items like the embroidered Truth Ministry podium swath that someone (I don’t remember who) made for me. He asked me why I’d keep the items. I said, “That was 20-26 years (20 in ministry leadership) of my life, it’s a large part of me (though its like a distant memory). I will want to keep them to remember.” The memories aren’t all bad. There’s many good memories. But I certainly regret where I caused harm. I know that creating the organization that still lives was in a large way causing harm. Creating a catchy slogan that put out a very misleading idea of “Freedom from homosexuality through Jesus Christ” was definitely harmful. Promoting the triadic model that blamed parents and conversion or prayer therapy, that made many people believe that their orientation was wrong, bad, sinful, evil, and worse that they could change was absolutely harmful. People reported to attempt suicide because of me and these teachings and ideals. I told people they were going to Hell if they didn’t stop, and these were professing Christians! This was probably my worse wrongful act. At one time I was working with so many youth that I had a weekly youth group, where they’d share why they were there, and I would guide them in how to not be gay. What a sad commentary of my past verses today, or a bad joke as many may see it. I believe all of these young men are now out/gay and one that I worked with for many years is married to a man and living in San Francisco. I hope to catch up with him. I believe I’ll message him today. Hopefully he’ll not be too angry with me. When the reporter asked me if I’d like to see Hope for Wholeness shut down, I said I’d like all exgay ministry and conversion therapy counselors and organizations shut down. I told him I believed the only positive and productive use for HFW and exgay ministry is for those that believe that homosexuality is incongruent with their faith, to receive and have a community of like minded people so that they can live healthy lives, and in the end that was what I was trying to do. Today, I’m thankful to have it all behind me. I plan to communicate with anyone, including media, that wants to speak with me. I’ll take advantage of any opportunity I get to share my experiences, and my belief that exgay ministry and conversion therapy IS HARMFUL. At some point I’ll write a book about my experiences and certainly a revision of my Transparent Life book, which I plan to offer the ones I have on Amazon soon. I’ll include a note with where I am today and my new beliefs and hope they do not take personally my words against homosexuality. Largely the book is not about homosexuality, but how to live authenticly honest and open, though at the time I had not fully grasped this concept myself. It’s all in my past, but many, way TOO MANY continue believing that there is something wrong with themselves and wrong with people that choose to live their lives honestly and open as gay, lesbian, trans, etc. The very harmful cycle of self shame and condemnation has to stop. It’s literally killing people!! Learn to love. Learn to love yourself and others.
He said on a Facebook live video September 3, 2019 he was shocked by the response to the post which went viral several days after he posted it. He later shared a photo of a hard cider and a half-empty box of Oreos.
“My now after response to all of this. OMG!!” he wrote.
5. Game Said He Still Believes in God
Game said he still believes in God, although he no longer considers himself to be Southern Baptist.
He was raised as a Southern Baptist. He said on a Facebook Live video his father asked him if he still believes in God.
“Of course I still believe in God,” he said.
He said he was praying the morning of September 3, 2019 for a child he knows who was having seizures. Game said he still considers himself a Christian.