"Ex-Gays" | Focus on the Family | Portland

Former Exodus International Chairman John Paulk Opens Up About New Life


John Paulk, former leader of Focus on the Family's 'Love Won Out' 'ex-gay' ministry and poster child of the now defunct “ex-gay” organization Exodus International, has opened up about his post-Exodus life in Portland. Since his departure from public life Paul has disavowed the efficacy and validity of “reparative therapy”.

“Reparative therapy is, by definition, based on the notion that something is “broken” in one’s identity, needing repair.” Paulk explained to Politico. “I wanted my homosexuality to change, but the truth is: For all my public rhetoric, I was never one bit less gay.”

Paulk made headlines in the fall of 2000 after being identified at Mr. P’s, a Washington D.C. gay bar, while travelling on a Focus on The Family speaking tour. Paulk would go on to resign from Focus on The Family in 2003.

“Behind closed doors, many of us in the “ex-gay” leadership at Focus on the Family would even admit this to each other,” Said Paulk. “We know our orientation hasn’t really changed. What has changed is our behavior. Our way of life. How we see ourselves. Our sexuality has not changed.”

Since moving to Oregon with his wife and children, Paulk has rebooted his life as a chef, founding a catering business in 2005 and making frequent appearances on local Portland radio and television programs. Despite the success he’s found in his new life Portland, a famously gay-friendly city, has confronted Paul about his past.

“I was confronted by a man in a coffee shop who was angry and had tears in his eyes,” Paulk recalled. “Up until then I hadn’t really seen or understood a lot of the pain I had been causing in my two decades as an ex-gay activist. That encounter was a beginning.”

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  1. It would be enlightening to see the suicide rates from victims of ex-gay torture.

    Posted by: ColonelMustard | Jun 24, 2014 2:55:25 PM

  2. "Up until then I hadn’t really seen or understood a lot of the pain I had been causing in my two decades as an ex-gay activist." - REALLY?! F*** off and die you piece of s***

    Posted by: Deth | Jun 24, 2014 2:58:26 PM

  3. I'm sure all he could see was the money he was making.

    Posted by: tim | Jun 24, 2014 3:17:01 PM

  4. Paulik, even Anita Bryant, eventually, had the dignity to just goo off and live in obscurity. I have no doubt if Paulik thought there was a buck to be made, or some media attention to be garnered from being an ex- ex-gay his faith would be restored, and he'd be back on the Road to Heterosexuality tomorrow

    Posted by: Eric Payne | Jun 24, 2014 4:06:04 PM

  5. Paulk finally gets it - being gay isn't the cause of your problems, and becoming straight doesn't solve those problems. Yes, gay people have more hardships than straight people, but the majority of these hardships are created by bigots, not your sexuality. Women face hardships simply for being women, and you don't see them fix these problems by getting sex changes, do you?

    Posted by: FuryOfFirestorm | Jun 24, 2014 4:59:56 PM

  6. No doubt he's enjoying all the freedoms of life as a gay man in Portland, freedoms he and his allies in the Evangelical right fought tooth and nail to deny us.

    You are NOT forgiven, you self-serving sack of sh*t, until you put at least as much effort into recanting and discrediting the "ex-gay" lies as you put into promoting them. An interview with Politico? Ok, that's a start. You and your "wife" were on the cover of freakin' Newsweek, back when that still meant something. Hire a good publicist and get to work.

    Posted by: DW | Jun 24, 2014 5:58:47 PM

  7. He's icky! Makes me feel dirty all over.

    Posted by: Paul B. | Jun 24, 2014 6:11:26 PM

  8. This article is WAY out of date John Paulk has come out publicly and has not been with his wife for years. He has worked hard to make amends for his past work with Exodus and Focus on the Family. He has gone on public record denouncing reparative therapy. He has volunteered work for LGBT causes in the Portland area. Very shoddy "journalism," one could call it that, Mr. Pulliam-Moore, but excellent character assassination.

    Posted by: Jeff Harwood | Jun 24, 2014 7:21:08 PM

  9. This man is pure evil. If you 'forgive' him-he left when he realised there was no money in it and that being gay was becoming acceptable-then SHAME on you.

    Posted by: Rowan | Jun 24, 2014 8:22:31 PM

  10. Gay = Kinda hot
    Ex-Gay = Definitely not

    Posted by: JJ | Jun 24, 2014 9:25:03 PM

  11. I meant to finish off with says something about his insides.

    Posted by: JJ | Jun 24, 2014 9:26:18 PM

  12. Johann Paulik is turning into a sexy man. I loved his Bel Ami years, and I would not have recognized him unless this site posted his current story. I had no idea he went through such struggles.

    Posted by: bravo | Jun 24, 2014 11:21:11 PM

  13. @Bravo: Paulk and Paulik are different individuals. Apparently people sometimes confuse the two due to their names sharing quite a few letters.

    Posted by: Bill | Jun 25, 2014 1:53:49 AM

  14. Once a whore always a whore.

    Posted by: mdnc | Jun 25, 2014 8:26:08 AM

  15. I find it ironic how so many in the gay community bash the church. But one big thing the church has going for it is it allows people to 'repent' and then accepts them. It seems the gay community here at Towleroad doesn't embody that sort of grace and ability to be reconciled with those who repent (e.g. - John Paulk).

    Understandably so, seeing as so many on here are bitter partisans. Which is why, of course, there will always be a great need in our world for the church. Thanks for making the need for the church live on, folks!

    Posted by: Jon | Jun 25, 2014 11:58:52 AM

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