‘Ex-gay’ survivor Peterson Toscano announces event with GALHA LGBT Humanists


This is on the eve of this year’s March for a Secular Europe.

After spending 17 years and over $30,000 on three continents attempting – and failing – to change his gay orientation, he has emerged as a queer, cheeky voice of reason in the midst of the culture war.

In the play, Peterson revisits his years of trying desperately to repress his gay orientation in hopes of craving Jesus exclusively. He also hilariously deconstructs traditional views of the Bible and tells pretty much every bloody genital Bible story that exists. Drawing on his skills as a character actor, his unconventional Bible scholarship and his own personal experience of spending nearly two decades trying to become heterosexual, Peterson presents a ridiculously serious look at scripture.

Following the play, Peterson, now a Quaker, who accepts his sexuality, speaks about how he overcame religious fundamentalism. After spending much of his adult life as a born-again, Evangelical Christian, Peterson eventually came out gay and questioned everything he believed. Using the same texts that once oppressed him, he speaks out about sexism, immigration rights, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, gay, and queer (LGBTQ) concerns. He is one of the foremost experts on gender non-conformists in the Bible and presents at seminaries, conferences, universities, and religious venues.

While humour will be a prominent feature of the event, there is a serious side too. ‘Reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy, though denounced as dangerous and ineffective by the medical and psychiatric professions, is practised in the UK through fundamentalist churches and organisations. Having become popular in the US, it is a growing threat to the mental health of LGBT people in the UK as these organisations start to gain a foothold. GALHA has previously promoted the work of Patrick Strudwick who produced for the Independent an investigative expose on the movement with shocking results. There have been conferences in London organized by groups promoting the idea of ‘dealing with unwanted same sex attraction’ that have attracted protests by the LGBT community.

Adam Knowles, Chairman of GALHA LGBT Humanists said, “We’re delighted that Peterson is coming to London to tell his story. It’s so important that people understand the real and imminent threat from the ‘ex-gay’ movement that is a dangerous and insidious attack on the well being of LGBT people. We want anyone that believes in gay ‘Pride’ to come along and listen, which will be entertainingly told. We want to raise the profile of this topic and invite people along whatever their views if they join a constructive and rational debate.”