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Pulse survivor, others gather to celebrate 'freedom' from being gay

WASHINGTON — Pulse nightclub taking pictures survivor Luis Javier Ruiz joined a couple of dozen others at a so-called Freedom March in Washington, D.C., on Saturday the place the ones in attendance celebrated now not figuring out as homosexual or transgender.

“I don’t wish to inform everybody it’s a ‘gay-to-straight’ factor as a result of God isn’t calling me to that,” Ruiz advised NBC Information. “I believe that I wish to reside in a lifetime of purity. I believe that via loving Christ, he’s going to stroll me out of any state of affairs. I really like the LGBTQ neighborhood, I really like my circle of relatives. There’s no hate right here, there’s love.”

Image: Luis Javier Ruiz speaking at the Freedom March in Washington D.C. on May 5, 2018.
Luis Javier Ruiz speaks on the Freedom March in Washington D.C. on Saturday.Chandelis Duster / NBC Information

Ruiz, who mentioned he now not identifies as homosexual and denied going to conversion treatment, promoted his resolution to wait the development on Fb. That put up, which has since been taken down, ended in threats and the lack of many pals, Ruiz mentioned.

A couple of dozen other people in general confirmed up on the match on a cloudy Saturday celebrating “freedom from gay/transgender existence by means of the grace and tool of Jesus Christ,” consistent with the march.

Jeffrey McCall, a former transgender rights activist and organizer of the development, shared his tale, which gave the impression to have taken a pointy flip from his days of LGBTQ advocacy. Dressed in a crimson blouse emblazoned with “#Jesus,” he stood prior to the small crowd on the Nationwide Mall and mentioned he had left his homosexual identification of 12 years at the back of.

Image: People watching and listening during praise and worship ahead of the Freedom March in Washington D.C. on May 5, 2018.
Other people staring at and listening all through reward and worship forward of the Freedom March in Washington D.C. on Would possibly five, 2018.Chandelis Duster / NBC Information

“Everybody has marches, a wide variety of perspectives and reviews,” McCall advised mentioned, explaining his resolution to carry the development. “So I mentioned, ‘I don’t in point of fact find out about a march for other people popping out of the LGBTQ [community] to practice Jesus so I wish to do this.’

“I would like a lot of these other people to have their tale advised. So I mentioned why don’t I supply an outlet for other people to march and feature their tales advised?” McCall mentioned.

McCall mentioned he struggled together with his sexuality at a tender age and felt a more potent tug towards what he known as a female identification, which ended in him dwelling as a lady named Scarlett for 2 years. That modified, he mentioned, when God spoke to him and mentioned, “You’re going to reside for me.”

McCall denied in search of conversion treatment, a discredited and nonscientific way of adjusting an individual’s sexual orientation.

Saturday’s match used to be cosponsored by means of Voice of the Unvoiced, which has prior to now advocated for varieties of conversion treatment on school campuses however says its venture is to “to shield the rights of former homosexuals, people with undesirable same-sex enchantment, and their households.”

Daren Mehl, president of Voice of the Unvoiced, mentioned he didn’t search conversion treatment in his non-public adventure from homosexuality to heterosexuality. He mentioned the verdict used to be “now not pressured however a call.”

“I didn’t convert, as in undergo a program. I noticed Jesus about who I’m. I discovered grace to Jesus to reside consistent with my values and trust,” he mentioned.

McCall mentioned the adventure to dwelling his new existence in Christ and outdoor that LGBTQ neighborhood has now not been simple, however he plans to convey the development to different towns in long run.

He mentioned he nonetheless feels urges to go back to being homosexual, however added that “God provides him the grace to not do it.”

Fredi and Paul Cleveland, pastors of Koinonia Congregation in Washington, got here to the development to strengthen those that had left their homosexual and transgender identities at the back of and likewise to strengthen the message of affection.

“It used to be very reasonable, particularly for individuals who have struggled with homosexuality,” Fredi Cleveland mentioned, including that she used to be moved to listen to other people open up about their reviews with despair and different problems. “It used to be refreshing to listen to other people discuss of the victories now not the detrimental. It builds us up.”

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