Why I chose to put myself through the abuse of conversion therapy

It seemed like a lifeline that made utter sense but the abuse dragged me to hell and back, says Jayne Ozanne

<p>I was hit with a bible and had people shout at ‘the devil inside me’ in the name of what they thought was kindness</p>

I was hit with a bible and had people shout at ‘the devil inside me’ in the name of what they thought was kindness

You’ll have just 45 seconds with him, so make them count!” I hardly slept the night before I met His Holiness, Pope Francis. Here was one man who could change the lives of millions of LGBT+ people around the world, so I needed to say something that would resonate and, perhaps more importantly, cause him to stop and reflect.

I had been invited by one of his close advisers to attend early morning mass at the Vatican, and I had been briefed that I would have a chance to speak with him briefly afterwards. To be honest, I knew that to the outside world the words we exchanged would be immaterial as our photograph together would be news in itself. But for real change to happen, I needed to say something that would strike a chord and somehow communicate the trauma that so many LGBT+ people face.

When my turn came, I walked forward and introduced myself: “Your Holiness, I’m Jayne Ozanne, a gay evangelical Anglican from England.” His eyebrows shot up. To be fair, I was unsure if it was the “gay” the “evangelical” or the “Anglican” bit that had surprised him – on reflection, it was probably all three. Unperturbed, I continued:

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in