LAKE CHARLES, La. — A man who divorced his wife to pursue a same-sex relationship, a mother of two trans-identifying children, and a survivor of the Pulse nightclub terrorist attack all testified to God's redeeming grace amid ongoing challenges as part of a Ruth Institute panel last Saturday.
Journalist Doug Mainwaring, parent activist Lynn Meagher, and Luis Javier Ruiz each spoke about the twists and turns their lives have taken at the annual Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution. The annual event gives voice to people whose stories are often ignored by the mainstream media that often caters to LGBT activists and their agendas. This CP reporter was among the speakers at the event to discuss what has been discovered in my nearly four years of reporting on gender dysphoria, transgenderism, and the gender identity movement.
Mainwaring, a writer for the pro-life outlet LifeSiteNews, explained how he's struggled with same-sex desires even while in a heterosexual marriage. At one point he even wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, only to later reconsider his stance and write a subsequent op-ed for the same national newspaper arguing in favor of civil unions for gays, but not same-sex marriage. Such backpedaling resulted in him losing most of his LGBT-identified friends and being the recipient of hate mail.
He ultimately became convicted that he could no longer live as a homosexual, and realized how his actions had harmed his children, who had been spending time with a Catholic family, whom they loved. He then realized that he'd denied his children that familial love by ending his marriage.
His son, Mainwaring said, "loved what that family had. ... And that family, even though they didn't know my situation, just the way they were living their life, the grace of their life as a faithful Catholic family, cascaded into my life through my son. And it really helped push me toward what I needed to do."
Mainwaring soon began visiting a church every day where he would kneel in the last pew and say: "God, here I am. I don't know how to get started again. I don't know how to repair all the wrongdoing that I've done here."
He continued asking God for help in this way for a few years. What ultimately led him to reconcile with his wife and children was seeing his eldest son's performance as the leading role in a production of "Les Misérables."
"There was something about the way my son played Jean Valjean, kneeling at the bedside of a woman who was dying, promising to take care of her daughter when she died. It struck me that I was learning from my son that that's what I had to do for the wife I had left behind."
He resolved that he had to do something to repair his marriage. The next day his then-ex-wife called and asked if she could move in with him and their children while she recovered from an upcoming back operation.
"God has been so good," Mainwaring said. "It's impossible for a guy to have a complementary relationship with another guy. Two men can't complete each other. But my wife completes me. And there is nobody else on this earth that could deliver and provide happiness and the completeness for me that my wife does."
Meagher, whose story The Christian Post reported on last year, detailed what it was like to have two children come to identify and live as transgender, including taking hormones and undergoing surgeries.
She explained in her remarks that the general public remains in the dark about what parents like her experience. Telling compelling narratives about this is imperative, she said. Both of her trans-identifying children have severed ties with her and she hasn't seen them in years.
After her story was published by CP she began hearing from mothers and fathers in similar situations and found that several themes consistently appeared in each one's story. These parents, she stressed, have almost no support.
"We parents love our kids deeply," Meagher said. "Our kids are struggling. We see that they're struggling. We just don't see [gender-transitioning] as the solution. We have legitimate concerns.
"Anyone who does very much serious research into the effects of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones is going to become concerned," she continued. "There is an appalling lack of research and science. And we don't know what the long-term effects of these medical treatments are.
"And so the statement that this is an uncontrolled, live experiment on children is a true one, and it's chilling."
Families suffer in silence, she explained, and they need support they're not getting from the institutions, many of which are actively encouraging these experimental gender treatments on minors.
Speaking of the suffering she and other parents endure, Meagher likened it to a missing person who's never found.
"I don't know if my kids are OK," she said. "I don't if they are working or if they are happy or healthy. I don't know if my daughter has had surgery or what kind of surgery she has had. I don't know where she is. She's missing, and it's her choice. She could call me anytime but she doesn't. This is a grief with no resolution and no end, and it's my daily life."
Parents dealing with this issue in their families must realize that they are in this for the long haul and take drastic steps, Meagher advised.
"You may need to pull your child out of public school and take away the internet. Move them across the country and get them away from their friend group. Or send them away for the summer to a place with no internet access where they will be outside and do a lot of physical work. You need to be ready to listen. You need to be patient. Try not to panic and connect yourself to support. You can't do this by yourself. Pray, pray, pray," she stressed.
"The rest of us can continue to tell the truth wherever we are ... but the truth is worth it. And our girls are worth it."
Ruiz began his remarks by noting that he was a product of a praying mother. A mom who knew how to speak prophetically into his destiny and not his circumstances.
Along with fellow Pulse nightclub survivor Angel Colon, Ruiz is featured in a documentary about their journeys leaving homosexuality behind and coming into an understanding of their identity in Christ. Today he leads a ministry called Fearless Identity.
Ruiz recounted the terror of the night in June 2016 when 49 people were murdered and 53 others were wounded by gunman and terrorist Omar Mateen at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Amid the chaos of people trying to flee the scene, Ruiz was trampled and could barely move his body from all the pain.
"I was in the Army for 15 years, combat veteran, and all that training that I got in the Army, that did not prepare me for a night like this," he said.
Ruiz has since traveled to the U.K., Taiwan, and throughout the U.S. to let people know that change is possible through Christ.
"Jesus, the message of the cross, is what changes [people], and it's changing millions all around the world. Although the world says that we were born this way, which is false as there is no [gay] gene, we tell them that in John 3:3 that you must be born again."