Two men who survived the Pulse
nightclub shooting hosted an “ex-gay” rally in Orlando on
According to the Orlando
Sentinel, the rally took place at Lake Eola Park and was
attended by over 100 people. The outlet likened the event to a
“church service with a gospel band and messages of worship.”
Angel Colon, 29, and Luis Javier Ruiz,
36, who created the ministry Fearless Identity after the 2016
shooting, hosted the rally with the Family Policy Council, a
Christian conservative group opposed to LGBT rights.
Colon and Ruiz claim to be “overcomers
During the rally, Ruiz told the crowd
that his ministry does not practice conversion therapy, a
controversial practice that aims to alter the sexual orientation or
gender identity of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender. It is also known as “reparative therapy,” “sexual
orientation change efforts” or “ex-gay therapy.”
“I want to make a public declaration:
This is not conversion therapy. This is not electrotherapy. This is
not shock therapy. This is all the Holy Spirit; this is the man that
died on the cross,” Ruiz told the crowd. “This man never cheated
on me, never slept with my best friend. He's the man on the cross.”
Others who spoke said that they had
left the LGBT “lifestyle” after finding religion.
Forty-nine people died and 53 were
injured when a lone gunman opened fire inside the Pulse nightclub, a
gay bar in Orlando.
The rally took place as activists in
Orange County call for a ban on such therapies.