“I love the LGBTQ community, I love my family. There’s no hate here – there’s love.”
Two survivors of the Pulse Nightclub massacre are set to headline an “ex-gay” rally.
Luis Javier Ruiz and Angel Colon will take part in The Freedom March, which will occur 14 September in Orlando at Lake Eloa Park – approximately ten minutes away from Pulse.
It’s one of many events hosted by the organisation of the same name that celebrates “freedom from homosexual and transgender lifestyles by the grace and power of Jesus Christ”.
Ruiz, who also attended a Freedom March in Washington, D.C. in May – told NBC News at the time: “I don’t want to tell everyone it’s a ‘gay-to-straight’ thing because God is not calling me to that.
“I feel that I want to live in a life of purity. I feel that through loving Christ, he will walk me out of any situation. I love the LGBTQ community, I love my family. There’s no hate here—there’s love.”
During the massacre, Colon was reportedly shot six times and trampled by those who tried to escape. He was unable to walk for the next two months. After, he became an outspoken activist for gun control in the United States.
Last week however, he spoke to Christian blogger Julie Roys on her podcast The Roys Report and denounced his homosexuality, saying he no longer chooses to be gay because of the shooting.
“A couple months before June, I started praying to God and I told him, ‘Lord, you know my situation, you know my heart, you know I want to worship you. But I cannot do it on my own will. Please help me come back to you,'” he said.
“And at that moment, I call it the dangerous prayer. And I said, ‘Lord, do whatever you have to do to me for me to come back to you. And I don’t care what it is.’ And I kept on praying like that. And June 12th came. I made it out.
“Went to a housewarming party first. We made it to Pulse nightclub and at 2:02am everything just changed in an instant.”
Ruiz and Colon have also founded Fearless Identity, an organisation that encourages people to “reject their LGBT identities.”