"I don't have room for hate in my heart," says McKrae Game. "I am not going to stay silent and not use my voice."
In the hours after McKrae Game came out as gay, he received support as well as a wave of backlash.
“I’ve had some hate-filled messages,” said Game during a Facebook Live broadcast after he took a run Wednesday. “And I get the hate and lashing out.”
Game, 51, founded one of the largest conversion therapy programs in the country and led the homophobic organization for 20 years, a movement he now calls harmful.
After the program, Hope for Wholeness, fired him in 2017 for his use of pornography, the married father began accepting that he was gay and sought the help of a “pro-gay” therapist, he said during other Facebook Live broadcasts on Tuesday and Wednesday. (Game and Hope for Wholeness did not immediately return PEOPLE’s requests for comment.)
Game, from Spartanburg, South Carolina, came out of the closet this summer after “I had the option of being outed or coming out myself,” he says.
The Post and Courier first reported the story Saturday.
Game has responded to some of the hate-filled messages by reaching out and offering to talk and meet local people in person. He said he plans to get coffee with a mother, with whom he counseled her daughter, and he ended up doing a video conference with “one young lady who was so angry.”
Game did a Facebook live Wednesday with local LGBTQ activist Kim Williams, who says on the stream that before talking and meeting with Game, she “came to eat him alive.”
“I had to meet this gentleman,” she says, “and now I understand he was just as abused and brainwashed as the people he wanted to save. He was suffering.”
Game said he is a member of two gay Facebook groups, and “one is just lashing out at me and being hateful.”
“There are people very angry at me for coming out,” he says, later adding: “I am sorry if you have that much hate you want me dead. I don’t have room for hate in my heart… I am not going to stay silent and not use my voice.”
Now working as a landscaper during warmer months, and preparing to work as a ski patroller in the winter, Game says he plans to donate any money he may earn as a speaker or if he obtains a book deal to the LGBTQ community.
To those turning to conversion therapy or a ministry “that is trying to tell someone that what comes natural to them is wrong and harmful,” he told The Blast Wednesday, “it is harmful to that person’s psyche, their sense of peace, sense of well being.”
“I would encourage them to reconsider that,” he says. “They need to reach out to someone not pushing them in that direction.”