Luis Javier Ruiz, 49 a survivor of the Pulse massacre is now on the conversion-therapy circuit. He will be the headliner at a May 5 event called Freedom March, at DC's National Sylvan Theater which is located near the Washington Monument. The event has been organized by the Voice of the Voiceless and fundamentalist Christian group.
On June 12, 2016, 49 people were killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Ruiz is originally from Puerto Rico according to his Facebook page. In a post from April 28, he talks about his conversion; “I should have been number 50,” he wrote. “Going through old pictures of the night of Pulse a memory were my struggles of perversion, heavy drinking to drown out everything and having promiscuous sex that led to HIV my struggles were real! “The enemy had its grip and now God has taken me from that moment and has given me Christ Jesus. I’ve grown to know his love in a deeper level.”
Ruiz made a statement to a Catholic publication in Florida Ruiz stated; “I survived because I believe God still has a purpose for me." Ruiz received benefits from the Catholic Charities, an organization that fights adoptions by same-sex couples. No where does it mention his affiliation with the Christian group in Virginia. Daren Melh, the groups founder says he was gay for 10 years until God changed him.
In recent years former converts have exposed the harm of conversion therapy and the long-term effects it has, and gay-right groups oppose the practice. The practice has been disputed by medical and mental health professional. Currently, states across the country are banning the practice when it involves the youth. There are 10 states, and Hawaii and Maryland have pending legislation that would ban conversion therapy.