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Matthew’s Place

Joshua Bassett Just Came Out…and Joined a Megachurch. Here’s What It Means to A Fan

By Judy Bokao

IMAGE CREDIT: Axelle/bauer-griffin | Filmmagic | Getty Images

Joshua Bassett is a well-known singer, songwriter and actor. He started his acting career in his late teen years after he moved to LA when he was 16 years old. He soon got minor roles in different shows but his shot to fame came when he played Aidan Peters in the Disney TV series, Stuck In The Middle and later High School Musical: the Musical the Series. Since then, he has dedicated himself to acting and music and has gone on to win various including the Kids’ Choice Awards 2022 Favorite Male TV Star.

The 22-year-old recently caused concern among his fans after a video of him surfaced online. In the video, Bassett is at the Bethel megachurch in Redding, California. He is giving testimony and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and saviour.

In his own words, the young man said, “My name’s Joshua, and long story short, I grew up Christian and ran the other way as far as I could go in search of truth. And that only ended in addition, depression, suicidal ideation, eating disorders, etc. And no other teacher gave me anywhere near the peace that Jesus Christ did.” The crowd then proceeds to cheer for him as the Pastor reiterates that he is right, Jesus is the way and the truth.

The video seems harmless but fans are concerned since Bassett publicly came out in May 2021 as queer. The Bethel megachurch is widely known as a church that supports conversion therapy for the LGBTQ+ community. It is also led by pastors who have publicly shown their support for Trump. I believe we can all remember how harsh Trump’s administration was on the LGBTQ+ community.

Trump aside, fans are questioning why Bassett is associating with a church that supports such cruel treatment of the queer community. Conversion therapy is a harmful emotional and physical therapy used against the LGBTQ community to “cure” or “repair” their sexual orientation, and gender identity.

It has been long proven that conversion therapy does more harm than good. There have been multiple cases where it has led to anxiety, depression, drug use, long term psychological and emotional trauma. You might think what kind of therapy is this but conversion therapy relies on forms of torture such as electrocution, forced medication, humiliation and sexual aversion. In some cases, sexual and psychological abuse. Some queer members have even been put through forced gender-affirming surgery to “neutralize their orientation.”

This is why most countries including the US banned the practice. For a church like Bethel Church, it believes that it is possible to heal someone from being queer. In 2019, the church started promoting a programme at their church called Changed. The programme is part of the project to get “freedom from homosexuality.”

According to a post they shared on Instagram, they stated, “ CHANGED is a community of friends who once identified as LGBTQ+ and through encounters with the love of Jesus, have experienced His freedom in their lives.”

The post didn’t go into detail about how this project supposedly managed to give freedom from homosexuality. In their earlier posts, they had promoted a woman named Elizabeth Woning who was once a lesbian but was healed and now married to a man.

She said she pursued pastoral care and counselling and soon she was experiencing changes in her sexual desires. She and her husband are the founders of CHANGED and when the video of her talking and promoting the programme started getting backlash, they doubled down even more.

There is no problem with Basset accepting Christianity. The members of the LGBTQ+ community are allowed to choose a religious path they feel comfortable with. I for one, believe that our sexual orientation is not something that should keep us from being in a religion. We are all God’s children and normally it is the church that has discriminated against us.

However, I find myself asking if Basset is being used by the church to promote its so-called CHANGED programme. Basset has a huge following, mostly of young teens who find his sexual orientation journey inspiring. It is not a leap to think that Bethel Church is hoping to promote its conversion therapy agenda through him. What exactly entails their “pray away the gay” programme?

It is a known fact that a few months before this, Joshua had admitted that he is struggling. He also was forced to postpone and cancel serve dates from his world tour due to “colliding production schedules.” He said in his struggle he found God and that is a good thing. We all need to believe in something or someone bigger than us. If he found happiness through God then we can’t help but be happy for him.

Nevertheless, we must be concerned that he decided to get baptized in a church publicly known to be anti-LGBTQ+. Bassett has since come out and tweeted, “I visited this church and happened to get baptized here- I was unaware of some of their policies and beliefs, and do not endorse all of them. my heart is for Christ and Christ alone!”

I am tempted to give him the benefit of doubt even though I don’t believe in coincidences. I can only hope he will move to a church that accepts all of him.

In the end, this whole incident had me questioning why is it that most churches ask us to deny part of ourselves to get acceptance.

About the Author:

Judy Bokao was born in Ethiopia but relocated to Nairobi two years ago. She is passionate about everyone having equal rights and is also big on conservation and speaking up for our planet. Judy loves reading and photography and is just a free-spirited young lady trying to grow into a woman her mom can be proud of.



Matthew’s Place is by and for LGBTQ+ youth and a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation l #EraseHate

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Matthew's Place is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation| Words by & for LGBTQ+ youth | #EraseHate | Want to submit? Email