Being gay, or bisexual, or queer, or trans, is not sinful. It never was. Yet in too many churches around the world, attempts to ‘pray away the gay’ are still going on.

And it doesn’t just stop at prayer. Exorcisms, electric shock therapy and even ‘corrective’ rapes have been reported.

Attempts are being made to address this, particularly in the US and UK, where bills aimed at banning conversion therapy practices are underway. The backlash, however, has been fierce. In my home, the UK, the government has recently disbanded the LGBT advisory panel after three advisors quit, claiming that attempts…


The Nordic Model sucks.

As a sexual exploitation survivor, those who don’t know me well often expect that I will support the current efforts of Dame Diana Johnson, among others, to bring in her new Sexual Exploitation Bill and/or add amendments to the (already deeply worrying) Police and Crime Bill.

I don’t. In fact, I strongly oppose them. I have attempted to reach out to the personalities and organisations concerned to speak about this. After all, they claim the whole point of this Bill is to prevent sexual exploitation. So they should welcome the voices of survivors, right? …


Essential oils are God’s own medicine. Yes, really. Or at least, so I was told by my Women’s Pastor at the local evangelical church I used to attend. Indeed, ‘anointing with oil’ was often a feature of the type of healing ministry that I spoke about in my article on faith healing.

Now, I have no issue with people using essential oils if they make them feel good. I’m partial to a drop of jasmine oil in my bath, and all of my children were massaged with oil as babies, which they loved. …


A woman is naked, her back to the camera, her arms around herself in a hug.
A woman is naked, her back to the camera, her arms around herself in a hug.

[ID: A woman, naked, has her back to the camera, her arms around herself in a hug.]

On bad days, I don’t know where the anxiety stops and the chronic pain begins. The tightening in my chest could be warning of a panic attack or of a fibromyalgia flare that will spread across my chest, down my arms and into my hands, rendering me unable to write — both my work and my passion — or to hug my loved ones. The need to lie down in a quiet, darkened room could be because of sensory overload that triggers my…


A woman is curled into the foetal position on a bed which has white sheets on it. Dried plant stems lay next to her legs.
A woman is curled into the foetal position on a bed which has white sheets on it. Dried plant stems lay next to her legs.
(ID: A woman is curled into the foetal position on a bed which has white sheets on it. Dried plant stems lay next to her legs.)

My third labor lasted three days. Not the sort of three-day labor where the first two days are relatively uneventful, with only occasional contractions, but seventy two hours of intense pain that scrambled my brain.

It didn’t make my pleasure at holding my son any less acute, but I remember lying in the hospital bed that night, barely able to move, and thinking that there was no way my body would ever be the same. And I didn’t mean the stretchmarks.

I was right. The fatigue, which I thought at first was normal — what new parent isn’t fatigued? —…


There are a lot of stereotypes about writers, particularly around the way we think. Perhaps the most prevalent is the whole ‘tortured soul’ thing (perhaps especially true with poets and songwriters) and the idea that with our creativity comes an inevitable amount of chaos. Cluttered desks, piled up dishes and post-it notes all over the wall spring to mind. But just how true are they? What really goes on in the writer’s brain?

A lot of research into creativity would seem to indicate that to some degree, the stereotypes have a factual basis. As Dr Kaufman, director of the Imagination…


If there was one, final moment that cemented my decision to leave the evangelical church I had been attending for the best part of a decade, it was the reaction to my diagnosis. Ever since I had my third son, now four, I had been suffering with unexplained fatigue, virus-like symptoms and debilitating chronic pain. I was finally diagnosed with ME and fibromyalgia, and the relief that it wasn’t anything life-threatening was quickly tempered by the realization there was no cure. No pill I could take that would make it magically better, no operation for the pain, just lifelong ‘management.’

Michelle Kelly

Bestselling author of ‘When I Wasn’t Watching’ and USA Today bestselling ghostwriter. Lives with chronic illness.

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