By the time Mark* reached his 52nd birthday, he had undergone 21 years of conversion therapy and three exorcisms.
Now living his life as an openly gay man in Tasmania, Mark wants to see the "incredibly damaging" practices legislated against.
Growing up in a conservative, fundamentalist Christian household in NSW, Mark's teenage realisation that he was gay was met with severe anxiety.
"It was when I was in high school at a boys boarding school and I realised I had a problem," he said.
"It was a culture of compulsory heterosexuality and it was an abhorrent concept to be gay in those circumstances."
The first person that Mark decided to come out to was a leader at his church.
"I approached the Assistant Pastor at my church and said 'I have a problem'. And he answered 'things can be done'," he said.
"That was where my journey of conversion therapies began."
A 2018 report by the Australian Human Rights Law Centre found that sexual orientation and gender identity - also known as SOGI - conversion therapy emerged in Australian conservative Christian communities in the early 1970s.
"It is grounded in the belief that all people are born with the potential to develop into heterosexual people whose gender identity accords with that assigned to them at birth," the report said.
LGBTQIA+ advocate Rodney Croome AM said current-day conversion therapies were largely performed by people without relevant qualifications.
"[These therapies] are performed by people who see themselves as self-styled therapists," he said.
After coming out to his church community, Mark began to attend conferences and retreats aimed at eliminating his same-sex attraction.
Based on teachings from Exodus International - a now defunct conversion ministry - Mark was taught that homosexuality was a by-product of poor familial relationships.
"Its psychological perspective is that a person has had a poor relationship with the same-sex parent and the program works through these issues, and as you work these issues- heterosexuality will naturally emerge," he said.
Despite not having savings to afford the courses on offer, Mark said his attendance was always funded by an anonymous source.
"It's like a business. They had retreats and conferences that would cost hundreds of dollars for a weekend," he said.
"And whenever a conference came up, the money appeared and I never knew where the money came from to pay for the plane ticket and get into the conference."
One of the cornerstones of these conferences were the speakers who positioned themselves as conversion therapy success stories.
"What happens is that within any of these communities - the leader is an 'ex-gay'," Mark explained.
"Meaning they were 'in the lifestyle' and followed the program and met someone from the opposite gender and [had] fallen in love and gotten married.
"They were meant to be the living proof that this works and change is possible."
Throughout this time, Mark suffered from what he described as internalised homophobia.
"I would hold the gay community at arms length because I was so frightened of any acknowledgment of this being what I was feeling and this being who I am," he said.
In addition to celibacy and therapy sessions, Mark was also invited to prayer groups where prayers would pray for his healing from sin.
"The first session was nine hours, the second time was five hours and the third time was two and a half hours," he said.
"I was prayed for three times before I was told I would have to have an exorcism."
Mark underwent three separate exorcisms, which while he acknowledged were not like the those seen in films, were still "frightening and incredibly traumatic".
For Mark, his decades-long commitment to conversion therapy practices was due to the disparity of power between himself and the leaders of the groups.
"They are in a position of leadership and you're a very vulnerable person," he said.
"It's a cycle that happens over many years and its a cycle of guilt, it's a cycle of shame.
"I can only describe it as like a carrot in front of a donkey - the lure of change was so strong."
Living in Launceston in 2018, Mark had what he described as a breakdown.
"I was 52 and still a virgin. I had been celibate my whole life because I had been trying so hard," he said.
"I had cried buckets of tears, begging God to change me."
It was after this crisis that Mark decided to finally accept his sexual orientation.
"After 21 years of trying everything I could to change - I had to accept that I was still gay," he said.
"In that moment, I stopped fighting myself."
Mark's acceptance of his identity led to him being excommunicated from his community and ostracized by friends.
Now living his life as a self-described "rainbow Christian", Mark no longer believes his faith and sexuality are at odds.
He has also gone on to have intimate relationships that highlighted the lifetime of experiences he had been denied.
Mark has chosen to share his story in the hope that he can protect others from a similar fate.
"At the time I didn't know that there were options," he said "I didn't know that these therapies didn't actually work."
"I want to share my story so that I can make a difference. So that young people have options available to them to say 'no'.
"And that makes what I'm doing worthwhile."
The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute is currently preparing it's report on conversion therapies in Tasmania.
Attorney General Elise Archer said the government was awaiting this report before "speculating on any potential reforms in this area."
Equality Tasmania has launched a support group for survivors of conversion therapy.
For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Name has been changed
- Lifeline 13 11 14