Luis Javier Ruiz is one of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting spree survivors. In the terrorist attack that targeted a gay nightclub, Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 others. Ruiz recently said on Facebook that he was going through old pictures of that night and he believes, “I should have been number 50.”
The Pulse shooting survivor lost two close personal friends to the terrorist attack. Ruiz recalls having struggles with “perversion, heavy drinking to drown out everything, and having promiscuous sex that led to HIV.” Now, he is speaking out in public to tell the world about his story.
“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. Two out of the 49 were my close friends and are no longer with us. They lost their life that night. I should have been number 50 but now I have the chance to live in relationship and not religion – not just loving Christ but being in love with Christ and sharing His love. I know who I am and I am not defined with who the enemy says I use to be – but who Christ Jesus says I am.”
Ruiz’s story was shared by Freedom March in a social media post that proclaimed, “Homosexuals Can Change!” Freedom March is a Washington D.C.-based event which calls itself a celebration of “freedom from homosexuality and transgenderism lifestyles by the grace and power of Jesus Christ.”
According to The Christian Post, Ruiz no longer identifies himself as being gay. When Ruiz was asked about news reports about gay conversion therapy, he laughed and asked, “What’s that?”
“Honestly, I don’t know what that is. I’ve never been through conversion therapy. I’ve been through Holy Spirit therapy,” Ruiz explained. “That’s the only [kind] I know. All they are trying to do is, I think, it’s lies. It’s fake people and fake news. Jesus said ‘Follow me.’ He didn’t give you a list of rules. He said, ‘Follow me.’ So trust Him to do the rest.”
Ruiz went on to explain that he grew up as a pastor’s child. He claims that many Christians in American churches tend to live a “church kind” of Christian faith, “but God is calling us to lifestyle Christianity, and you can only find that and only do that through Christ.” Ruiz noted that people of the church have kicked or thrown out LGBTQ people out, including himself, and now he wants to “ask for forgiveness” on behalf of the church and to “welcome the LGBTQ” to “come worship in a safe place.” He believes that “God’s heart now is that He wants” the “heart” of the LGBT community. “He wants to fall in love with [them].”
“I don’t want to tell everyone it’s a ‘gay-to-straight’ thing because God is not calling me to that,” Ruiz told NBC News. “I feel that I want to live in a life of purity. I feel that through loving Christ, he will walk me out of any situation. I love the LGBTQ community, I love my family. There’s no hate here, there’s love.”