Internationally renowned LGBT activist Val Kalende has publicly denounced her lesbian lifestyle and says God completely transformed her with his love.
Kalende was once a global champion for LGBT rights and frequently called out Christians and politicians for their support of traditional marriage. Today, she says God has forgiven her for what she calls the "sin of same-sex."
From Preacher's Kid to LGBT Champion
Kalende grew up as a preacher's kid in a Pentecostal household in Uganda, but left behind her family and career as a journalist to become an LGBT activist in 2007. She traveled the globe speaking on gay rights issues and spearheaded the Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG), an umbrella body for LGBT organizations in the country.
When the Ugandan parliament criminalized homosexual behavior in 2014, Kalende gained asylum in Canada and became a fellow at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
Transformed By God's Love
While writing for the Huffington Post in 2016, she said she remained "steadfast" in her fight for LGBT rights and that she "always believed in the transformative power of truth, because the truth, as they say, sets us free."
Today, those words have a very different meaning. She says the truth of the gospel has set her free from her sinful past.
"The enemy had a plan to divert and eventually destroy my identity. God had a plan. A good plan," she writes on her Facebook page. "Seeing how far God has brought me it makes sense now to believe God had His eyes on me. He waited on me. He preserved my womanhood. He never stopped loving me. He knew me by name. He never stopped calling me back to His purpose."
Instead of being LGBT, she identifies as TBGL – Transformed by God's Love.
But what led her away from her Christian upbringing in the first place? It's a question she admits she "wrestled with" for years.
"Often times I read my Bible - particularly scripture on homosexuality and marriage - but my heart was hardened," she recalls in her Facebook post. "Instead I asked God questions like: If your design is for me not to have sexual relations outside of marriage and for marriage to be between a man and a woman, why then do I have same-sex attractions? Now I understand this shouldn't have been the approach of my conversations with God."
Instead she says she should have trusted God despite not having all the answers.
"My approach should have been: Lord, I don't have answers but I trust and believe your Word. Your intention is not to harm me or prevent me from enjoying life. Your intention is to preserve me; and to give me not the life of my choice but the life I deserve according to your love," she writes.
A New Call to Action
Kalende regrets her involvement as a mentor, leader, and scholar in the LGBT movement, but owes a lot of her transformation to the "power of a praying family."
Now, she hopes others like her also find the grace and love of Jesus.
She recently wrote: "Dear LGBT movement: I found Life, Truth and Grace. My prayer is that you find the good life as I have. Y'all have become my reason for intercession. I know, from some of the messages I've received so far, that the Holy Spirit has begun speaking to your hearts. He is the revealer of all truth…To pastors I disagreed with, I am sorry. To politicians I violently fought in a war of words, I am sorry. To the old and young generation of this nation, I am sorry. To my FATHER and maker, I am sorry. To myself, I am sorry. I am at peace with my soul because I am forgiven and forever set free. Psalm 51:17."