By Meg Jalsevac

Charlene Cothran  TRENTON, NJ., February 28, 2007 ( – Charlene Cothran, a prominent black lesbian in the forefront of the fight for equal rights for gays and lesbians and publisher of a successful magazine geared to black homosexuals was not looking to change anything in her life.  Her entire life and all her earthly successes were firmly entrenched in the homosexual community.  But, due to the inspiration of a pastor who counseled Cothran to use her gifts for Christ, Cothran has left her homosexual life and is making it her mission to offer help to other homosexuals who want to do the same. 

  Cothran said, “I must come out of the closet again.  I have recently experienced the power of change that came over me once I completely surrendered to the teachings of Jesus Christ.”

  In a front page article in her own VENUS magazine entitled “Redeemed! 10 Ways to Get Out of the Gay Life, If You Want Out.”, Cothran unabashedly explained the reasons behind her conversion and the peace that her decision has brought to her.  “Although I have lived as a lesbian for my entire adult life, it is without a doubt my soul’s purpose to use my gifts to LOVINGLY share the truth about how we got here: how we came to be gay or lesbian, how we came to enjoy our ‘lifestyle’ and how we came to believe that this was OK with God.”

  Cothran offered hope to her “gay and lesbian brothers and sisters who want real peace” saying, “It is simpler than you think to acquire [real peace] and there is no condemnation once you’ve entered it.”  She continued, “Jesus will cleanse and forgive all confessed sin from a willing heart.  Homosexuality is only one of them.  It is no greater sin than any of the others, but it is sin.”

  In her article, Cothran described her conversion and explained that she expected the Christian pastor to “drop the phone and anoint it with oil” as soon as she, Cothran, proudly admitted that she was a lesbian.  On the contrary, the pastor, Vanessia M. Livingston, told her “one day you will come out of the world and bring many gay and lesbian souls out with you.” 

  Cothran is doing just that.  Her conversion story was printed in VENUS magazine which has a circulation total of over 38,000 predominantly black homosexuals across the nation.  Cothran says she has “given every gift I have back to God, including VENUS Magazine.  The target audience will remain the same but the mission has been renewed.  Our new mission is to encourage, educate and assist those in the life who want change but can’t find a way out.  My brother, my sister, please follow me out of this.”

  In the article, Cothran outlined 10 ways to facilitate one’s leaving of the homosexual lifestyle.  Among other things, she encouraged her readers to “Seek the truth within the scriptures about homosexuality” and “Do not resist God’s call on your life.” 

  She also encouraged being public about a conversion cautioning that, “Keeping the good news of your personal salvation a secret is another trick the enemy uses to buy time as he tries to pull you back to your former life.”

  The article advises those leaving the homosexual life to “Consult God first, then go ahead and live your life!”  Cothran says that conversion is not about renouncing all enjoyment of life.  On the contrary, she says that it is about enjoying “life to a new degree.”

  Cothran says that her conversion story has been received, predictably, with mixed emotions in the homosexual community.  “I completely understand many of the responses, as angry as they were. A year ago, I would have responded the exact same way.” 

  Cothran has personally responded to many of the postings on the VENUS website herself in an effort to correct the misleading accounts of her conversion that have been posted on many pro-homosexual websites, accusing her of “gay-bashing”. 

  The VENUS website reflects Cothran’s conversion with the new mission statement saying, “The new mission of Venus Magazine is to encourage, educate and assist those who desire to leave a life of homosexuality. Our ultimate mission is to win souls for Christ, and to do so by showing love to all God’s people. We believe that homosexuality is outside of the will of God. We know that many new and longtime VENUS readers have been instilled with a belief system that is in line with this teaching but are still living ‘in the life’. Many desire change and wonder if they can be accepted into the family of God ‘just as they are’. The answer is YES! These readers will find the new Venus an anointed and refreshing tool for kingdom work.”

  Cothran intends to continue her efforts to encourage and influence other members of the homosexual community who are trying to free themselves of the binds of the homosexual lifestyle.  She says, “I intend to be just as ‘out’ about my transformation as I was about my lesbian life.”

  Read Cothran’s complete testimony: