Rebekah Moffett interviews Kylie Delia on the freedom she has found in Jesus.
Kylie Delia describes herself as an ‘ex-lesbian’. Her story is one of joy, encouragement and extraordinary transformation in Jesus Christ. “I use that phrase to show what I’ve come out of,” she explains, “because in Christ, today I am a new creation.”
Yet in her native Malta, her testimony is a dangerous one to share. Somewhat strangely, on the predominantly Catholic island, so-called ‘conversion therapy’ has been banned since 2016. This includes any so-called promotion of leaving behind homosexuality, or any other LGBT identity. According to the law, anyone who attempts to “change, repress or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression” could be fined or even jailed.
Kylie says her church, which is also home to ex-gay former X Factor Malta contestant Matthew Grech, has been criticised heavily by the media, and both herself and her ex-gay friends have been publicly attacked and silenced for sharing their testimonies. When I press her, she tells me, “sharing our testimonies has been a perfect opportunity for the LGBTQ Equality branch in Malta to demonise us.”
Yet her story is an important one to hear – particularly since the UK government has announced its intention to ban the so-called practice here as well. Just as in Malta, this would essentially ban church-based pastoral care for those struggling with sexual identity, including prayer for those who have asked for it, and conversations between consenting adults. Kylie herself has never sought specific counselling for unwanted homosexuality, but she tells me that she has had “experiences within the church that could be described as therapeutic.” These are precisely the types of conversations the government plans to ban.
Now more than ever the government needs to listen and take note of these stories of complete transformation, of finding joy, and of receiving the help that these people were longing for.
‘Out and proud’
From around age 12, Kylie says she started to have feelings for the same sex. “I thought I was born that way,” she says. “I thought it was permanent and a fixed identity.”
At around 15-years-old, she experienced her first lesbian relationship, entering into what she says were seven years of “diverse and different relationships with women.”
“I lived in the homosexual lifestyle for about seven years,” she says, “I was out and proud.”
For anyone doubting her former way of life, you only need look back at the photographs of when she was what she calls a ‘butch lesbian’ to see what she means.
“I never felt comfortable being a woman,” she tells me. “For years I fully and totally embraced lesbianism as my identity. The idea of being with men felt disgusting, almost like torture to me.”
Yet in embracing her lesbianism, she felt it necessary to take on a more masculine role: “Being a woman was a weakness in my sight, so I always took more of a masculine role because masculinity meant strength. My femininity put me as the weaker vessel.”
‘Surrounded by brokenness’
Growing up, life was far from perfect – far even from the bravado that she put on in the photographs.
Raised in a broken home, Kylie describes her childhood as “drug-infested.” Her father was a drug dealer and user, bringing a lot of criminal activity home with him. Kylie says she was more of a rebellious child and following her father’s lead – whether intentional or not – she began experimenting with drugs at just 13-years-old and by 21 was addicted to alcohol.
“I was trying to find a sense of belonging and happiness in all sorts of different things” she says. But it was also a way to escape the world I lived in.”
Digging deeper into her past, she continues. “Growing up, I was surrounded by men who were very dominant … the atmosphere in my house was very abusive, very violent. I grew up with abusive and dominant men and I believe that’s the reason why I leaned more towards being a butch lesbian.”
With this skewed view of gender roles, Kylie explains that she saw women as needing protection from men that would simply take advantage of them. This, she believes, is what would propel her into taking on a role of ‘protector of women’; not only did she feel uncomfortable in her own skin, not wanting to appear weak, she also wanted to protect other women who could be subject to abuse and mistreatment.
So, I ask, a lesbian relationship was a way for her to express a more protecting masculine role and ensure that the woman she was with was cared for? “Yes,” she replies. “But I also thought that being in a homosexual relationship would provide me with the comfort and intimacy I longed for, that I’d never found in men. It was my illusion of finding love.
“But as time went on, I felt a deep void in my life. I was searching for fulfilment, but I never found it in those relationships.”
‘I decided to give Jesus a chance’
So what was it that brought about change?
“We were never religious,” she says. “In fact, I was atheist.” She explains how she never “had any regard for God” – “I thought, if there’s a God and he cares, then why did I go through all this pain and suffering?”
However, it was after a friend invited her parents to church that things started to change: “My father was a drug addict, there were all sorts of problems in my parents’ marriage. But they took a chance and went to this church … In the church, something happened that they could hardly describe. People were praying over them. To me, this was like a foreign language – I didn’t know what any of it meant.”
In fact, it was her own mother who began praying for Kylie to find Jesus. “She was praying for me night and day,” Kylie says, “but over the years I just kept going – one destructive relationship after another. The further I went, the more depressing my life got.”
But over time, things at home began to change: “I saw my father begin to quit drugs and my parents’ lives were radically different. The atmosphere in the whole house changed and shifted in such a miraculous way.”
Eventually, she says, she hit rock bottom. With nowhere else to turn, she decided to give ‘this Jesus’ a chance. After this, things began shifting in her own life, too.
“My eyes were opened to the spiritual world and what Jesus had done for me,” she explains. “Once I opened the door and let God into my life, he showed me that the things I had heard about him weren’t true – he was someone else. He didn’t condemn me; he was welcoming me with open arms!”
Change is a gradual journey
Kylie says she is now “very happy in a heterosexual relationship.” After seven years living as a lesbian, she now says she never wants to go back.
Did she suddenly start finding men attractive? “No,” she smiles, “it didn’t suddenly change. There was a period when God just had me on my own, because I had to find a place of being whole in Christ. I realised nobody else was going to make me whole. And I needed to focus on building myself up as a woman in Christ.”
Did she ever expect to be attracted to men, I ask. “For a while I had thought that I’d just be on my own,” she says, “that I’d just spend my life serving God as a single woman.
“There were things God needed to work in me first. He needed to convince me that homosexuality wasn’t his way. Going through God’s word, he started to challenge my views on that.
“I had to reconcile with my father as well, and God needed to start restoring the way I viewed men. Having a spiritual Father really helps with the psychological aspects and impacts of not having a father to look up to when I was growing up.
“After a few months I started to notice that my same-sex attraction was decreasing.
“Then maybe after a year or so, I noticed that I would look at men and find them attractive! This was so foreign to me, so I used to stop myself in my tracks from thinking that any man was attractive – or that I could be attracted to men!”
God took her on ‘baby steps’, she continues. Change didn’t come overnight, but as her faith and understanding grew, her sexuality changed gradually too.
Free to pursue a different life
It’s almost hard to believe that Kylie is the same person as in that previous photo – the change in her is remarkable.
“Now I’m very happy in a heterosexual relationship and I’d never want to go back, because now I understand the proper roles of men and women,” she says. “I have been freed from same-sex desires and attractions and am able to pursue a different life, coming into agreement with my femininity.”
So what is next for Kylie? “We haven’t tied the knot yet,” she laughs, “only God knows! But the future is exciting in God and whatever it is, I’m happy to be a child of God, to be free and to share my story and the power of God, and show that there is hope for people who want out of that lifestyle.”
In fact, Kylie is now co-director of X-Out-Loud Europe, a thriving community of ex-LGBT members that celebrates transformation and the freedom for people to leave LGBT identities and lifestyles. X-Out-Loud gives people a place to share their own testimonies and shows how there is a growing community of people unhappy with what LGBT identities have to offer. There is another way.
What advice does Kylie have for anyone currently struggling with their sexual identity, I ask. “I don’t buy into the ‘born this way’ notion anymore. I believe that homosexuality is a by-product of unresolved brokenness,” she explains. “So when you have one broken person becoming one with another broken person, even a small fight can trigger the abuse and emotion of the past.
“To anyone struggling, I’d say get to know your Heavenly Father. Try to identify and analyse the roots of your same-sex attraction, ask for help, ask for prayer.
“Don’t be ashamed of asking. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but it is possible for those who desire to move out of homosexuality. And there is a community here ready to support you.”
You can watch more of Kylie’s testimony on Round the Table in the video below: