As a pastor’s daughter Kori Ashton grew up in the church and a very religious environment. She committed her heart to God at four years old and began dreaming of traveling the world singing for Jesus. However, Kori’s feelings of same sex attraction began at this early age as well. She was taught that those feelings were sinful and that she could never admit to them, much less act on them. Homosexuality seemed to be the worst sin possible. Her secret struggle began and it would last for more than 25 years.
Kori attended private Christian school her whole life so at 18 when it was time to go off to college the natural step was to attend Bible college – Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Texas. Within two weeks she had already met her first girlfriend who was another pastor’s daughter. SAGU is adamantly against homosexuality, so again Kori knew better than to be open about her feelings. She fought to keep her sexual desires secret so that she could attend the University and keep up the appearance of a “healthy, normal Christian.” She even dated guys to help camouflage her lesbian relationships. She was “outted” in 1995 and immediately kicked out.
It was inevitable to feel regret and confusion in a situation like this. Kori had been reared to believe a certain way, and everything she had been living for said that she was a hypocrite and a failure. She began to weigh it all out, and decided that the shame of being a lesbian was too overwhelming. Pushing all of her true feelings deep inside, she confessed her “sins”, renounced being gay and was allowed to re-attend SAGU in 1996. Over the next few years Kori would have multiple partners – all secret relationships with fellow, female students. But the fear of being a disappointment and disgrace to her family would soon take its toll.
Wanting to please others – Kori decided once again to suppress her sexual desires and attempt to become the “ideal” Christian, young lady. She left SAGU in 1999 and rekindled her dream of singing around the world for Jesus. Along with a few friends, Kori started a Christian band called “Exit” and began using the title “Ex-Gay” for publicity. Word spread quickly about the band and almost overnight they began working with Exodus International, Exodus Youth, PFOX, Focus on the Family and several other ex-gay affiliates. Kori founded MyTrueFreedom.net – an Ex-gay website where she shared her struggle and directed kids and teens to Exodus Youth.
As a band Exit’s first gig was opening for the Christian band Skillet and it wasn’t long before they was touring the United States and opening for bands like Tree 63, David Crowder, Pillar, Third Day and others. Kori ministered side by side with several well-known icons of the ex-gay circle like Sy Rogers in Florida and Dennis Jernigan in Oklahoma. They recorded 3 CDs and their music was heard on the radio around the world via Calvary Satellite Network.
In 2002 Exit was the featured band for the youth portion of the Exodus International National Conference in Wheaton, IL. Through the years Kori’s band ministered at Cornerstone Festival with Exodus Youth, many Love Won Out Conferences across the United States and was the featured speaker and worship team for many ex-gay events.
Well on the way to fame in the Christian market, Kori’s schedule kept her so busy that it was becoming easier for her to ignore her homosexual feelings. Years pasted and Kori decided to become a solo artist (Kori Ashton Band) and continued in the ex-gay ministry, now as a full time worship pastor of a large church in Idaho where she led five worship services to over 9,000 people per week.
Kori was at last living her dream – singing for Jesus and sharing God’s love – but somehow she was still quietly hurting and lonely. She had been so preoccupied with creating an image of a “Perfect Christian,” she had ignored who she truly was. After leaving the full-time ministry in 2004, Kori turned and faced her struggle. Through counseling and mentoring, personal discovery and family support, Kori found a balance of her sexual identity and her faith!
“It has been a lot of tears and prayers, but I am blessed to say that I am now Ex-Ex Gay. No label fits me better than “Set Free!” The manipulation of the condemning so-called “Christians” (not true examples of Christ) with their failed rehabs and the self-abuse of needed perfection is NO MORE! God’s Word is Truth – Nothing can separate us from His Love!
I have never known God’s peace and grace like I do now. I have realized that my imperfection keeps me on my knees, looking to God and not to people for my acceptance. He truly loves me for me. I wouldn’t go back and do things differently. The road I’ve traveled has been the scenic route, but it has led me to the feet of God where I rest in His Grace knowing that I am His design, His joy and His perfection!”
Today Kori has traveled to 8 countries sharing God’s Truth and can be found leading worship at local churches. She has performed at Pride festivals and events in south Texas singing about her personal evolution.
When she launched LesBePure.com in 2008 her goal was to have a safe place online where women could go to learn more about finding their own balance of faith and sexual orientation. She wanted to create a resource for the lesbian community to discover a new way to rethink, respond and react!
Kori and her partner Rebecca were married legally in Iowa June 16th and then had a church ceremony in Becky’s hometown of Rockford, IL on June 19, 2010. Now wouldn’t Oprah call that a “Full Circle Moment!”??