Lesbian activist publisher found deliverance


By Mark Ellis —

Charlene in appearance on CBN
Charlene in appearance on CBN

At a tender age, she became convinced boys only wanted one thing – sex. After she lost her innocence and got turned off by boys’ aggressiveness, she gradually moved toward the gay lifestyle. Despite a church upbringing, she turned her back on God and eventually became a prominent gay activist and the publisher of Venus magazine.

“I didn’t know how to handle attention from men and boys,” recalls Charlene Cothran. “I was tall for my age and fully developed at nine-years-old.”

Her parents divorced when she was three and the absence of a father left her hungry for affirmation from the opposite sex. “I wanted a guy to really like me.” But when she discovered that most of the boys she met wanted one thing, it turned her off.

“I decided no more of this,” Charlene recounts. She says she closed her heart to boys at 14 and fell into a trap in which lesbianism felt like a “safe alternative.”

In doing so, she drifted from her upbringing in a traditional Baptist church. “I learned the Scripture; I learned about Christ and the cross and His redemptive power. I believed it.” She had once been a youth leader in her church.

Exploring gay culture

When Charlene went off to college in the ‘70s she felt like she was “outside the covering” of the church and she began to explore gay clubs and gay culture in the Atlanta area. “Little by little I gave more and more of myself, my thought processes, and my belief system to the gay lifestyle.”

At the same time she embraced lesbianism, she wanted nothing to do with the straight world. “My mother couldn’t tell me any different. My friends praying for me couldn’t tell me any different. If you weren’t gay or bisexual I didn’t want to fool with you at all.”

After college, Charlene began to produce private social events for black lesbians in Atlanta, which were very successful and drew a large following – including many pillars of the community.

Ten years later, she launched Venus magazine. Aimed at African American gays and lesbians, it gained a multitude of subscribers throughout the world.

Venus banner
Venus banner

At the height of her publishing career, she was hit by the early and unexpected death of her mother due to complications from ankle surgery. Charlene and her live-in partner decided to move closer to her grandmother in Yonkers, New York following her mother’s death.

Charlene bought a three-grave plot for her mother, grandmother, and herself. “That was the beginning of God changing my outlook,” she recalls. “Every time I would go and put flowers on my mother’s grave I was reminded this is where I’m going to be some day. That made me stop and think about things that are eternal. I knew getting buried is not the end.”

What will happen on the other side of death? she wondered.

“Gays did not pay attention to eternity,” she says. “Nobody wanted to talk about death. They pretended that every gay person who died is in heaven.”

Because of her upbringing in the church, she knew that couldn’t be true. But as she considered the seeds planted in her heart during her formative years, she felt conflicted. “I didn’t think I could get out of the lesbian lifestyle. I didn’t think I could access the love God created between a man and a woman.”

You can’t go back to that. You’re a lesbian, she thought.

A life-changing phone call

On a Tuesday morning in June, 2006, Charlene placed a call to a prominent female minister in New Jersey.

“Where are you in the Lord?” the woman asked Charlene.

“I’ve been lesbian my whole adult life and I don’t think I could be anything different,” Charlene replied.

Then the minister “opened the book of her life” and shared her own rough past, which included incest, drug addiction and prostitution.

The woman told Charlene that feelings of unworthiness were from the devil. “I know you want to come back to Christ, Charlene,” the woman affirmed.

Then Charlene felt God speak to her heart: This is your day. Choose today whom you will serve. If you choose Me today, I have a Jeremiah 29:11 plan for your life. If you refuse me today, you can do whatever you want, but at the end of that road is judgment.

“I knew it was my day to make an eternal choice,” she says. The tears began to pour down her cheeks. “I felt the Spirit of God on me like never before. I submitted to Him and I knew I was never going back.”

Something like scales fell from her eyes and the light of Christ re-emerged. Charlene looked down and was shocked by what she saw. “I literally looked at my hands and my hands looked new. The world looked different that day.”

Charlene couldn’t wait to tell someone what happened, so that same afternoon she tracked down an older woman who had known her as a girl. Charlene found the woman on her back porch.

“Christ came into my life today,” she told the astonished woman, who began to weep with joy.

“God is going to use you so mightily,” the woman declared.

It was Charlene’s first testimony and she says it “solidified something” in her.

When Charlene told her gay friends about her change they laughed. Many predicted she would be back in the gay clubs within six months. After six months went by and she had not returned, they said she would be back in a year.

This issue shocked her readership
This issue shocked her readership

“After a year I started to get letters from people saying they were tired of the gay lifestyle,” she notes.

After her awakening, Charlene stunned the publishing world by openly declaring her faith in Christ and rejecting the gay lifestyle in the next issue of Venus magazine. She penned an article that chronicled her transformation, “Ten ways to get out of the gay life if you want out.” Gay activists were outraged and led a campaign that caused her to lose advertisers and eventually the magazine.

“Christ did a 2 Corinthians 5:17 transformation in me,” Charlene says. “I gave myself completely to Him. I gave up that old belief system, all that junk.”

God delivered her completely from any inclinations to return to the old lifestyle. “It is a lie that you can’t change,” she says. “Homosexuals have been changing for years. It was documented by Paul when he wrote, ‘Such were some of you,’” (referring to members of the church in Corinth who had once been homosexual)

Today Charlene pastors Zion Baptist Church of Palm Coast in central Florida and speaks throughout the world, sharing her testimony. Her new publishing venture – Victory magazine – is in its third year.


If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here


  1. This evidences again how God honors our will, our choosing. He has never taken “our choosing” ability from us… but we tend to flaunt the lie and convince others that they have no other option. Why do we do this to anyone? It is a grievous thing to tell anyone from any background that they have no choice in the matter of the direction of their lives. This lie is waived in so many arenas of life. Yet, do we not witness those people who choose to want change and with God’s help they make that change? What makes us want them to fail if their choice disagrees with our own personal choosing? 10 Ways to Get Out of ‘The Life’ if You Want Out! states it well… “IF YOU WANT out”, The choice is yours. Congratulations to Charlene Cothran. Your choice was not made easy by anyone… but you courageously cashed in and won your heart’s desire.

    • wonderful, the power of the gospel has not diminished one jot, Gods love has not diminished one jot, His power has not diminished one jot. Immanuel, thank you yeshua , praise Him, Oh come let us adore Him. Rob Hope

  2. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life

  3. Praise God for His love and power in redeeming you. Thank you for sharing your wonderful testimony about what God can do in a person’s life. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for you to share, but I admire and respect you for it. God bless you and your ministry.

  4. I too have been freed from the lesbian lifestyle I spent 20 years in… It’s been 10 years… I also was delivered from addictions to drugs, alcohol, nicotine, depression and the medication I took for it… The suicidal thoughts went along with any desire to be with a woman. I had attempted suicided 3 times. I’m so thankful for all those who continued to pray all those years. I love to hear others victory in Jesus.. I know it’s easy for HIM so happy to be Gods kid!

  5. Beautiful Testimony! Thanks for your courage and your willingness to be used by God in this way! God bless you sister!

  6. Wow!! I am overjoyed with gratitude to God for bringing transformation into the life of this woman when it seemed that there was no hope in her changing. Someone must have been praying and interceding on her behalf all those years that she was in bondage. What a testimony!! All Praise to our God!!

  7. God has richly blessed you and ad the lady on the back porch stated, the Lord will use you mightily. Praise be to the Holy Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

  8. WOW!! Goosebumps!, this testimony really touched me, Nothing is impossible with God!, there is salvation for EVERYONE!! God bless you Charlene Cothran!

  9. Powerful how the Lord supernaturally spoke to you at your conversion and you knew you were not going back. What the enemy meant for evil God is turning for good as you now are a testimony to many to leave the lie of homosexuality. My website is my book/testimonial of healing and freedom. It is a free read. It is published with westbowpress.com and avail as book and eBook. Please take a look at it and feel free to share it with folks. Speak Your Healing from the Homosexual Deception. by Bonnie M. Egglehand.

  10. I was crushed when my lover of three years left to be with another woman. I cried and sobbed every day, until it got so bad that I reached out to the Internet for help. I wasted so much time and effort trying to get her back until I hit on the real thing. And that is you, ultimate spell. You were different from all the rest – you are the diamond in the rough. Thank you from the depths of my soul! I am extremely happy now. I hope God blesses you as much as you have help me to get my Love back.

  11. Please please please pray that my daughter will be saved just like Charlene? God, I know you are hearing my cries, that it reaches your ears and I need you to speak and have a Jetemiah 29:11 plan for my daughter? May I too rejoice in your Mighty miracles and send a man/husband/friend for my daughter?

  12. PLEASE pray for my son George he is lost in the evils of the gay lifestyle. He has turned his back on his religion and our family is in turmoil. My husband live in constant state of depression and anxiety. He wants to be part of the family but I cant let the evil that has consumed him dwell in my household.

  13. Can someone please pray for me. My son came out a few years ago and I believe God will touch his heart because he accepted Christ and even accepted his calling at age 17. Now he’s saying he is going to marry a man. My heart is breaking. I wanna yell and scream at him but I know I can’t he’s over 30 – I know my yelling and screaming at him will not help GOD. I love Him & I have not shown him any thing less than love regardless. But I need help from others who have gone through this.

  14. dear charlene…
    yur courage & resolve to follow wht u blieve to b true, is truly admirable…
    how has ThLord guided u n counseling some1 who has bcome convincd tht they hv ndeed placd their priority n their eternity as a savd blievr n Christ Jesus & who also passionately see their same-sex romantic-sexual relationship as a gift from God…?

  15. I also found deliverance. As a pastor’s son, I spent 25 years in the “gay life”, most of it in the Los Angeles club scene. I was on drugs, a hustler (male prostitute), had a sexual addiction, was in some frightening situations, and attempted suicide. I never thought that God loved me and that He was an ally. Hope and deliverance is possible with Christ!

    It’s difficult coming out of that life because you’re bombarded with the liberal message that “it’s ok and God condones it.” Well I never could get peace about it and I know why. God doesn’t allow you to have peace in sin. Once I removed myself from the gay scene and liberal churches and found quiet time with God, studying His Holy Word, God opened my eyes to the deception. I was finally able to walk away from that life. The hardest part, though, is wanting to love and be loved. However, God has filled that void in other ways.

    After a wonderful chat with D.L. Foster, he encouraged me to write my story and it took me five years to detail that journey and what God did in my life. Of course, now I’m getting attacked by some LGBT individuals and Christian liberals who don’t want this message to get out.

    If you know of anyone who is struggling and feel there is no hope in getting out of that life, my book can be found here. Perhaps it will give them a shred of hope and the most important message concerning salvation and coming to know Jesus before it’s too late.


    Thanks for reading.

  16. It is both amazing and wonderful the unfailing LOVE of JESUS CHRIST that carries all who seek HIM out to restore hope,
    love, faith, peace and truth in their lives. HE wants nothing else but for HIS children to know that HE is with us every second of every day of our lives. Congratulations to you and all who have fought the battle to leave their past lives behind them and face the future with renewed hope. God keep all of you safe with HIS abundant love and blessings.


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