As we reported last week, Dixon stood up at a 1991 Springfield city council meeting to claim a "religious experience" turned him straight after five years spent living as a homosexual. His comments were preserved in a 1992 Springfield News-Leader article.
Despite his previous public statements, Dixon's struggles with his sexual identity were not well-known. When we spoke to him on Thursday, Dixon did not deny the details in the old News-Leader article, but he declined to elaborate or answer specific questions.
In a subsequent statement provided to St. Louis Public Radio (KWMU 90.7 FM), Dixon appears to link his former homosexuality -- what he refers to as "teenage confusion" -- with a traumatic childhood abuse.
"Through the years, I have publicly spoken about being abused as a child and the confusion this caused me as a teenager," Dixon writes in the statement. "There are literally thousands of Missourians who will understand how heartbreaking childhood abuse can be -- though few might be willing to acknowledge it."
Rather than explaining the religious experience that apparently changed his life, Dixon points to his legislative accomplishments in protecting child witnesses during abuse cases, as well as his key role in reforming Missouri's archaic criminal code.
"I have put the childhood abuse, and the teenage confusion behind me. What others intended for harm has resulted in untold good," he continues. "I have overcome, and will not allow evil to win. From passing the Child Witness Protection Act, to protecting children from those who would do harm to them from the shadows of the internet, and to reforming Missouri's Criminal Code -- I have consistently worked to treat all people with respect, understanding, and compassion, and to bring people together, not divide them."
Dixon, a self-professed supporter of traditional marriage, has made it clear that he considers his Christian faith to be the guiding force of his campaign for governor. Last week, when he was asked about a proposed LGBT nondiscrimination law, Dixon answered "I think the wise thing to do about any legislation is to wait until I see it before me."
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