On June 12, 2016, Luis Javier Ruiz was at Pulse, a gay nightclub, in Orlando, Florida when gunman Omar Mateen mercilessly murdered 49 people and wounded another 53.
After surviving this harrowing ordeal, Ruiz traded his troubled life of homosexuality for forgiveness and redemption in Jesus Christ. On May 5, 2018, the Pulse nightclub survivor joined others freed from lifestyles of homosexuality and transgenderism at the Freedom March in Washington D.C. While they marched from the grounds of the Washington Monument toward the Ellipse located in front of the White House, the transformed group repeated the words “Jesus Saves.”
During the weekend event, Ruiz shared his riveting testimony on a stage. He remained on his knees the entire time he spoke to the crowd.
“I love you guys. LGBTQ, I love you. I love all of you guys. Come as you are,” he said. “Come and fall in love with Jesus and he’ll do the rest. And then if you decide that’s not what you want, you can go right out, just like you came in.”
The Pulse nightclub survivor ended his message by relaying that what’s essential is to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
When Ruiz publicly announced on social media that he planned to attend the event, he was met with criticism and threats. Many in the LGBTQ population saw the event as an attempt to threaten their freedom. However, the redeemed Ruiz told NBC News, “I don’t want to tell everyone it’s a ‘gay-to-straight’ thing because God is not calling me to that. I feel that I want to live in a life of purity. I feel that through loving Christ, he will walk me out of any situation. I love the LGBTQ community, I love my family. There’s no hate here, there’s love.”
In a Facebook message on the official page for the Freedom March, Ruiz commented about the Pulse nightclub shooting.
“I should have been number 50! Going through old pictures of the night of Pulse, I remember my struggles of perversion, heavy drinking to drown out everything and having promiscuous sex that led to HIV,” he said. “My struggles were real! The enemy had its grip, and now God has taken me from that moment and has given me Christ Jesus.”
After mentioning that two of the 49 people slain at the Pulse nightclub were his close friends, Ruiz stated, “I should have been number 50, but now I have the chance to live in relationship and not religion – not just loving Christ but being in love with Christ and sharing His love. I know who I am and I am not defined with who the enemy says I use to be – but who Christ Jesus says I am.”
Georgia native Jeffrey McCall organized the Freedom March. While living as a transgender woman, McCall used to refer to himself as “Scarlet.” He recanted how he visited with a psychiatrist when he was younger. He was even set to undergo multiple gender transitioning surgeries. McCall stated, “One night I was secretly listening to a preacher in my apartment. I called out to the Lord, and asked, ‘Will I ever live for you? … I’ve seen real people live for you … not just going to church; They have relationships with you, and they have peace and joy.”
The former transgender woman admitted he had desired to kill himself. Convicted by the Holy Spirit, McCall said he told Jesus, “If I follow you, it will be all the way. I don’t do things half-way. I didn’t do things half-way in the world; I’m not going to do things half-way with you.”
After praying, the Freedom March organizer went to a dumpster in order to throw away the clothes, makeup, hair, jewelry, and other items that he wore when he went by his other identity.
“Father God … I thank you that the lies and deception that have been placed on our country are about to begin to break,” he said during a prayer. “Lives will be transformed today. People will see, through the telling of our stories, the power of the Gospel, the power of the blood of Jesus Christ.”
~ 1776 Christian