Rejected by his Pentecostal church for his sexuality, he underwent gay ''conversion'' therapy at a Christian ministry in Melbourne. If the program's aim was to ''pray away the gay'', it failed. He remained a homosexual man with a strong faith, and found a new church that embraced him.

Yet the turmoil of trying to reconcile the warring parts of his identity left an indelible mark.

On March 27, Damien took his own life. Nobody can know with certainty what triggered the decision, but those close to the 43-year-old personal carer believe ''reparative'' therapy at Mosaic Ministries in Melbourne's south-east scarred him deeply.

''It troubled him right to the end,'' said friend and counsellor Matt Glover, a former Baptist pastor sacked from his Lilydale church in 2011 for publicly supporting same-sex marriage.