Although there is no question one's behavior and how they view themselves may change, there is a great deal of controversy if an ex-gay's core sexual orientation and attractions can ever change. Many ex-gays are little more than celibate homosexuals who continue to struggle while others are now married to members of the opposite sex and have "traditional" appearing families.
Ex-gays are disproportionally white, male and Christian. However conversion programs exist for secular and Jewish individuals as well as lesbians.
No one is sure how the term "exgay" first became to be applied to men and women who made choices to no longer desire homosexual activity or identity, but the term stuck and is now widely used by homosexual activists --primarily in mocking quotes-- to indicate they do not believe such change in behavior or thought is possible.
Exgay is, for the many who do believe that the choice to change is possible, an uncomfortable expression of who they are (and are becoming). The great majority of exgays believe their change to be the product of religious belief and faith rather than socio-political posturing. This includes those from Jewish, Muslim and non-Evangelical Christianity belief groups.
Because the majority of former homosexuals attribute their change to religious conversion, the term exgay has no such applicable identification with religion in its fundamental usage.