Gay cure - Boy Erased
Feature
Posted on 1 Feb 2019

Thirty years ago, when my youngest brother came out, our parents sent him to the GP. I'm not sure what they thought the doctor would do, but even if he knew what gay conversion therapy was, he rightly suggested that it was my parents, rather than my brother, who needed therapy. 

Last year saw the release of two films about so-called 'gay cure', a technique that’s a mix of religious dogma and dodgy science, the cruelty and ineffectiveness of which has been widely documented.
The Miseducation Of Cameron Post was followed by Boy Erased, starring Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe. The latter is  based on Garrard Conley’s memoir and tells the story of Jared Eamons, a college student struggling to come to terms with being gay. His panicked parents enrol him in a conversion therapy programme designed to change, or at least suppress, his sexuality.

The controversial practice ranges from private prayer, fasting and counselling, to deliverance ministry, hormone treatment and, according to the government, ‘corrective rape’ involving forced sexual activity with someone of the opposite sex.
Yet despite a promised government ban, there are claims that ‘gay cure’ therapy is still prevalent among religious groups. Last month, the Ozanne Foundation, a Westminster-based charity that promotes equality and diversity in religious organisations worldwide, launched a survey of Britons who have tried to change their sexual orientation.

It will be interesting to see what that reveals, but speaking personally, one thing is certain; no amount of therapy would convert me to a life of heterosexuality. Being forced to watch Love Island and Take Me Out on the telly and no amount of staring at page 3 of the Sun would convert me to straightdom. As I look ahead to 2019, I know that my life is much richer as a result of my gay friends, family and experiences.

Steve Ball

Read more about the film Boy Erased HERE

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