Emotional and physical abuse is what over 700,000 LGBTQ adults have experienced while being forced into conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is where minors are sent in attempt to try to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity. Gay conversion is still legal in 41 states and is still an issue that is rarely discussed in media.
In "Boy Erased" Garrard Conley (played by actor Lucas Hedges) is a teenager who is the son of a pastor in Arkansas. After much tension with his family he comes out as gay and his father decides to send him to a conversion camp in an attempt to get rid of his homosexual tendencies.
Throughout the movie my stomach was in knots, tears streamed from my eyes and I felt my hands clench into fists out of frustration for the LGBTQ youth who were forced into unlawful physical labor and emotional torture. During his time there he is forced into a series of activities to turn him "straight". One of the things that he is forced to do is write out every homosexual thought and action and read it aloud in front of the entire group. He is forced to use scripture to state why these actions are sins. I tried to put myself in Gerrard's shoes and could not imagine how embarrassed and ashamed he must have felt to be gay.
During a powerful scene in the movie, Gerrard is asked to sit in a chair and blame his father for his anger, when in reality it was the conversion counselor who was pissing him off. He yells "it's you that's making me angry" and runs out of the room.
Towards the end of the movie, I had to stop and reflect for a moment about my own life. I looked down at my girl who was contently laying in my lap. I tried to analyze my feelings and realized how in love I was with her at that moment. There are no words or medications that can change how much love is in my heart for this girl, she is the light in my darkness, my entire world, and no one can take that away from me.
I thought about the 700,000 LGBT people who have been sent to conversion therapy and how they were more than likely stripped from the loves of their life simply because someone did not agree with their views.
Being gay is not a disease. There is no "cure" for sexual and emotional attractions towards another human being. It is truly sickening that there is still an infinite amount of people see homosexuality as an act of evil, because condemning homosexuality is the equivalent of condemning love. Having same sex attractions is not a mental disorder, but you know what is? The amount of anxiety and depression that comes with the amount of unacceptance and hate that our society radiates. Suicide rates are higher amongst people who are a part of the LGBTQ community because a lot of people would rather die than be who they are. Conversion therapy is never the answer, and no matter how hard these people try, there is no changing an individual's heart to love another human being.