Source: The New York Times
In the early 2000s, when I was a middle schooler in Florida, I was subjected to a trauma that was meant to erase my existence as a newly out bisexual. My parents were Southern Baptist missionaries who believed that the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy could “cure” my sexuality.
For over two years, I sat on a couch and endured emotionally painful sessions with a counselor. I was told that my faith community rejected my sexuality; that I was the abomination we had heard about in Sunday school; that I was the only gay person in the world; that it was inevitable I would get H.I.V. and AIDS.
But it didn’t stop with these hurtful talk-therapy sessions. The therapist ordered me bound to a table to have ice, heat and electricity applied to my body. I was forced to watch clips on a television of gay men holding hands, hugging and having sex. I was supposed to associate those images with the pain I was feeling to once and for all turn into a straight boy. In the end it didn’t work. I would say that it did, just to make the pain go away.
I have begun to repair the damage that conversion therapy caused me and my family. But the failed promise of change has very likely caused a permanent tear in our relationship.