Conversion Therapy

Alexandra Mroczko

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There are 36 states in America that allow conversion therapy. Let that sink in. 36 American states are under the impression that conversion therapy is an option for parents to “fix” their homosexual children. Although states such as New Jersey and many other blue states understand that one’s sexuality is anything but a choice, there is an overwhelmingly large population of the United States that still believe otherwise. As depicted in the recent film, “Boy Erased”, starring Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, and Russell Crowe, conversion therapy is a horrible method of attempting to essentially “erase” individuality.

The movie is told from the point of view of Jared Eamons, a preacher’s son from Arkansas. Jared is the seemingly typical American teenager: dating a cheerleader, all-star athlete, and obedient son. It is not until Jared begins college when he realizes why he feels different from those around him: Jared is gay. During his short time in college, Jared experiences sexual awakenings and finds himself in a few traumatic scenarios that cause him to spiral. After receiving a phone call from a school “counselor”, Mr. and Mrs. Eamons are now aware of their son’s “abnormality”. Jared is soon enrolled in a therapy program for troubled boys and girls. Throughout his time in the program, the audience views shocking, frightening and realistic methods in which counselors attempt to convert these people into real men and women. Due to Jared’s smarts, he is able to see through the deviant ways of the authority figures and recognize that conversion therapy is not real and that he did not in fact, choose to be a homosexual.

“Boy Erased”, is based on Garrod Conley’s memoir of the same time, recounting his time being placed in a conversion therapy program by his religious family. The counselors in the program were eventually sued and forced to close down the program and ultimately outing many of the faculty members as homosexuals, themselves. “Boy Erased”, was as shocking as it was heartbreaking, and yet, empowering.