Despite condemnation by the President, ex-gay therapy, or “conversion therapy” to “cure” homosexuality, is still legal in 46 states. One of these states is Texas, the home of an anonymous redditor whose parents are planning to send him to one of these terrible camps. He writes:
I recently turned 16, and my mom is a very devout Christian. I go to a Christian school and live in Texas. While I am secretly agnostic, I still go to church with her, a small sized southern baptist church and go through the motions even though I don’t know the significance of anything there. However, I made a grave mistake recently by coming out to my close friend in school as being homosexual and that I am not attracted to females. He immediately went over to my mother without my knowledge that very day and told her every word of what I said.
My mom then confronted me and demanded to know if it was true, and we had a long argument before she finally realized that her son was gay ( she is very shrewd at detecting if someone is lying to her and I am a really bad liar). She then screamed at me to go to church with her at that instant and threatened to disown me. After consulting with our pastor, he told us straight up that he was going to conduct a ‘gay exorcism’ and remove the ”homosexual demons” to cleanse my body in front of the whole church next week. Following that, I will have to attend conversion therapy where I will have to spend months there to ”pray the gay away”, depending on my willingness to repent my sin. When I asked what they were going to do to me there, because I was terrified of the stories I have heard, such as electrocuting genitals and so on, I was ordered brusquely by my mother and father to ”shut up”. My pastor then told me ”they might be a little rough, but ultimately we love you and we all want you to be a respectable, upright and God fearing ýoung man once again”
My parents are in full support of the pastor’s decisions and I have no savings whatsoever to leave home on my own. I am still studying in the Christian school they pay for and I am totally lost on what to do because I am still a minor…Please everyone, I am in desperate need of help. Is there anything I can do to convince my parents or pastor to leave me alone?
Luckily, the members of r/Christianity had some good advice.
Look up shelters for runaway/homeless youth in your area. They’ll have counselors there willing to speak with you. Likewise, you can call a children abuse prevention/treatment hotline and see if anyone has advice for you. This definitely sounds like impending child abuse to me (edit: if it’s not already abusive, yikes). If the school counselors are at all sympathetic, you can speak to them, too.
Whatever you do, don’t let them send you to that camp. You have legitimate reason to fear for your physical and mental safety. A quick Google search can show that.
I am so sorry to hear all of this. I just hope everything turns out well for you. You have the love and support of the people here (at least in spirit for those who cannot help physically). Please lie your hardest to your parents and pretend you are straight until you can get financially free.
Practice the exact line you’ll say to your parents in front of a mirror 1000 times if you must until you can say it with conviction. Something to the effect of. “I have prayed with all of my heart to Jesus and the Holy spirit has removed all traces of the “Gay demons” from me “.
You need to keep out of that conversion therapy camp. Maybe have a YouTube account that somebody you really, really trust has access to? Record your concerns and fears then upload the video as private and keep in contact every day with this person, if they don’t hear from you in a week release the video to try to get media attention so you have a better chance of getting out of there?
Nobody wants you to be abused 🙁
If someone forced me into this hostage situation at some gay exorcism camp, those would be people that I ended up hating with every ounce of my being for the rest of my life.
I’d continually remind the people at the camp that if God existed, they could just prove it, and wouldn’t have to threaten or beat it into me, and that every action they’re taking shows me that God is imaginary.
Can you try reaching out to the news and/or to a legal rights group?
Here’s a link for the ACLU:
I’d try to contact the ACLU, tell them your situation, and that you’re afraid you’ll be kidnapped away to a gay-conversion camp against your will and kept out of school, away from life, and harmed by prevented from having a normal, healthy college career, and contact them soon, before some strong men wake you up at 6am to drag you out of bed to the camp.
Otherwise, you’ll be stuck at the camp until you pretend to believe.
I’m a big fan of trying to keep a healthy relationship with parents, but, if mine did this (hauled me off against my will), they’d be dead to me forever.
Best of luck.
OP when I read this, I feel like I am reading some crazy stories about medieval times when witches are being burned on a daily. What is the point of contacting the local law enforcement when they are blatantly just as ignorant, and backwards as your community…. Staying in this community will get you nowhere, for the rest of your life these people will tell you that your are inadequate, will alienate you and make you feel bad about yourself, when you are the only one who actually sees clarity. You are right they are all wrong. Reach out to people with power and influence across the nation, the white house was illuminated by the colors of gay pride just a few months ago, we are living in a time of change, your story can only help and progress the change further. The people who surround you, the town you are living in is a disgrace to the nation to the advancement of mankind to humanity as a hole.
You could just fake it a couple of years, all these people are disillusion and mentally weak, you could say the gay demon has left your body, you can even find a girl to pretend to be your girlfriend…
Conversion therapy is maybe legal, but I am sure it must be voluntary, and/or be subject to a from signed by your parents that they can use whatever methods necessary to “get the gay out” and torture and neglect is definitely illegal. If i cannot send someone forcefully to rehab when they are clearly destroying themselves, I doubt you can be forced into anything.
I would contact all the higher powers, child protection agencies, atheist association, gay right activists, national news agencies, law firms that have dealt with similar stories.
Do not forget also you are your own person and have your own rights, parents love to delude their kids into fearing them, they also love to make you always seeks their approval and acceptance. You can stand up for yourself, don’t let them win at that game….
Sadly, the original poster’s update doesn’t sound too hopeful:
Hi everyone, thank you for the support. I have tried calling the cops, but the officer I spoke to was very unhelpful. When I tried explaining my predicament, he seemed to be rather nonchalant about it and kept asking the same questions about whether I was being neglected or abused. He took down my particulars, asked for the names of my parents and school, but told me that since I was not being abused or whatsoever, I wasn’t likely to have a case against my parents, especially since conversion therapy is ”perfectly legal” here in TX, even for minors. What he could do however, was offer to persuade my parents that an exorcism was unnecessary as it could pose a threat to my well-being, as it was not being regulated and all. However, since the ”camp” my pastor is putting forward was ”well-known” to be ”safe” and ”productive” (quoting from his own words), I would still likely have to go as long as my parents consented on my behalf.
I am currently resigned to my fate. I know conversion therapy is banned in some other US states, but in Texas, I have heard it is being supported and the police officer I spoke to seemed sympathetic to the cause. I cannot reddit too much as my parents are already growing suspicious of me cooping up in my room, and keeping an eye on me to make sure that I do not flee. I am still reading your responses, however, and I appreciate what everyone has said. It means a lot to me, that I am not alone. Thank you.
Do you have any advice for someone going through a similar situation? What would you say to this poster?