Account of teen’s torture at hand of the ‘Ex-gay’ movement
Sam was a pre-teen, living with his parents in a conservative religious mission in Florida, when a copy of Playboy magazine was somehow smuggled into the eager hands of the community’s young boys. Overflowing with pride, Sam mistook his sexuality for sanctity and told his father that he was “so righteous, so holy,” that he wasn’t affected whatsoever by the pictures of scantily-clad women. He did, he admitted to his dad, sometimes feel that way about his best friend Dale.
“The next thing I knew,” Sam says, “I woke up in the E.R.”
12-year-old Sam had been “punched out cold” by his father, and would end up in the emergency room for similar reasons seven times in quick succession.
“The third step” accompanied Sam’s first attempt at committing suicide (there have been five). He was strapped into a chair, and small needles were stuck into his fingertips. The needles were attached to electrodes, and Sam received shocks when shown pornographic images of two men engaging in sex acts.
Sam says he’s living proof that reparative therapy is “killing people.” A support group to which he belongs began with ten members; eight have since taken their own lives. Sam is ever on the lookout for opportunities to help others in the same situation, with the message that not only does it get better―it can be made better.