Garrard Conley, author of Boy
Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith and Family, said in an
interview that his father gave him the choice of being disowned or
being subjected to gay conversion therapy.
At 19 and while attending college,
Conley was outed to his conservative parents. The only child of a
car salesman who was about to be ordained a Baptist minister, Conley
was terrified of his father's response to learning about his
Conley's 2016 book is being turned into
a major Hollywood film starring Nicole Kidman and Troye Sivan.
Appearing Tuesday on ITV's This
Morning ahead of his book's UK release, Conley, who grew up in
Arkansas, recalled his father threatening to disown him if he did not
get therapy to alter his sexuality.
“My dad took me into his bedroom and
he said, 'You know, I've talked to a few preachers, I called them
after I heard this, and there's only one way forward here: Either you
go to conversion therapy, or you won't see your family and we won't
pay for your education,'” Conley recalled.
Conley described the harm he suffered
at a Love in Action program, saying he was counseled along with
people who were dealing with a lot of different issues.
“Some people were dealing with
pedophilia. I was sat next to a man, at 19, who was dealing with
pedophilia, and I was sitting next to another woman who was dealing
with bestiality. And we were all seen as sexual addicts.”
“The [therapists] borrowed from
Alcoholics Anonymous, they borrowed from everything. They were
stealing from Freud. … A lot of things we've decided don't work
anymore were suddenly being touted as cures,” he
Conley is currently living in New York
with his husband.
Fourteen states plus the District of
Columbia have banned such therapies to minors, with Delaware
set to become the 15th
is debating a bill that would extend its ban to adults.
In the film adaptation of Conley's
book, Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman play Conley's parents, while
Lucas Hedges plays Conley. Out singer Troye Sivan also appears in
the movie. Boy, Erased, directed by Joel Edgerton, is set to
open in September.