In a recent interview, Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith and Family, described the history of queer cinema as “torture porn.”

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 sexuality. His parents sent him to an “ex-gay” camp which promised to alter Conley's sexual orientation.

Conley's 2016 book has been turned into a major Hollywood film starring Nicole Kidman, Russell Crow and Lucas Hedges.

Speaking with, Conley, who now lives in New York with his husband, responded to critics who say “we don't need any more sad queer movies.”

“Which I totally get, and I completely sympathize with that,” Conley said. “Because I feel like the history of queer cinema has been a lot of torture porn, almost. But it’s so strange whenever it’s a real story that’s still going on. I feel pulled in two different directions, where I’m like, 'We don’t need more sad queer stories but we do need them, at the same time.'”

“I won’t get into any details, but just two days ago, and then yesterday again, I started receiving emails from people who were in other countries who’d seen the trailer. They were like, 'I’ve been through conversion therapy, I feel like killing myself right now. I’m ready to do it.' It was so overwhelming, I actually spoke with the Trevor Project and a few other places to get advice. But what I walked away from that thinking was that, this one person emailed me that he was about to commit suicide before he saw the trailer – and he stopped. The need for these types of stories feels clear to me. But I know it’s not clear to everyone who’s not from the area that I’m from [small town Arkansas], or from some of these places that people are emailing from.”

“That’s been a really strange thing. One of the happiest moments in your career happening at the same time that you’re getting these emails,” he added.

(Related: First Look: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe in “ex-gay” drama Boy Erased.)

Boy Erased opens November 2.