I was raised in a Southern Baptist church in Virginia. I realized I was into guys when I was in fifth grade and had a huge crush on a guy in my class. I told my parents I was gay two years later. My mom quietly contacted someone at the church and he referred my parents to a Christian "counselor" about thirty minutes from my house.
The first appointment was bizarre. He'd only refer to me being gay as "my ailment”. There were a lot of graphs about human desire and God being the source of that desire if I just "let his desire in."
I went for about four months, until my (female) best friend hatched a plan to become my beard so I could get out of going. It worked and she is one of my closest friends to this day. After every session, I’d be tearful and my mom would do everything she could to cheer me up. I would cry because I felt I disappointed her by being gay.
I stopped going at 15. At 17 I came out again and stayed out, refusing to go to "counseling" again. I don't harbor any ill will. My parents were doing what they thought was best for me, though it's created a beast of internalized homophobia and self-doubt.
I'm getting married in July. His name is Sam and he is the light of my life. I've invited my parents and even though it's been almost 10 years since I came out, I still don't know if they'll come.
16. Intake therapist here at a community mental health agency. I see about 4 new clients every day, and have heard more than one story about gay conversion therapy...and it's never been referenced with a positive (or even neutral) light. And it's usually a factor in why they're coming back in for service.
15. I was around 20 years old when I met "Juan" (changed obviously), He was also around the same age. We immediately hit it off soon spending every moment together. He loved playing the guitar and was an amazing artist. Continually making charcoal drawings of everything and anything.
"Juan" came from a VERY Traditional Catholic Mexican family. His parents did not speak much English and were deeply rooted in "traditional" ways of doing things. Things went downhill after his sister outed him to his parents.
Over a period of about two months he went from being happy and optimistic about life to depressed and negative. He informed me that his parents were sending him to Mexico to a "camp" and he didn't have any choice. (continued...)