He told me that he wouldn't change and this would prove to his parents that he couldn't change and they would have to accept him. He would be gone for 3 months.
I learned he had returned from a mutual friend of his brother's, he had never contacted me even having been back home for over 2 weeks. His phone was disconnected, and when I finally found a way to see him he told me he had made a terrible mistake and he was sorry. He dropped all ties with everybody in his life prior to going to the camp.
I quickly learned from my friend that when he returned his parents had arranged a marriage to a girl from Mexico who had also attended the same camp. I assumed he had made a life for himself, even if I was not part of it.
Years later I found out his wife had a miscarriage around 6 months, and went back to Mexico, "Juan" committed suicide shortly after.
It's been almost 20 years, I still think about how everything happened, and what I could do to have changed it.
If you are a parent reading this, thinking this is an answer to “cure" your child… understand the stakes.
14. At my mother's insistence, I went to one "session," where I met with a "counselor" who spent a good 45 minutes explaining to me that only prayer would save me from the AIDS I had contracted. I was 17 and had never had sex with anyone.
My mom still thinks I have AIDS. She doesn't answer when I call.
13. My friend's parents found out he was gay when he was like 15/16, and he was subjected to a lot of mistreatment. His parents took him to a psychiatrist, where he was given pills and was also told that the gay behavior is a copycat of someone from society, and he just replicated the lifestyle.
His parents physically abused him, embarrassed him publicly, they took his cellphone, forbid him to use social media and prevented him from going out. He ended up okay, still gay, and with a boyfriend.
12. My mom sent me to a really homophobic counsellor, which messed me up but I wouldn’t call it "conversion therapy". It was definitely traumatic though. (continued…)