New Yorker Mathew Shurka came out at the age of 16 to his initially supportive father, who promised to love his son no matter what, and to always stay by his son’s side. However, his father’s thinking became more and more influenced by homophobia and harmful stereotypes surrounding the gay community:
[M]y father started to build his fears about homosexuality — what it actually meant and what it looked like for family, my career, possibly being discriminated and being bullied against as a high-school student — and he came across a conversion therapist. My father was told that there’s no such thing as homosexuality and that everyone is a heterosexual. There are certain people who believe they’re gay but they’re just suffering from a psychological condition that can be cured and that can be resolved, especially at a young age. So, at 16 years old, I began conversion therapy.
Thus began some of the most tumultuous and trying years of Mathew’s life, and in his true LGBTQ story, Mathew describes his experiences in conversion therapy and the effect that the therapy had on him and his family:
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