entertainment

Watch | The first trailer for the gay conversion therapy movie 'Boy Erased'

The movie is based on Garrard Conley's own experiences in his memoirs of the same name

2018-07-18

The first trailer for the gay conversion film Boy Erased has been released.

Starring Lucas Hedges as real-life Garrard Conley who was coerced by his religious parents to attend a gay 'conversion' therapy programme in Arkansas when he was just 19.

The film – which is based on Conley’s memoirs of the same – stars Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe and Troye Sivan and looks both powerful and moving.

His trauma of growing up and experience gay conversion therapy was something that would shape Conley – now 33 - for years to come.

In Attitude's July issue - available to download and in shops now - the writer opens up about the daily reality of gay 'cure' therapy, which saw him grouped together with people dealing with other 'sexual deviances' such as bestiality and paedophilia. 

“My parents sent me... after they’d found out I was gay from someone at my college, who’d been a friend up until the moment when he raped me", Conley recalls.

"As a pre-emptive strike against my testimony, he’d called my parents and told them what I, in a moment of weakness and insecurity, had admitted to him: that I might be gay.

"An ultimatum followed from my father, a missionary Baptist pastor: either attend conversion therapy or don’t see him and my mother again, and don’t receive any financial help from them for college."

Conley was sent to a programme called 'Love in Action', a religious-based course of therapy that draws heaviliy from Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programmes.

"The conversion therapy part is blinding. It’s easy to mock," Conley explains.

His story has a happy ending: Now happily married and living in New York, he was able to escape the clutches of fundamentalism that left him feeling suicidal. Others were not so lucky.

"In the end, Love in Action was just an ugly office where we all sat around on metal folding chairs", he reflects. "Some people died because of it."

Watch the trailer for the new film below:

You can read Conley's full account of his time undergoing gay 'conversion' therapy in the July issue of Attitude.

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