Conversion therapy is the practice of “curing” gay people by trying to turn them straight through counseling and lifestyle restrictions. The practice dates back to the early Freudian period, when homosexuality was considered pathological and attempts to treat it were deemed appropriate. Today, however, homosexuality has been removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s list of mental disorders, and conversion therapy is considered ineffective, harmful, and potentially deadly.
Regardless of a nationwide battle toward the acceptance of same-sex marriage and equal rights for gay people, conversion therapy is still a problem, and it’s being practiced every single day in the United States and throughout the world.
In this special report, VICE gets exclusive access to one of the hundreds of gay-conversion-therapy organizations, groups, and sessions in the United States. At the Journey into Manhood program, men pay more than $600 to attend a weekend retreat where they participate in exercises and activities the staff members claim will help them battle their same-sex orientation. The only qualification to become a staff member is to have successfully completed the program.
The report meets with the founder of reparative therapy, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, who is illegally practicing on minors in the State of California, and investigates the controversial legal battle to fight conversion therapy for individuals under 18 years of age. We also travel to the annual Gay Christian Network Conference, speak with former “ex-gay” leaders including John Smid of Love in Action, who is now married to his gay partner, and hear the grueling stories of the individuals who have survived this brutal practice.
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