Learning about the harmful messages of conversion therapy for the film Boy Erased led gay musician and actor Troye Sivan to imagine the effect on vulnerable young people, he said Thursday nighton The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
"When we arrived on set day one, they gave us the resources kids would typically get when they arrived at the [conversion therapy] camp, like actual printed-out resources," Sivan told Colbert. These packets outlined the strict rules LGBTQ youths are given at the camps, including limited body contact as well as a mandatory dress code that required girls to carry purses and wear skirts while forbidding boys to wear tight-fitting garments.
"I remember being so relieved when I came out to myself because I was like, OK, this is not something that I can change. It's not something that I have to fight anymore," Sivan said. This added a weight to learning that youth in "ex-gay" camps are told, "No, this is not you, you weren't born like this. This is a God-shaped hole you are trying to fill with these homosexual tendencies," he explained.
Filming Boy Erased caused the singer to imagine "being 15 again when I was sort of at my most vulnerable and having that put back on me, and being set up with that impossible task of trying to change this thing that is ultimately unchangeable."
Sivan hopes parents see the film and learn that "your reaction to your kid coming out can really shape their lives." Boy Erased will play at the Toronto International Film Festival Saturday and open in U.S. theaters November 2.