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Trevor Project Exec Shares Tale of Surviving 'Ex-Gay' Therapy

Trevor Project Exec Shares Harrowing Tale of Surviving 'Ex-Gay' Therapy

Sam Brinton details the horror they went through, including being forced to watch gay sex while being bound and subjected to pain via heat, ice, and electricity.

The issue of "ex-gay conversion therapy" made the op-ed pages of Wednesday's New York Times.

Sam Brinton -- the head of advocacy and government affairs at the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention program for LGBT youth -- penned an op-ed for the Times detailing their (Brinton's preferred pronoun) experience in so-called conversion therapy during their time as a middle-schooler. Brinton says the "therapy" was intended to "erase my existence as a newly out bisexual."

Brinton paints a harrowing picture of physical and mental abuse over the course of two years. This included being told they would "inevitably" contract HIV and being forced to watch gay sex while being inflicted with pain via heat, ice, and electricity.

Brinton, now openly bisexual and gender-fluid, writes that the therapy didn't work. After describing their own experience, Brinton reminds readers that 41 states still allow licensed professionals to perform conversion therapy on minotrs.

"Many think that conversion therapy ... is an artifact of the past, a medieval torture practice," Brinton writes, adding that nearly 700,000 adults have received this type of treatment, and half of them received it as adolescents. There are an estimated 20,000 who will receive the treatment from a licensed professional before they turn 18, and 57,000 teens who will receive it from a religious or spiritual adviser before they reach that age.

Brinton culminates the article by giving the reader a sliver of hope; four states in the past few weeks have "introduced bills to ban conversion therapy," and they hope more will follow. Brinton hopes every state will ban the practice, sporting the hashtag #50Bills50States in their Twitter bio.

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