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What do you tell a young gay athlete being forced by his parents into conversion therapy?

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A young gay athlete being forced into religion-based conversion therapy has contacted Outsports for advice. We don't know what to tell him. Your thoughts are welcome.

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Over the years Jim Buzinski and I have advised and mentored countless LGBT youth and adults in sports. Today I got a question that I really have no idea how to advise.

I received a message about a gay high school athlete in the South who recently came out to his parents. A minor, his parents are now trying to force him to attend an ex-gay conversion center. The organization's stated "core beliefs" make their intentions with this gay athlete quite clear:

  • Homosexuality (whether in practice or identity), as well as other sexual addictions, is against God's plan for mankind.
  • True, lasting life change is possible, but requires a commitment to the process of healing and transformation.
  • We believe that leaving homosexuality is more about becoming a man or woman in Christ, and not merely stopping this or that behavior.
  • We believe if an individual seeks and submits their whole life to The Lord, understanding the above, and develops healthy relationships, that they will be able to "find freedom to live in sexual and relational wholeness according to God's design."

This kind of conversion therapy has been debunked by some of the very people who founded organizations to do this very thing.

I'm stuck as to what to tell this young man. Again, he is a minor living in the South. And he does not want to go through this "therapy."

What the hell do I tell him, and what resources out there can help him? Beyond this individual case, this is something many LGBT youth are facing today. Please leave your ideas here so this young man and others can see your thoughts and ideas. Thank you!