Though the prospect of salvation seemed to brim with promise at the time, I was completely unaware of how much psychological damage the "treatment" would inflict upon me. I was blinded by insecurity, inexperience, and the fact that I'd finally met others who genuinely seemed to understand my feelings of isolation.
New Yorker Mathew Shurka came out at the age of 16 to his initially supportive father, who promised to love his son no matter what, and to always stay by his son's side. However, his father's thinking became more and more influenced by homophobia and harmful stereotypes surrounding the gay community.
Meeting Justin Utley is like catching up with one of your closest friends, as his calm-but-confident energy puts you instantly at ease. I met him in Dublin, a day after his flight from New York to start off his Irish and UK tour. His musical beginnings are not like most other touring Americans who travel abroad.