I'm From Driftwood is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit archive for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer stories. New stories are posted on the site every Wednesday.
If you were looking for an example of how to be a horrible college mental-health counselor, look no further.
Nephi Niven was physically ill and depressed from keeping his sexuality a secret and did what many young gay people do: He sought help. Nephi recalls:
I told [the therapist] I was gay and I was thinking about coming out of the closet. He listened thoughtfully and said he was glad that I had come and then told me that I would need years of therapy. And I didn't really understand what he was saying at first. ... He made it clear that gay people come from violent backgrounds and are likely to be violent and abusive people and needed lots of therapy.
Fortunately and ironically, the therapist's homophobia had an unexpected result on Nephi:
I was very angry, and I started yelling at him, and I told him that there was nothing wrong with gay people, and they weren't sick, and they weren't gay because they came out of abusive families or situations, and they weren't abusers. And I grabbed my coat and ran out of the office, and over the course of the next couple of weeks, I started to summon the courage to tell my friends and my family.
And what did Nephi's outspoken Italian mother have to say about it all?
For more stories, visit I'm From Driftwood, the LGBTQ Story Archive.