I'm From Driftwood is a 501(c)(3) non-profit forum for true lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer stories. Earlier this year, founder and Executive Director Nathan Manske and two companions successfully completed a four-month, 50-state Story Tour collecting LGBTQ stories from towns and cities across the country. They're pulling some of the most relevant, important and sometimes just enjoyable stories from their archives and sharing them with HuffPost Gay Voices.
When Daniel was 15 years old, he went home to find his parents sitting on the couch and his mother crying. They asked him the question many gay teens fear: "Are you gay?"
"What? No. What are you talking about? I'm not gay." They were like, "We found some stuff on the computer." They found out where I'd been talking, like gay.com and other sites trying to reach out to other youth. I finally got up enough courage, and I was like, "OK, yeah, Mom and Dad, I'm gay."
After initially telling Daniel that they were OK with it, his parents gave him an ultimatum.
"There are two options here. One, you can either leave right now. Just get your stuff and go. Or two, we're going to enroll you into a Christian school and you're going to go see this psychiatrist." I chose Option Two.
Option Two included seeing an ex-gay therapist three times a week for over three years. His therapy included being shown lots of straight porn and encouragement to masturbate to girls.
I would just tell him what he wanted to hear, like, "Yeah, she has a pretty face, she has pretty...," you know, whatever, whatever I thought he might like to hear.
Daniel's last day of porn therapy finally came. After Daniel told the doctor he had masturbated to girls, his parents were brought in for the good news from the doc.
He brought my parents in and was like, "I think your son is going to be OK now. I think that it's worked and your son is straight now. There's not going to be any trouble. If you have any questions, here's my business card." It was basically, "OK, my job is done, thanks for the check."
At the end of the entire experience, Daniel is left wondering how on Earth this type of so-called therapy still exists.
I just can't believe that someone would actually try to do that to someone, especially with the Medical Association now saying it's harmful for people to do this stuff. If your brain is wired one way, you can't change it to be another.
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