In the late 1960s, homosexuality was believed to be a mental illness. And the psychiatric treatment that one teenager underwent back then was so violent and damaging that it almost killed him. Today, there is a global scientific consensus that homosexuality is not a pathological condition but a natural variation of human sexuality. Nonetheless, several organizations continue to promote cruel and ineffective procedures to “cure” it.
American actor Glenn Shadix starred in more than 30 films during his lifetime, most notably in Tim Burton’s 1988 comedy-horror Beetlejuice. He played Otho – a tubby, ostentatious interior designer hired to decorate a haunted house. He also starred in Heathers, The Nightmare Before Christmas and the remake of Planet of the Apes.
Shadix made a success of his life, but things nearly turned out very differently for him. In 2009, he talked to Truth Wins Out – a non-profit organization working to dispel anti-gay prejudice and homophobia, especially anti-gay religious extremism. What he told them about his teenage experience with “ex-gay therapy” was disturbing and profound.