The Fear of Conversion Camps: Being Gay in Our World.

Why do we seek to change what is beyond our control? Why do we feel called to be the ones to change what is deeply ingrained into the mind and body of another person? We don’t even ask ourselves if change is truly what God wants. We decide what is right and dive in. Often to places where our opinions do not belong, or only serve to hurt or harm. Human sexuality has been the great debate of the church in recent years. There are those who condemn with fire and brimstone, calling it an abomination. There are others who accept and rationalize it as part of God’s plan; and accept it with open arms. There are others who fall in the middle, and still have no idea which way to turn and all the thoughtful prayers, petitions, and sleepless nights have left us without an answer. Our only option is to return to what we are called for in the first place. To love. To love the way Christ loved us. To love with compassion and understanding. When all other answers fail us, we can return to the secure knowledge of our divine purpose on this earth. With all this in mind, let us examine the two films.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is an upcoming comedy drama film directed by Desiree Akhavan and is based on the novel of the same name. The film follows a young woman named Cameron who is caught making out with a girl on prom night and is subsequently sent to a gay conversion therapy center for young adults. Cameron is united with a group of other young “sinners” and together they form an unlikely team in the face of intolerance and cruelty from the camp administrator, Dr. Lydia Marsh. The film stars Chloe Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane,John Gallagher Jr., Forrest Goodluck, Jennifer Ehle.

The second film is a coming-of age drama, titled Boy Erased. The film is written and directed by Joel Edgerton, based on the memoirs of Garrard Conley. The film centers on nineteen year old Jared Eamons. Jared is the son of a local baptist pastor and has been raised his whole life in the church. His world is turned upside down, when he is unwillingly outed to his parents. His father refuses to come to terms with this and pressures his son to join a gay conversion therapy group. Jared is thrown into a battle of the mind with the head therapist and a battle of the heart with his family. The film stars Lucas Hedges, Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman, and Joel Edgerton.

These films are not based on some intangible fictional concept. Conversion camps are real and they are frightening. These films are responding to those fears. Imagine that you are told every single day that a fundamental part of your humanity, your sexuality, is an abomination. You and your perspective partner are both consenting adults with a mutual attraction. The only thing that sets you apart is that you are both the same sex. There is a continuing fear of judgement, rejection, even violence for those that choose to stay hidden. These films explore one of the many reasons why. No matter the outcome for the great debate within the church, we are not to be a reason for people to fear.

by Mya Anderson