Gay Conversion Therapy Survivor Recalls 8-Month Nightmare In A Powerful Video
by Curtis M. Wong
May 17, 2018
Alex Cooper says she was forced to quit school, carry a backpack of rocks sometimes weighing 40 pounds and face a wall for hours at a time as part of her family’s efforts to change her sexuality after she came out at 15 years old.
Cooper, who identifies as a lesbian, describes her harrowing time at a Utah gay “conversion therapy camp” in a powerful new video produced by the Human Rights Campaign. She said she was subjected to “physical pain and emotional pain” during her eight-month stay at the camp run by a family “who promised to make me straight.”
“I felt like I couldn’t change being a lesbian, but that I could just conceal it” while undergoing the conversion therapy, Cooper said in the clip above. Eventually, she worked up the courage to reach out to a teacher, who helped her escape the experience. In 2016, she documented what she went through in a memoir, Saving Alex.
The video was released Wednesday as part of the Human Rights Campaign’s ongoing efforts to educate Americans on the dangers of conversion, or reparative, therapy practices. A day earlier, Maryland became the 10th state to ban the practice on minors, while New Hampshire and Hawaii recently passed protections that await approval from their governors.