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'Boy, Erased' author recalls harrowing gay 'cure' therapy ordeal on 'This Morning' - WATCH

Garrard Conley's memoir is being turned into a major Hollywood film starring Nicole Kidman and Troye Sivan.

2018-06-13

The author of a critically-acclaimed book charting the horrors of modern-day gay 'cure' therapy has opened up about his adolscent experience of the abusive practise. 

Garrard Conley, author of 2016's Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith and Family, shared his story with Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on ITV This Morning on Tuesday (June 12) ahead of the book's UK release this week.

Conley, who grew up in a fundamentalist Christian family in Arkansas, recalled how he was counselled alongside paedophiles after being sent to a gay conversion therapy camp by his parents as a teenager.

 "My dad took me into his bedroom and he said, you know, 'I've talked to a few preachers, I called them after I heard this, and there's only one way forward here: either you go to conversion therapy or you won’t see your family and we wont pay for your education'," he recalled.

"I describe it as talk therapy. It's sort of psychotherapy in a group. They sat us next to people who were dealing with a lot of different issues.

"So, some people were dealing with paedophilia - I was sat next to a man, at 19, who was dealing with paedophilia, and I was sitting next to another woman who was dealing with bestiality - and we were all seen as sexual addicts."

Boy, Erased has already been turned in to a Hollywood film set for release this September starring Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the SeaLady Bird) as Garrard and Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman as his parents.

With gay pop star Troye Sivan also set to feature in the movie, directed by Joel Edgerton, Boy, Erased is set to renew the debate around the legality of so-called gay 'cure' therapy, which has already been banned for minors in US states including California, Washington and Illinois.

Conley, who now lives in New York with his husband, recalled the methods that Christian counsellors would use in an attempt to 'change' his sexuality.

 "The [therapists] borrowed from Alocoholics Anonymous, they borrowed from everything," he explained.

"They were stealing from Freud... A lot of things we've decided don't work aymore were suddenly being touted as cures."

Boy, Erased is released in paperback in the UK this week, with the film set to hit US cinemas on 28 September.