Showing posts with label Pray away the gay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pray away the gay. Show all posts

November 9, 2019

The Bishop At Catholic School Found Out She is Gay, Forced Into Counseling Without Parents Knowledge

Courtesy photo
Magali Rodriguez.
UPLAND, California — Magali Rodriguez said she didn't kiss her girlfriend at school.
At Bishop Amat Memorial High School, the biggest Catholic school in the Los Angeles area, it wasn't against the rules to be gay — Rodriguez at one point checked the student handbook. But she knew not everyone on campus would approve of their relationship, so she said they didn't go in for the typical high school public displays of affection.
What she said she didn't expect was for school staff to single her out for her sexuality: She said she was forced into disciplinary meetings and counseling, barred from sitting next to her girlfriend at lunch, and kept under close eye by staff members. If she didn't follow these rules — which didn't apply to straight students in relationships — school officials threatened to out her to her parents, she said.
Rodriguez, a high school senior, tried to stay positive and get through it, but after more than three years, she was at breaking point. She was crying every day before school, her grades suffered, and spending time on campus brought intense waves of anxiety. So she decided to speak up — first to her parents and now publicly.
"I really don't want it to happen to anybody else," she told BuzzFeed News.
When Rodriguez's parents heard their daughter's story, they pulled her out of the suburban LA school known locally for its academics and sports programs. But in spite of its impressive reputation, the way school staff treated the teen was wrong, her mother said.
"They took it upon themselves to parent our daughter, to counsel her, to lecture her," Martha Tapia-Rodriguez said.
School officials and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles didn't respond to specific questions, citing student privacy. But a spokeswoman disputed the Rodriguezes account, saying it was not "entirely accurate."
All students are held to the same standards outlined in the Parent/Student Handbook, a school statement said, and Bishop Amat does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, disability, medical condition, sex, or national and/or ethnic origin.
"Any student who is involved in a relationship may socialize appropriately on campus," the statement said. "However, as stated in the Parent/Student handbook, engaging in excessive displays of affection on campus is not permitted."n
Rodriguez began coming out to friends in middle school, and by the time she started ninth grade, she was dating a sophomore girl. They were the only out couple in the 1,300-coed student body, and while Rodriguez said she knew the Catholic teachings about homosexuality, she initially trusted people would judge her based on who she was, not just her sexuality.
"I was surrounding myself with people that were really involved in their religion, but still accepting," she said. "So I never thought there was anything bad about it."
In the second semester of her freshman year, she said she and her girlfriend were called into separate meetings with their deans of discipline. At first, Rodriguez said she was confused; she'd never been in trouble at school before.
Her dean said there had been complaints about the relationship, it couldn't happen at school, and it was wrong, Rodriguez said. The teen said she also received a set of rules: No sitting next to her girlfriend at lunch and no meeting up during breaks. The meetings with the dean of discipline would continue, as would sessions with the school psychologist, and staff would be keeping an eye on them. If she followed the rules, Rodriguez said she was told, the school wouldn't tell her parents.
At that point, she was still figuring out how she wanted to come out to her family. She was scared, so she and her girlfriend agreed. "
We both walked out of that meeting just sobbing," Rodriguez said.
A few months later, during summer school, the girls were waiting for a ride home when a staff member came up to them. She began berating them, Rodriguez said, telling them they were going to hell, and that she was working to get them expelled. The staff member only left them alone to avoid Rodriguez's father, Rodriguez said. 
The next two years, Rodriguez said she tried to treat her experiences at school as if they were normal. She and her girlfriend attempted to joke to each other about their situation, even as they cried every day before class and when they were summoned to disciplinary meetings. Other students who hadn't come out noticed, opting to transfer schools or stay in the closet after hearing about what Rodriguez and her girlfriend dealt with, she said.
"We were really afraid on campus," she said. "We didn’t hold hands, we hardly hugged or anything."
And they were constantly being watched, Rodriguez said. She recalled a teacher staring them down during a class picnic, even as a straight couple made out nearby. Once, Rodriguez said she dared to move from across the table to sit next to her girlfriend at lunch. A teacher immediately came over to them, taking a position an inch or two away, she said. 
"They just had the teachers staked out," she said.
A friend of Rodriguez's, Crystal Aguilar, told BuzzFeed News the effect these interactions had on Rodriguez was immense. The girls became friends in middle school, then attended different high schools.
"I [saw] her attitude towards school change drastically. It went from her being motivated to learn and be at school, to her dreading every day she’d go," Aguilar said. "Her sadness because of it overtook her at times."
Always proud of her ability to smile through difficult situations, Rodriguez said the daily stress had fully caught up to her when her senior year began in August. She and her girlfriend had broken up, and the older girl — who couldn't be reached for comment — and other friends had graduated.
Rodriguez's grades had dropped, and though a bookworm in the past, she was no longer excited to learn and said she felt uncomfortable interacting with teachers who were also keeping watch over her. She'd spend the school day sad and full of anxiety, then come home feeling drained.
"I thought to myself, I don’t know how much longer I can go," Rodriguez said.
She knew her parents had also seen the change in her, so she penned a letter, revealing to them for the first time what she had been experiencing. 
Courtesy photo
Magali Rodriguez.
"I’m not OK," Rodriguez said she wrote. "And I'm not OK being in this type of environment that’s supposed to be lifting me and encouraging me."
The letter was shocking to her parents, who weren't surprised she was gay but by how she said she was treated by the school.
"It sounded like a suicide letter," her father, Nicolas Rodriguez, said. "It was a huge cry for help."
The way gay and lesbian students are treated at Catholic schools varies across the US, said Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry. The LGBTQ Catholic group offers resources for teachers and administrators, as well as parents on the church's positive teachings. Simply put, the church says being gay or lesbian isn't considered a sin, though sexual activity between people of the same sex is, he said.
"Mostly, it says we have to accept people," he said.
But high schools' written policies often avoid the issue, and while surveys have shown most Catholics support marriage equality, critical voices can end up being the loudest in a church community, he said. Still, LGBTQ Catholics deserve the support of schools and parishes, he said.
“As a baptized Catholic, they belong to the church community,” DeBernardo said. “They have gifts they can offer to the church community, but unfortunately, not all church community members are going to recognize that.”
It's reasonable for a Catholic institution to take a stand against sexual activity outside of marriage, he said. But that shouldn't mean a different set of standards for LGBTQ students, such as who they can take the school dances.
“They should handle it the way they handle any student in a relationship,” DeBernardo said.
Rodriguez is now set to finish the year at another local high school. For the first time in years, she said she feels like she can breathe.
"I wouldn’t be proud if I got a diploma from Bishop," she said. "What they showed me about what they stand for and their true values isn't what they really live up to." 

October 1, 2019

I Met a Conversion Therapist Then The Electric Shocks Came in Like Lightning in a Dark Night

 "Some electrical wires would be attached initially to my feet.
"They would give me a shock and would continue giving me a shock every 15 or 30 seconds."
John, not his real name, underwent electrical aversion therapy at Queen's University Belfast (QUB) while a student in the 1960s. He was shown pictures of naked men and given electric shocks if he was aroused. 
A spokesperson for QUB has expressed regret for the use of aversion therapy.
John had grown up in the 1950s in a rural Northern Ireland town.
"My church was a Presbyterian church, so that was quite difficult when I realized I was gay," he told BBC News NI. 

Dr Tommy DickinsonImage copyrightDR TOMMY DICKINSON
Image captionDr Tommy Dickinson said that use of electrical aversion therapy had been almost totally abandoned by the mid-1970s in the UK

"When I was about 15, I realized I am one of these people who are homosexuals and who are reviled really by the society I grew up in, so it was a big shock to me. 
"I felt totally alone."
John initially spoke to his GP who, although sympathetic, arranged counseling for him at a local hospital. 
However, when he went to QUB as a student in the late 1960s he was referred to the Department of Mental Health at the university.
"I was quite happy to go along with whatever they told me, I wanted to be cured," he said. 
The aim of electrical aversion therapy was for him to associate homosexual desire with pain or unpleasant feelings.
"I was shown a series of what, I suppose, one would regard these days as mildly pornographic images of naked young men," John said. 
"I was given duties and these were connected up with electric wires to a voltage and I would receive the shock in my feet.
"Incidentally, I found this quite horrible because I'm quite sensitive in my feet for some reason and I managed to persuade them instead to give them to my hands.
"So they then tied something to my hands and they then tied something to each hand and I would get a shock from that."

'It was pretty horrible'

John had to press a button when he felt aroused by the pictures of men.
"When I pressed the button that meant I was aroused, then after 15 or 30 seconds if I didn't press the button again they would give me a shock," he said.
"They would continue giving me a shock until I pressed the button again to say I was no longer experiencing any arousal.
"Yes it was painful, it was pretty horrible. 
"You would then associate any gay, homosexual feelings with something unpleasant - a conditioned reflex really."
John was also encouraged to date women while undergoing therapy.
In a research paper published in the Ulster Medical Journal in 1973, academics from the departments of Mental Health, Social Studies and Psychology at QUB said their use of electrical aversion therapy was rare by that stage.
But they did still use it.

No evidence treatment worked

"We have a particular interest in the use of methods for producing heterosexual interest in exclusive homosexuals," they reported.
"In fact we rarely use electrical aversion therapy, at least as a treatment of first choice, with any of the patients referred to our clinic."
According to Dr Tommy Dickinson - the Head of the Department of Mental Health Nursing at King's College London - electrical aversion therapy never became main-stream in the UK.
"Although they were administered free of charge on the National Health Service it's only been estimated that about 1,000 people ever received the treatment," he said.
"That might seem a relatively small number, but that's not to negate the negative impact that had on those people."
Dr Dickinson is the author of Curing Queers: Mental Nurses and their Patients, 1935-1974, which examines the use of aversion therapy in the UK by reporting the experiences of those who both underwent and administered it.
"There is no evidence that the treatment worked," he told BBC News NI.
"In fact, the only evidence I came across was that it had a lasting detrimental effect on these people."
Dr. Dickinson said that the use of electrical aversion therapy had been almost totally abandoned by the mid-1970s in the UK. 
"The most influential factor in reducing the use of these treatments was the growing gay liberation movement as queer men and women were uniting and refuting that sickness label that had been attributed to them," he said.

Belfast Pride 2019Image copyrightPACEMAKER
Image captionThousands attended the Belfast Pride parade in 2019

A spokesperson for Queen's University Belfast said that, regrettably, aversion therapy was used in a number of situations in the past. 
"There is no scientific support for this approach for behavior change," they said.
"The use of these techniques have for a long time not been supported by Queen's University or the NHS.
"While we cannot change practices of the past, Queen's University is fully committed to creating and sustaining an environment that values diversity and strongly supports its LGBT+ community."

'It wasn't working'

In the end, it was John who decided to call a halt to the treatment he was undergoing at Queen's.

Queen's University, BelfastImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionJohn was sent for aversion therapy at the Department of Mental Health at Queen's during the 1960s

"Eventually after a couple years of trying my best with this treatment I realized it simply wasn't working, my feelings for men were as they had always been and I just hadn't been aroused by girls too much extent at all," he said.
"I suppose it is barbaric, what can I say really; I would have done anything to become normal as I saw it.
"I don't think I've been damaged by it, I haven't suffered post-traumatic stress - I got over it.
"Luckily, fairly soon afterward I did start to meet some gay people and my life changed completely then and since then things have been much better.
"I don't know how people will react to this knowledge.
"At the time it didn't seem as barbaric to me as it sounds now." 

September 18, 2019

Ex Church Member Say TheCongregation Pin Him Down and Tried to Get The Gay Away

                Image result for oklahoma  Gary Gardner.    

 A church’s actions are under investigation after a man said he was held down by congregants as they tried to pray away his homosexuality.
Sean Cormie, 23, came out as gay in the spring. Since then, he said his family has asked him to go to church and bring his partner, Gary Gardner.
On Sunday, Sept. 8, the two joined family and friends for a service at a church Cormie had already attended many times.
“I wanted to go to church to make my mom proud and make her happy,” Cormie said.
The service was normal but at the end, something unexpected happened. Cormie said as 12 to 15 congregants circled around Gardner and himself, their prayer growing louder. Meanwhile, they said the pastor began making statements against homosexuality.
“‘It’s a sin, it’s an abomination, you need to realize, wake up, and see it for a sin,’” Cormie said.
The prayer got louder and louder until the two men felt so humiliated, they got up to leave. But Gardner was shuffled out of the building alone.
"They hold me down, pin me down, and I’m crying, and the Holy Spirit just comes through me, and they keep speaking in tongues, praying over me," Cormie said he was even punched in the face. "I was just crying 'mercy, mercy.'"
When they finally let him up, he went to the Blackwell Police Department to file a report. The police chief confirmed the incident is being investigated but wouldn't comment further.
Now, Cormie said he's getting threats from strangers telling him to drop the issue. He said even family members he believes are behind the ordeal are asking him to let it go.
"I couldn’t believe it, a church of all places would show hate and not love," Cormie said.
Pastors Bill and Tami McKissick said in a statement, "On behalf of First Assembly we have been asked by the media to respond to the allegations that have been made. This began as a family matter that escalated. Our church would never condone restraint of any person unless they were engaged in violent activity. There is much more to this incident, and we are cooperating fully with law enforcement to hopefully bring all of the facts to light as a rush to judgment is not in anyone's best interest."
"I love the pastors with all my heart," Cormie said, "but what they did was totally wrong, and I want some kind of consequences out of it. I want it to be heard and known because it really saddens my heart."
He said he does believe homosexuality is a sin, but he can't be forced to be something he's not.
"I’m full-fledged gay, you can’t change it," Cormie said. "It’s my nature. I’m born that way, so let it be."
[Oklahoma News 4]

September 14, 2019

NY is Forced To Drop The Ban on Gay Conversion Therapy

This is another sample of the power of those who want less of us by using any means possible. Whether it hurt us or killed us is not important.

By Associated Press
A New York City law banning so-called gay conversion therapy would be repealed under legislation introduced Thursday over concerns that a pending federal lawsuit could lead to a decision unfavorable to the LGBTQ community if the case were to make it to the Supreme Court.
Council Speaker Corey Johnson introduced the repeal in what he called “a painful decision.”
The council had passed the ban against the widely discredited practice, which aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, less than two years ago, at the end of 2017, and it took effect last year.                                                                     NBC OUT
The proposed repeal now goes to a committee hearing, scheduled for next week, and then would have a vote in the full council and, if it is passed, would be signed by the mayor.
“After intense deliberation, the council concluded that it was best to take this drastic step,” Johnson said in a statement. “The courts have changed considerably over the last few years, and we cannot count on them to rule in favor of much-needed protections for the LGBTQ community. To be clear, this alleged therapy is barbaric and inhumane, but repealing this law seemed to be the best path forward.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom had filed a federal lawsuit over the ban in January on behalf of a therapist in Brooklyn, saying it violated free speech between a therapist and client. Alliance Senior Counsel Roger Brooks said that if the repeal goes through, the organization would “commend the move.”
He called the law “really quite extreme” and pushed back against the idea that it was vulnerable only because of a more conservative Supreme Court.
“It’s not so much a political issue as well-established First Amendment law,” he said.
A New York state ban that applies only to minors would still be in effect.
The therapy has been banned for minors in other states, as well. Brooks said there are currently challenges to some of those laws by other organizations, which he expected would continue.

June 15, 2019

Judge Orders Jewish Conversion Group in NJ to Close Its Doors and Shut Down



A New Jersey judge ordered a Jersey City-based Jewish gay conversion therapy organization to permanently shut down.

Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality, or JONAH, settled with former clients in a 2015 lawsuit and agreed to stop its discredited gay conversion counseling. But it has since been operating under a new name — Jewish Institute for Global Awareness, or JIFGA — Hudson County Superior Court Assignment Judge Peter Barisio said in his ruling, according to

Arthur Goldberg and Elaine Berk, the organization’s co-founders, have been collecting fees to refer clients to other groups that offer gay conversion therapy. Barisio ordered them to refund any money they have made through JIFGA and cease all operations within 30 days.

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According to court testimony, JONAH told clients to undress in front of each and beat effigies of their mothers to overcome sexual urges, reported.

May 14, 2019

Sen.Paul Gazelka Child Condemns His Dad’s Pro Conversion Vote

 by James Finn
Sen. Paul Gazelka, Facebook
About a week after the state Senate voted down a proposed ban on gay conversion therapy for kids, the adult child of the Republican who led that vote is speaking out.
Genna Gazelka's father is Sen. Paul Gazelka, the majority leader of the Minnesota Senate. The younger Gazelka — who identifies as bi-gender and uses "they/their" pronouns — spoke to the Star Tribune on Friday in an exclusive interview.
“My question is, how can you say you love me and still do this, and do it at the governmental level, exercise your governmental authority because you can’t stop me in my individual life,” they said of their father's vote.
Gazelka also told the paper they were sent to a "therapist who decried same-sex relations," which was "tantamount to what could be said of torture or sexual torture.”
As the Star Tribune notes, Sen. Gazelka denied sending Genna to "sexual-identity conversion" as a teen. You can read the rest of the report (and watch a video interview with Genna Gazelka) right here. 

More about the failed ban on conversion therapy

As the Pioneer Press reports, DFL Sen. Scott Dibble of Minneapolis attached the proposal to a larger budget bill; it would have stopped any state money going toward such therapy, and also would have forbidden mental health providers "from using it to treat children and vulnerable adults."  Last Wednesday, the paper notes, it failed in the Republican-controlled Senate, with some GOP senators expressing concern the ban would "amount to government intrusion into people’s lives."
Though there was some GOP support for the ban (most notably from Sen. Scott Jensen of Chaska), a group of about "a half-dozen Republicans" threatened to vote against the "gigantic health and human services budget bill it was attached to" if it passed, City Pages reports.
“It put the entire omnibus bill at risk,” Jensen told the paper, citing this as a reason the ban failed to pass. 
Conversion therapy is a deeply contentious issue and has come under severe criticism in the science community; according to The Trevor Project, "no credible scientific study has ever supported the claims of conversion therapists to actually change a person’s sexual orientation."

April 28, 2019

Conversion Therapy Bans Pass in a Bunch of States~~The People you will see on this Report are Not Kids

Peter Nunn is 32 and he's happy. He lives just outside Atlanta with his husband Monte, his dog Amelie, and their cat Hollow. 
The dining room is decorated with a photo gallery wall of family — his husband dancing with his mother at their wedding and pictures of the couple. But it took a long time and work to get to a place where Nunn said he accepted and loved himself. 
As a gay man, Nunn said, his father tried to change him. 
"When I was 15, my parents found a men's workout magazine that I had and drew their own conclusions," he said. "My dad told me we were going to go on a trip and didn't tell me where we were going."
On the way to their mystery destination, Nunn's father turned to him.
"He said he was going to take me to a therapy center to deal with whatever weird sexual stuff I had going on," Nunn said. "If it didn't work, he was going to send me to military school to make a man out of me." 
In that moment, everything he knew felt threatened: his relationship with his parents, his home, his social circle. He said that every day for two weeks at a therapy center in Iowa, licensed mental health professionals told him that what he was feeling was sinful, that he needed to change or his soul was in jeopardy, that he was broken. 

What Nunn was going through was conversion therapy, also known as reparative therapy. It is a widely discredited practice aimed at changing a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. In most of the country, the therapy is still legal for minors. But advocacy groups are trying to change that by pushing legislation in statehouses across the country to ban licensed mental health professionals from practicing conversion therapy on minors. So far 16 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have banned the practice. Colorado is expected to sign a ban into law soon. 
And Nunn is trying to help get it passed in Georgia where House Bill 580 was recently introduced. He's supporting the bill to help other young people avoid the trauma he lived through. 

Peter Nunn (right) and his husband Monte Nunn live just outside Atlanta with their pets.
Peter Nunn for NPR
"Conversion therapy is something that at its core is telling somebody that there's something fundamentally broken with them and not only can it be fixed, it needs to be fixed," Nunn said in his living room. "That's a lot of trauma, especially for somebody that's 15 years old or 10 years old or however old."
Suicide as a side effect
At 15, Nunn was convinced he needed to be "fixed." When he wasn't, he tried to take his life in the woods behind a friend's house. A note in his pocket said, "God forgive me."
His suicide attempt is an all-too-frequent side effect of conversion therapy. LGBT youth are already much more likely to try to take their life than their peers are. But kids whose parents try to change their sexual orientation attempt suicide at more than double the rate of their LGBT peers; the suicide rate is nearly triple among young people who also deal with intervention from "therapists and religious leaders."
Matthew Wilson, a Democratic state representative in Georgia, introduced the legislation in a majority Republican State House. 
"I specifically asked just for a hearing this year, no vote, so that we could use this year as an educational moment to really raise awareness about the need for this and how there really is no controversy here, people really aren't opposing this, at least not in Georgia," he said. 
The bill has the same language as other bills that have passed or introduced. It would bar mental health professionals in the state from practicing conversion therapy on minors. When people turn 18, they can put themselves through conversion therapy. If passed, the law wouldn't interfere with clergy and religious counseling. 
"There's been an outcry, not just from the victims and the LGBTQ community," Wilson said. "But from the medical professionals who say this is not medicine and not only is it not medicine but the harm is very real and lasts a lifetime."
Medical and mental health professions decry practice
Nearly 700,000 adults have gone through conversion therapy, some half of them as minors, according to a 2018 study from The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. 
A number of medical and mental health associations list the practice as something that doesn't work and is harmful. The American Psychological Association says conversion therapy has "serious potential to harm young people because they present the view that the sexual orientation of lesbian, gay and bisexual youth is a mental illness or disorder, and they often frame the inability to change one's sexual orientation as a personal and moral failure."
The American Psychiatric Association says ethical practitioners shouldn't try to change someone's sexuality because of their responsibility to do no harm. In a position statement in 2000, the association wrote that, after four decades, practitioners of "reparative" therapy, "have not produced any rigorous scientific research to substantiate their claims of cure," meanwhile there are "anecdotal claims of psychological harm."
So national organizations like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and The Trevor Project are trying to get this legislation passed in all 50 states. 
Conversion therapy can be a lot of different things
"Sometimes this takes the form of religious prayer. This is where you get the 'pray the gay away' kind of concept," said Sam Brinton, the head of advocacy and government affairs for the Trevor Project. "Sometimes this takes the form of talk therapy where a person may be sitting on a couch and thinking that their mother was overbearing or their father was distant and this is what made them gay ... and then in some rare cases, there is a version of this therapy where people try to attach a negative stimulus to an action."
Brinton went through the most extreme version, electroshock therapy so that they would hate "any connection that I had to my homosexuality."
All of these practices can lead to depression, self-harm and, in some cases, suicide.
"It's really important that we recognize that parents are actually being lied to here," Brinton said. "So although I want to support a parent's ability to raise their child as they see fit, we still have protections in this country that protect youth from harm despite any objections of the parent. And we also have laws that make sure that parents shouldn't be lied to or defrauded by these snake oil salesmen."
One of the most well-known national organizations providing conversion therapy, Exodus International, disbanded after the president, Alan Chambers, disavowed the therapy in 2012 and apologized for any harm or pain it had caused. John Paulk, a known advocate of conversion therapy and of the "ex-gay" movement, came out in 2013 and disavowed the therapy. 
But not everyone is on board with legislation to ban the practice. Liberty Counsel, an evangelical Christian group, is trying to stop the bans through the courts. 
"The counselors that we work with, they try to respect the wishes of the client and the client is that minor. It's not the parents, it's the client and that's who they have the responsibility to," said Mat Staver, the head of Liberty Counsel. "And some of those particular clients want to be affirmed in these attractions. Others want to overcome those attractions or live with them but ultimately not engage in certain desires that they may have. So they work with those clients on an individual basis."
Staver says conversion therapy bans are a violation of free speech for counselors and a minor's right to "self-autonomy." He takes issue with the term "conversion therapy" calling it a politicized term used to conjure up dangerous images of what goes on in this type of counseling. 
"There's no other area in counseling where the government has barged into the private counseling room and this should be no exception," he said. "And it's just a matter of time before the High Court expressly overrules all these cases and all these laws."
Recently, the Supreme Court declined to take a case that would have challenged the conversion therapy ban in New Jersey. 
Advocates of the ban say that if a practice is deemed harmful or abusive to children in other cases, the state does intervene.
Embracing the journey
The depth of that harm is something Greg and Lynn McDonald, of Johns Creek, Ga., say they didn't understand when they found out their son, Greg, was gay. They describe themselves as conservative Christians and were worried that their son was committing a sin. 

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