Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 153
Boy Erased is a memoir by Garrard Conley. As a young man, Conley was struggling with inner torment about the fact that he was homosexual. At the age of nineteen, while he was in college, he was outed to his parents, who were deeply religious. At the time, his father was about to be ordained as a Baptist minister.
They issued him with an ultimatum: either be disowned or undergo "gay conversion therapy," which was supposed to "cure" him.
Not wanting to lose his family, Conley enrolled in a fundamentalist "ex-gay" program, and the book recounts the horrors he experienced there. He was regularly told that he was "unfixable" and "disgusting."
The program involved a warped version of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program and included homosexuality in the same category of sins as pedophilia and bestiality.
By writing this memoir, Conley hoped to expose the atrocities of these so-called "gay conversion therapy programs."
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