What Happens When a Lesbian Reporter Covers a Pray-the-Gay-Away Convention
How writing about a conversion-therapy minister from Texas and his I-swear-I’m-cured-of-it young son taught me about compassion.
Illustrations by Kimberly Denson | Edited by Lilly Dancyger
I was driving to work when I saw the first billboard assuring me I could change. It was winter on the Gulf Coast of Texas, and the wetlands buffeting the highway sparkled every so often with the fall of another cast net capturing bait. Just beyond the McDonald’s, where the drive-thru was already aglow with the headlights of morning breakfast orders, was the blown-up photo of an Adonic man with a confident smile beside the message:
“I Questioned Homosexuality. Change is Possible. Discover How.”
I spotted another billboard, nearly identical to the first, just past Texas City’s mini-metropolis of petrochemical plants. Only this time it was a smiling woman. Both listed a website called Love Won Out.
At my desk that morning, rather than shifting through emails from sources or story assignments from my editors, I went to the billboards’ website. Love Won Out, I learned, was a conference run by Focus on the Family that tours the country…
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