What it was like for a teenager to go through “ex-gay” therapy—and how the movements associated with such practices have fallen apart:
After our initial meeting, I spoke with Nicolosi weekly by phone for more than three years, from the time I was 14 until I graduated high school. Like a rabbi instructing his student in understanding the Torah, Nicolosi encouraged me to interpret my daily life through the lens of his theories. I read in one of Nicolosi’s books, Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality, that he tries to position himself as a supportive father figure, typifying the sort of relationship that he believes his patients never had with their own father. I indeed came to see him this way.
We mostly talked about how my damaged masculine identity manifested itself in my attractions to other boys. Nicolosi would ask me about my crushes at school and what I liked about them. Whether the trait was someone’s build, good looks, popularity, or confidence, these conversations always ended with a redirect: Did I wish I had these traits? What might it feel like to be hugged by one of these guys? Did I want them to like and accept me?