Conversion therapy camps are practically all based on firm Christian values, where LGBTQIA+ teenagers, and in some cases even adults, are sent to have their sexualities and gender identities altered.
But one of the problems with conversion camps is that the attendees often exeprience methods and techniques that lead to long-term trauma and further struggles to accept themselves.
Unfortunately, conversion camps have been viewed by many that have attended them as horrifying experiences, and there are still several that exist around the world, even the United States.
They stand as a tough symbol of how queerness is often seen as some sort of illness that needs to somehow be corrected instead of simply being the reality of a human.
With the presence of conversion therapy camps on a global level, there have been many movies that have told stories about their abusive dealings, and these five movies are among those that you need to take the time to see.
Conversion, directed by Gregory Caruso
This conversion therapy movie is a 2022 documentary that delves into the story of a psychologist who is practicing conversion therapy.
While having an encounter with a young gay rights activist, he finds himself looking at his own practice of conversion therapy very differently.
- Zachary Quinto – Self
- Gerald Davison – Self
- Charles Silverstein – Self
Pray Away, directed by Kristine Stolakis
Like Conversion, Pray Away is also a work of nonfiction. This 2021 documentary was directed and produced by Kristine Stolakis and executive produced by Jason Blum (Get Out) and Ryan Murphy (Glee).
Pray Away sheds light on the circumstances of survivors of conversion therapy and former leaders that are coping with their actions and those that have been made by other individuals.
Pray Away was nominated in 2022 for GLAAD Media Awards for Outstanding Documentary and The Queerty Award for Documentary.
- Michael Bussee – Self
- Ricky Chelette – (archive footage)
- Jerry Falwell – Self (archive footage)
- Jeffrey McCall – Self
- Anne Paulk – Self (archive footage)
- Julie Rodgers – Self
- James Dobson – Self (archive footage)
Boy Erased, directed by Joel Edgerton
Boy Erased happens to be a 2018 American biographical drama film based on Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir that was also called Boy Erased.
In Boy Erased, the son of a Baptist pastor struggled with how being outed as gay ruptures his relationships in a conversative small town and then being sent to a conversion therapy program led by a leader he doesn’t see eye-to-eye with.
This film adaptation was written and directed by Joel Edgerton (The Gift), who also produced this project with Kerry Kohansky Roberts and Steve Golin.
- Lucas Hedges – Jared Eamons (based on author Garrard Conley)
- Nicole Kidman – Nancy Eamons (based on Martha Conley)
- Xavier Dolan – Jon
- Flea – Brandon
- Russell Crowe – Marshall Eamons (based on Hershel Conley)
The Miseducation of Cameron Post, directed by Desiree Akhavan
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a 2018 drama film directed by Desiree Akhavan and written by Akhavan and Cecilia Frugiuele based on the 2012 novel by Emily M. Danforth.
This movie deals with a teenager named Cameron who was secretly involved in a romantic same-sex relationship with her girlfriend, Coley.
When Cameron’s boyfriend walks in on them having sex in Coley’s car, he proceeds to shatter their secret and outs both of the girls as lesbians.
Cameron gets sent by her aunt Ruth to God’s Promise, a gay conversion therapy center for teenagers that is run by the strict Dr. Lydia Marsh and her brother Reverend Rick who claims that his sister’s methods cured him of his own homosexuality.
Cameron befriends and bonds with two girls at camp, one being the hippie Jane Fonda and the other being Adam Red Eagle, a Lakota two-spirit whose father has converted to Christianity.
- Chloë Grace Moretz – Cameron Post
- John Gallagher Jr – Reverend Rick
- Sasha Lane – Jane Fonda
- Forrest Goodluck – Adam Red Eagle
- Marin Ireland – Bethany
But I’m a Cheerleader, directed by Jamie Babbit
But I’m a Cheerleader is a 1999 satirical romantic teen comedy directed by Jamie Babbit and written by Babbit and Brian Wayne Peterson.
It examines the story of a high school cheerleader whose parents send her to a residential in-patient conversion therapy camp that uses a five-step program to convert its campers to heterosexuality because they disagree with her lesbian identity.
- Natasha Lyonne – Megan Bloomfield
- Clea DuVall – Graham Eaton
- Cathy Moriarty – Mary Brown
- RuPaul Charles – Mike
- Mink Stole – Nancy Bloomfield
- Bud Cort – Peter Bloomfield
- Richard Moll – Larry Morgan-Gordon
- Michelle Williams – Kimberly
- Julie Delpy – Lipstick Lesbian
Thanks to Conversion, Pray Away, Boy Erased, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, and But I’m a Cheerleader, you now have five cinematic selections about conversion therapy to choose from. From documentaries based on true stories to scripted fictional films that have been cast with actors, you can see multiple sides of these conversion programs and their impact on those in these programs and their loved ones.