True Stories

11 Shocking True Stories from Gay Conversion Camps  

Jacoby Bancroft
68.1k views 11 items

Forget ghosts and demons, the scariest types of stories might be horror stories from gay conversion camps. These camps have the singular goal of convincing homosexuals that there is something wrong with them - but if they work at it, they can just stop being gay. As you can imagine, these reprogramming camp horror stories are nothing short of barbaric, and some border on outright torture. What's more, they have been proven by the American Psychological Association to be totally ineffective and are even banned in some states.

Below is a list of some of the worst things that have happened at gay conversion therapy camps. After reading a few of them, you would think these are people recounting stories from forty or fifty years ago, but no. These are surprisingly recent true stories and show just how far we still need to go when it comes to true equality and acceptance. 

A Gay Conversion Therapy Victim Was Tortured and Electrocuted
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Although "pray the gay away" rolls off the tongue, a more accurate slogan would be "torture and abuse the gay away." Meet Samuel Brinton, who underwent a hellish conversion camp straight out of a Saw movie.

First, he was brainwashed into believing that he (and all gay people) had AIDS, that every other gay person on the planet had been executed, and that the government would look for the remaining gay people and exterminate them.

Later, while being forced to watch gay porn, he would be physically tortured with methods that included being frozen with ice, burned by copper heating coils, and finally, electrocuted - all to create the association between gay sex and torture.

Brinton attempted suicide five times. Of course, none of this stopped him from being gay, but it did make him an excellent liar who lived a secret life until finally coming out and accepting himself while in college.

A Girl Commits Suicide After Attending a Conversion Camp
A Girl Commits Suicide After A... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 11 Shocking True Stories from Gay Conversion Camps
Photo:  RonPorter/Pixabay/CC0 1.0

This redditor had a friend whose 17-year-old cousin was sent to a reprogramming camp, and the results were both tragic and avoidable. While she was there, she begged her parents to pick her up and take her home. She told them that all the camp was doing was making her hate herself for who she was. She was absolutely miserable, but her parents insisted she finish the program. Of course, it didn't work.

A month later, she committed suicide, with a letter to her parents saying, "Mom, Dad I love you despite how misguided you are, you taught me how to hate and feel disgusted with myself rather than to love myself."

An Undercover Straight Reporter Watches as a Gay Man Beats His Imaginary Father to Death
An Undercover Straight Reporte... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 11 Shocking True Stories from Gay Conversion Camps
Photo:  Peggy_Marco/Pixabay/CC0 1.0

In his undercover mission to research the harmful and deceitful reprogramming camps that were designed to offer a "freedom from homosexuality," Ted Cox witnessed some crazy and truly horrendous acts. Throughout his weekend posing as a gay man on a quest to cure his "disease" at the Journey into Manhood retreat, he was constantly asked to define what manhood and masculinity was, and was forced to face his most traumatic memory. Most of the other men in the group had memories dealing with neglect from their fathers (a big talking point of the conversion therapy camps is that homosexuals just didn't receive the proper love from a father figure), but when the time came to face those memories, things got violent.

A majority of the men in the group recreated scenes with counselors portraying their fathers and then were forced to physically drag the counselors out of the room and shut the door. One of the younger guests was given a bat and a punching bag was placed in front of him. He started whacking the punching bag with half-hearted enthusiasm, but with the encouragement of the counselors, he was told to really hurt the bag until it was dead. While he was hitting it, the man's imaginary father died, and in his place a new father appeared, one who was more accepting. This was to help the man get over his father issues and therefore, no longer be homosexual. 

To Earn Dad's Approval, a Boy Gets His Testicles Electrocuted
To Earn Dad's Approval, a ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 11 Shocking True Stories from Gay Conversion Camps
Photo:  samuriah/Pixabay/CC0 1.0

The only reason this kid went to a reprogramming camp was because his father didn't see him as normal. Many of the other stories on this list include people who worried about eternal damnation, but this boy was only worried about his father's approval. 

At the camp, counselors would tape electrical pads to young men's testicles while making them watch gay porn. If they got an erection, they got zapped.

After the camp, this man got married to a woman, only for it to end in divorce later when it turned out that both he and his wife were homosexual.