In an ABC “20/20” special report that aired March 10th, they uncovered the horrifying conditions of children being beaten and worse at conversion therapy camps. These Christian ministries or “camps” are centers where parents send their gay teens to change their sexuality.
Off a dirt back road in Alabama is a place called Blessed Hope Boys Academy, run by recovering alcoholic and drug addict Gary Wiggins. This “academy” claims that with a bible and sometimes a belt, and of course a $21,000 yearly fee, they can deal with teenagers who consider themselves gay.
At Blessed Hope, they even get written permission from parents to strike their child if they act up.This is just one of a number of places discovered by ABC news in a yearlong investigation practicing a notion denounced by leading medical groups that gay teens can choose to change their sexuality.
Susan Cottrell, Founder of FreedHearts, an NPO helping parents unconditionally love, accept and affirm their LGBTQI children, say that for every camp like this, there are 100 more that nobody knows about- that nobody is exposing on TV. That’s truly bone-chilling.
Robin Roberts, who revealed she was gay back in 2014, had an inspiring message to viewers on the ABC special. She said:
“No one was more religious than my parents and I’m so grateful, especially after seeing this, how supportive they were of me as a gay woman and my family and friends and I’ll never forget my mother saying, God loves you because of who he is, not because of anything you do or don’t do. Love is love.”
“I certainly hope that [Trump’s] administration will pull back from some of the aggressive activism that the Obama administration engaged in.
“As a Christian, I believe that the Bible teaches that to choose to engage in homosexual conduct is a sin.
“If someone is experiencing something mentally, like same-sex attractions, that is causing distress, then that’s a mental health issue.”
But Sprigg denied that physical abuse takes place during conversion sessions.
He added that FRC does not believe that “same-sex attractions are a choice” but that he also does “not believe that experiencing same-sex attractions is a normal and natural variant of human sexuality.”
Conversion therapy is a discredited mix of psychological treatments and faith-based counseling aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation. Treatments in the past have included chemical castration, hormonal therapy, electroshock therapy, the use of nausea-inducing drugs and masturbatory reconditioning. The practice has been outlawed for licensed mental health providers in California, Oregon, New Jersey, Vermont, Illinois and Washington, D.C. The 20/20 report revealed that many camps are not operating as licensed mental health facilities and are therefore not covered by laws prohibiting the practice.