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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 298 > The architecture of bigotry

The architecture of bigotry

When he was 19, Garrard Conley was coerced by his devoutly religious parents to attend a conversion-therapy programme, which he recounts in his new memoir Boy Erased

The doctor turned to me and said: “Let’s say your parents are wrong. Let’s say you can’t change who you are on a fundamental level. Imagine that you are, and always will be, gay.”

I couldn’t look at her any longer so I turned to a Norman Rockwell print that a surprising number of smalltown doctors frame in their offices: the one with the little boy lowering his pants while the doc readies a vaccine. There will be a little sting but otherwise you’ll be fine.

My parents sent me to Dr Julea after they’d found out I was gay from someone at my college, who’d been a friend up until the moment when he raped me. Then suddenly he was a double rapist: confessing to also attacking a 14 -year-old child in his church youth group. As a pre-emptive strike against my testimony, he’d called my parents and told them what I, in a moment of weakness and insecurity, had admitted to him: that I might be gay.

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QUEER EYE! Five-cover special issue. Plus: Bette Midler on why ageist and sexist Hollywood won’t bring back the cast of Hocus Pocus for a sequel, Whitney Houston’s secret childhood trauma, Drag Race All Stars Shangela, and the shocking reality behind the Truth Project.