Bowen Yang Went Through Conversion Therapy?

Screenshot via YouTube @HBO

“They just sat me down and yelled at me.”

2019 was a pretty good year for comedian Bowen Yang. His name and face went mainstream after joining the cast of SNL and he signed on for the new comedy show Awkwafina is Nora from Queens. But life wasn’t always so easy for the comedian. In fact, he is now sharing that you had a turbulent time as a teenager. Specifically, he was forced to go through gay conversion therapy.

While talking to the New York Times, Yang shared that he told his parents about his sexuality when he was 17. His father then took him to see a “specialist.”


“They just sat me down and yelled at me and said, ‘We don’t understand this. Where we come from, this doesn’t happen,’” Yang explained. “I’d only seen my father cry when my grandpa died and now he’s sobbing in front of me every day at dinner…”

“And I’m thinking, ‘How do I make this right?’ This is the worst thing you can do as a child of immigrants,” he explained further. “It’s just like you don’t want your parents to suffer this much over you.”

Yang then agreed to go through with the therapy sessions. And despite looking up the program and being put off by the idea, he thought, “What if this could work?”

“It was just crazy. Explain the gay away with pseudoscience.”


Yang then shared that the first few sessions were simple talk therapy, which he enjoyed. But as time went by, the sessions became more hostile to the very concept of homosexuality.

“At the first session, he asks me, ‘Would you like this to be Christ centered or a secular sort of experience?’ And I was like, ‘I guess nonreligious.’

“But even for him to ask that question means that there was this kind of religious agenda behind it anyway,” Yang reasoned.

He added, “The counselor would go through the circular reasoning thing of, ‘Well, weren’t you feeling uncomfortable a little bit when saw that boy you liked?’


“And I was like, ‘Not really.’ He goes, ‘How did your chest feel?’ And I was like, ‘Maybe I was slouching a little bit.’ And he goes, ‘See? That all stems from shame.’

“It was just crazy. Explain the gay away with pseudoscience.”

Eventually, Yang realized how ineffective the sessions were in reality. This is something that psychiatric professionals have already acknowledged. In fact, all major mental health organizations have condemned the practice and stated its ineffectiveness on changing one’s sexuality. Instead, the practice is more damaging to the psyche than helpful.


Yang then realized that he isn’t in any rush to get his parents to accept his sexuality, and honestly admitted that he still hasn’t reached that point with them yet.

“I had this second coming out with them while I was in college and went through this whole flare-up again with them, where they couldn’t accept it,” he said.

“And then eventually, I just got to this place of standing firm and being like, ‘This is sort of a fixed point, you guys. I can’t really do anything about this. So either you meet me here or you don’t meet me.’”

Source: The New York Times

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