“At 15, I come out to two very conservative, Christian parents. First mistake. They did not handle it well. My dad’s exact words were ‘My son is not going to be gay.’ My mom said, ‘No, you’re not, we’re going to fix this.’ Cut to a couple days later, two men in a van show up to my house. They come in, physically grab me, tell me ‘Say goodbye to your family, you won’t be seeing them for a while.’ I was completely confused as to what was going on. I was not allowed to know or ask questions. Bags that were packed for me, at some point, were thrown into the van and I was physically led to the van and shipped off to God knows where. My parents were even in the same room. They had left to a different part of the house. There was no goodbye, no explanation, nothing.”
This is the beginning of TikTok creator @mikecult’s story about his ordeal with conversion therapy. Mike is one of approximately 700,000 LGBTQ people, according to studies by the Williams Institute of UCLA, to subjected to conversion therapy.
Also known as ‘reparative therapy,’ conversion therapy is a dangerous pseudo-science used to attempt to change a patient’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The various types of conversion therapy include behavioral modification (electroshock being the most common) and religious ‘camps’ designed to ‘pray the gay away.’
While conversion therapy for LGBTQ minors has been banned in 20 states in the U.S., there are still 30 states where the practice is legal.
The reason why this topic needs to be talked about is because of the recent reemergence of YouTuber Anthony Quintal aka Lohanthony. Quintal made a name for himself back in 2012 at the age of 13 with a video called ‘Calling All the Basic Bitches.’ From that point, Quintal became a role model to the LGBTQ community for being unabashedly and unapologetically gay at such a young age.
Quintal posted a video on August 21st claiming his “call to Christian celibacy.” During the 40+ minute video, Quintal details being molested as a young child and equates this incident with the reason why he came out as gay.
“All this time, I was, like I said, trying to fit a circle into a square. Trying to find God’s love in all of these other things. It’s no coincidence that through pursuing my same-sex attraction, I was also addicted to alcohol. I was also addicted to weed. I was also trying hallucinogenics. I was also addicted to money. I was also addicted to views. I was addicted to attention. I was addicted to opportunity, opportunity that earthly pleasures brought to me.”
This video has caught the attention of other LGBTQ YouTubers like Tyler Oakley and Adam McIntyre because they are concerned that Quintal was subjected to conversion therapy while he was in rehab for his addictions. Quintal, in a later video, has denied this but as McIntyre states:
“A huge issue with this, no matter where Lohanthony is coming from in this, is the fact that this video was posted and in this video, he basically makes out that the fact that he was attracted to same-sex was because he was addicted to substance and he craving attention. Lohanthony’s audience are around 90% LGBTQ+ youth that grew up with him or that rediscovered him because of his older videos. Posting this to your mainly LGBTQ+ audience is fucking damaging. You know why because you just said that the only way you could be reunited with your creator was because you had to refix this and also the fact that you said basically you were only like that because you wanted attention and the fact that you were addicted to substances.
So if you’re a watcher of Lohanthony, a big fan of Lohanthony and you happen to be LGBTQ+ like most of his audience are and you see this how do you think a young audience is going to think about themselves? They’re going to think ‘Am I doing this for attention?’”
Meanwhile, Oakley expresses Quintal’s videos are playing into the methods of anti-gay people who would use Quintal’s “logic to make homosexuality illegal punishable by death.”
Oakley explains why Quintal’s story is relevant:
“This is life or death for queer kids right now… My biggest issue is, of course, the people that might watch that and think okay, well, here’s an example of somebody who has come out the other side of conversion therapy and thinks, okay, maybe that is something that they can then do. And I just cannot sit by and watch that happen. I have to speak on it, and I cannot believe I have to make a video in 2020 speaking on this but clearly this is something that I do need to say. There is nothing wrong with being gay. There is nothing wrong with same-sex attraction. There’s nothing wrong with having sex with somebody who identifies as the same gender as you.”
For more information on conversion therapy and the fight to end this barbaric practice, go over to the Trevor Project to find out what is being done to eliminate conversion therapy in the United States.