Video: Gay son of leading ‘conversion therapist’ talks about coming out to him

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The gay son of one of the first therapists to write on “gay cure”, therapy has spoken about about coming out, saying it was difficult, but that he managed to overcome the issue with his father.

The video, posted by I’m From Driftwood, features Richard Socarides, the son of one of the founders of Gay Conversion, Charles Socarides. He describes his coming out story as “stranger than most”.

Charles Socarides authored ‘Homosexuality: A Freedom Too Far?’, and spent most of his career working on the idea that homosexuality could be “cured” using therapy.

His son, Richard says that, after a long time of deliberating over coming out, and when his therapist and his sister knew he was gay, he decided to do so.

He says: “I sat down and said, ‘Dad, I think this is something we’ve known for some time together, but I’m gay and we have to find a way to be more honest with each other about this.’ He was angry, but he certainly wasn’t surprised and angry, and he was kind of a little surprised.

“So I kind of said I’m going to give you some time to think about it, to take this one, and I left. It did not last a long time and it did not have a good ending, at that moment.”

He goes on to say that his father got angry, and refused to speak to him about it further, but that a few months later he received a letter from him, saying he was sorry.

“He sent me a beautiful letter, hand written, four pages. In which he basically said ‘I’m sorry I behaved so badly. I’m sorry I got angry. You’re the most important person to me in my life, and I love you, and the only thing that’s important to me is your happiness.'”

Richard, Bill Clinton’s former advisor, LGBT rights advocate and openly-gay author, weighed in on an argument last year when the leader of a church in Texas admitted in a TV interview that he was straight, and that he did not choose to be so.

I’m From Driftwood aims to help lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people learn more about their community, straight people learn more about their neighbors and everyone learn more about themselves through the power of storytelling and storysharing.

Back in October 2012, the US state of California banned the practice of gay conversion therapy when used on minors – the first such legislation in the country.

In December a federal judge blocked the new law, which was set to go into effect in January, and then Governor Jerry Brown appealed to have the law come into effect. 

Governor Brown said in a statement that gay “conversion therapy” had “no basis in science or medicine,” and that it would be “relegated to the dustbin of quackery”.