Disney Channel star reveals he went to conversion therapy on days off filming

Matthew Montgomery on the Vulnerable podcast.

Disney Channel alum Matthew Scott Montgomery has revealed that he used to go to conversion therapy in secret on his days off from filming.

The actor, who appeared on hit Disney shows like Shake It Up, Sonny With A Chance, and So Random endured the barbaric anti-LGBTQ+ treatment after coming out as gay to his “very, very conservative parents” who believed that “gay people are the most evil thing that could possibly exist.”

Thankfully, his fellow Disney Channel co-stars like Demi Lovato and Hayley Kiyoko helped him to realise that he didn’t need the deadly therapy.

Montgomery had been speaking to fellow Disney Channel alum Christy Carlson Romano on her podcast Vulnerable when he opened up about the traumatic experience.

The actor revealed that, after coming out to his parents, his father organised for him to go to “reparative therapy” – which as Montgomery puts it, is just “another word for conversion therapy.”

Although Montgomery was over 18 at the time and technically could have left conversion therapy at his own free will, the actor explained: “In the environment I grew up in, you are taught that you deserve to be punished all the time.”

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After getting his big break on Disney Channel around 2011 and 2012, the actor recalls working at the studio six days per week – and spending his days off at conversion therapy.

Montgomery made it clear that Disney had no idea what he was getting up to in his free time, telling Romano: “Disney was always really great to me. Disney had nothing to do with it, it was not their idea.

“They didn’t know, no one knew, my cast mates didn’t know at the time.”

The Encino-based conversion therapy centre marketed itself toward “gay men who wanted to be turned from gay to straight and make it as a straight movie star”, Montgomery claimed.

What started out as general talking therapy eventually escalated to electro-shock therapy.

Eventually, Montgomery found forever friends in some of his Disney Channel co-stars and suddenly “just kind of woke up.”

“At that point, I had started making close friends that I would consider family,” he recalled.

Matthew Montgomery on the Vulnerable podcast.
Montgomery found friends in his fellow Disney Channel cast members Demi Lovato and Hayley Kiyoko. (Vulnerable/YouTube)

“People like Hayley Kiyoko, who was a guest star on So Random. She and I became friends, and we bonded. When you find another queer person you just feel it, you latch onto that person.

“And Demi was a great friend with that stuff. Demi’s family. That’s my family, that’s my soulmate, that’s my person who loves me the deepest. And at that point, I was able to carefully curate a life that was filled with love and art and expression that was satisfying me and making me so happy in a way that I’d never been before.”

It was through solid friendships like those that Montgomery realised he didn’t have to put himself through pain and punishment for simply being who he was.

For anyone who has gone through a similar experience, or had considered conversion therapy, Montgomery shared some words of wisdom.

“There’s nothing wrong with you. There’s not a thing in the world wrong with you. You are loved, you deserve to have a beautiful life that’s carefully curated the way that you deserve in joy and happiness and art, or whatever makes you happy.”