Conversion therapy is the pseudoscientific practice of trying to change an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual using psychological or spiritual interventions.
According to a 2009 report of the American Psychological Association, the techniques therapists have used to try to change sexual orientation, and gender identity include inducing nausea, vomiting, or paralysis while showing the patient homoerotic images and providing electric shocks among other things.
As of August 2018, 14 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and some counties and municipalities in the United States have passed laws banning the practice of conversion therapy on minors.
The film, The Miseducation of Cameron Post tackles the subject of conversion therapy by pulling back the curtains on gay-conversion camps in an emotional and well-written story.
The story follows a teenage Cameron Post, played by Chloë Grace Moretz after she is caught in the backseat of a car with the prom queen, Coley who is played by Quinn Shephard, in 1993. Cameron is quickly sent away to a treatment center in a remote area called God’s Promise. She ends up bonding with some fellow residents, Jane (Sasha Lane) and Adam (Forrest Goodluck) as they pretend to go along with the process while waiting to be released, but not it’s not before they are subjected to questionable gay conversion therapies.
It’s a story that takes place before same-sex couples won the right to get married in all 50 states in 2015, before a weekly sitcom called “Will & Grace” brought an openly gay character into primetime in 1998, and before homosexuality was no longer listed as an illness by the American Medical Association in 1994. However, the same language and beliefs about members of the LGBTQ community in the film can still be heard in the conversation around the world, and even from the U.S. Vice President today.
The film, which was adapted from Emily Danforth’s novel published in February 2012 of the same name, is a coming-of-age story about young people finding their community filled with drama and comedy. But it also does an excellent job of shining a spotlight on a barbaric, macabre, and dangerous institution of abuse that still exists today.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post debuted at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2018, was shown at the Closing Night Gala at Outfest and was released across the U.S. on August 3, 2018.