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Do Not Electroshock your Gay Son

September 8th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized

Really, though, does it even need to be said? Do not allow people to hook your son up to a car battery and shock him until he turns straight.

Actor Glenn Shadix–whom I remembered as Seinfeld’s landlord and the intensely swish interior designer from Beetle Juice–died yesterday in Alabama. He was young, just 58, but old enough that when he had come out to his father in 1970, his dad told him straighten up or he wouldn’t be allowed to see his younger brothers and sisters. So he voluntarily signed up for electroshock aversion therapy, at the age of 17.

This did not end well. After the therapy, Shadix tried to kill himself using his (very moral) parents’ supply of uppers. He almost didn’t survive coming out.

They don’t use electroshock so much anymore for ex-gay therapy, but there’s no shortage of mentally and emotionally abusive programs out there dedicated to the proposition that you can “pray away the gay”. And gay teens are still killing themselves all over the country, just like Shadix tried to do.

My old Stranger colleague Sean Nelson pointed out this video of Shadix talking about his experience. The sound quality is lousy, but it’s worth a watch. It’s a quiet testimony, but an important one.

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