Mathew Shurka was 16 when he sat down with his father and told him he was gay. Brought up in a conservative New York suburb, the youngest child in a secular Jewish family and the only son, he was “terrified”. But, in that highly charged moment, the reaction was good. “He said: ‘I love you. I’m going to be on your side, no matter what,’” Shurka says. “He created security, which is what my father does … He said: ‘Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out.’” What he meant was he was going to try to “cure” him. Shurka’s father started talking to psychotherapists in New York. Within a week, he had found one who insisted there was no such thing as homosexuality, that everyone is born heterosexual and “same-sex attraction” is the result of childhood trauma or dysfunctional familial relationships. “It was thought that, because I was still young, I had the highest chance of overcoming it,” Shurka says. “I was told how hard my life would be if I came out. I was told I could have the same attraction for girls as I did for boys. This was 2004. I’d never met an actual gay person. I was… Read full this story
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