A gay woman has opened up about the horrific child abuse she suffered in a misguided attempt by religious bigots to ‘cure’ her sexuality.
Alex Cooper, now 21, has revealed she was subject to ‘conversion therapy’ as a teenager by her Mormon parents.
When she had come out as gay at 15, she was initially thrown out of her house. She was only allowed back in to live with them if she went to ‘cure her sickness’.
She was then forced to live with a couple who had no license or training to administer therapy but was convinced, having told Alex’s parents they could ‘turn’ her.
Among the torture and abuse, she was forced to stand facing a wall for up to 18 hours a day wearing a backpack full of rocks.
Speaking to a local CBS affiliate in Salt Lake City, Cooper said: ‘It’s like sending you to therapy to change your eye color. It’s not going to work. What it’s going to do is damage you.’
When she tried to escape, the man ‘punched me in the gut, knocking the wind out of me. I doubled over and choked for breath’.
After attempting suicide and several other escapes, Cooper got help from friends, lawyers and the courts. Her parents were then forced to agree to an unprecedented court order in Utah to not subject her to any more abuse via means of ‘conversion therapy’.
As reported by Raw Story, Cooper said she was able to make up her junior year and graduate with her class – earning a cosmetology certificate to support herself.
She has also reconciled with her parents, not blaming them for what happened.
Cooper has written her story in Saving Alex: When I Was Fifteen I Told My Mormon Parents I Was Gay, and That’s When My Nightmare Began.
‘I want to end conversion therapy,’ she said.
‘Gay cure’ therapy is illegal for minors in California, New Jersey, Illinois and Oregon. Plans are currently going ahead to ban the harmful practice in Hawaii as well.
The World Health Organization, as well as several mainstream health groups across the globe, agrees that gay ‘cure’ therapy does not work and is considered dangerous to a person’s mental and physical health.