A gay man was told to cease contact with all of the women in his family in order to ‘cure’ his sexuality.
Mathew Shurka says he was advised by ‘gay cure’ counsellors to avoid any contact with the female half of his family to avoid picking up “feminine behaviour” from them.
From the age of 16 until he was 21, Mr Shurka – originally from New York – was forced to undergo ‘gay conversion’ therapy at the wishes of his father, who wanted his son to ‘become’ straight.
This meant he was unable to directly communicate with his mother or his sisters – even thought he lived in the same house as them.
“It was extremely difficult to come home from school and not talk to them. The word uncomfortable doesn’t even describe it,” he told the Press Association.
“The therapists tried to teach me that there was no such thing as homosexuality and that it was a psychological condition that’s routed from some sort of childhood trauma.
“My mom didn’t agree with the therapy at all. She felt like she was losing me.”
However, Mr Shurka eventually freed himself from the cycle of abuse, before accepting his sexuality and coming out at the age of 23.
The 27-year-old is now an ambassador of the #BornPerfect campaign with the National Centre for Lesbian Rights – a charity fighting to end conversion therapy in the US by 2019.
Currently, Washington DC, California, Illinois, Oregon and New Jersey are the only states operating laws to protect minors against undergoing conversion therapy.
The ‘Conversion Therapy for Minors Prohibition Amendment Act’ prohibits the practice of “sexual orientation change efforts” that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
The law permits the imposition of fines and other penalties on licensed therapists and other mental health practitioners who attempt to change the sexual orientation of people under the age of 18 from gay-to-straight.