RuPaul’s Drag Race star season 10 and All Stars 4 queen Monique Heart shared her experience of conversion therapy on this week’s episode of Hey Queen! with Johnny McGovern.
Heart said that growing up she was the same as she is now and that caused some issues growing up in a religious household. In 2008, Heart and her mother moved to Kansas City from New York and joined a church ministry that asked her to share her testimony.
“I was like ‘I struggle with homosexuality,’ and they call it ‘SSA,’ Same-Sex Attraction,” Heart revealed.
Following this, she was put in the church’s ‘Pure Heart’ programme, designed to “restore” LGBTQ+ people through the bible. Whilst in the programme, Heart called into question the teachings of the programme which said she was gay because she grew up without a father.
“The reason that I am gay is not because my father was not there and I had an overbearing mother,” she said.
Heart said she was in the programme for an “intensive” six months and was selected to be a leader in the group. “I did so well at praying the gay away”, she said.
In a second programme, Heart began to lead a double life. Having made a close friend in the group, the pair would go to gay clubs after their prayer sessions:
“Surely enough, for six months, we would pray with the homos, and then me and my friend would go to the gay clubs afterword”.
“It was amazing to me, it was freeing,” she said, before adding, “I mean it was horrible, I mean coming out is not easy, but it was amazing to be in a room with other people who identified like you, and I had never had that experience, so it was just transformative in a way.”
Heart eventually learned to love herself for who she is when she met a gay man in hairdressing school who told her that he knows God loves him.
“If He is who He says He is, then He has to love you no matter what,” this friend told Heart, “you just have to go to Him as you are.” Following this, Heart said she realised that “I have to go accepting and loving all of this, not hiding it.”
Conversion therapy is widely condemned by leading medical groups, including the World Psychiatric Association and the Irish Council of Psychotherapy.
The United Nations has called for a global ban on the practice but few countries have followed through.
A ban against both the practice and advertisement of it has not been brought into effect in Ireland despite the Bill passing through second stage of the Seanad in 2018. It currently awaits a third reading in that chamber, and passage in the Dáil.
As of February 2020, only three United Nation member states, Brazil, Ecuador, and Malta, which have enacted national laws to restrict so-called ‘conversion therapies’.
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