Troye Sivan has said he hopes his new movie about “gay conversion” therapy will show parents the damage the discredited practices can do to LGBTIQ youth.
Boy Erased, based on conversion therapy survivor Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir of the same name, recounts Conely’s childhood in a religious family in Arkansas who sent him to a conversion therapy camp.
Sivan stars alongside young actor Lucas Hodges and fellow Aussie actors Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe in the film, which will be directed by Australian actor-director Joel Egerton.
He told US talk show host Stephen Colbert that when he read the script for Boy Erased, he immediately knew he wanted to be part of it.
“I got the script and just was punched in the gut by it and just knew that I really, really badly wanted to be a part of it,” he said.
“When we arrived on set, day one, they gave us the resources that kids would typically get when they arrived at the camp. Like, actual printed out resources. They’re full of testimonials. It was gnarly.
“There’s these rules. You can shake someone’s hand very briefly, but not ever touch someone anywhere else on their body. Girls had to carry around handbags and could only wear skirts. Boys couldn’t wear things that were too tight.
“The second that these kids or sometimes adults arrived at these camps… they were told immediately, ‘No, you weren’t born like this. this is a God-shaped hole that you’re trying to fill with these homosexual tendencies.’”
Sivan said he hopes Boy Erased is able to change the minds of parents who have trouble accepting their LGBTIQ children.
“Imagining being 15 again, when I was sort of at my most vulnerable, and having that put back on me and being set up with that impossible task of trying to change this thing that is ultimately unchangeable,” he said.
“It’s just one of the most damaging things I could imagine.
“I really hope that the movie is going to speak to parents about just how much your reaction to your kid coming out can really shape their lives.”
Boy Erased, to be released in November, is the second film this year to explore “gay conversion” therapy, a topic which in recent months has made headlines in Australia.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post, starring Chloë Grace Moretz as a teen in conversion therapy in 1993, won big at the Sundance Film Festival in January and was released in August.