- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
When Troye Sivan read the script for Boy Erased, he immediately knew that he had to be part of the film. The movie, based off Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir of the same name, highlights the emotional pain LGBTQ youth experience at gay conversion therapy centers.
Sivan — who is openly gay — made a Thursday night appearance on CBS’ The Late Show, telling host Stephen Colbert why it was important for him to play campgoer Gary in the film, which also stars Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe.
“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,” said Sivan, adding that he and the rest of the cast were made aware of the real-life practices at conversion therapy centers. “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.”
The pop star turned actor continued: “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.”
Sivan then reflected on his own coming-out experience as a teen. “I remember being so relieved when I came out to myself. Because it’s not something that I can change. It’s not something that I have to fight anymore,” he told Colbert. “It’s just something that I have to navigate and accept.”
Sivan also said that he believes the experience of attending a gay conversion therapy camp can be “damaging,” which is why he hopes Boy Erased is able to penetrate the minds of parents who have trouble accepting their LGBTQ 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, it’s just one of the most damaging things I could imagine,” he said. “I really hope that the movie is going to speak to, mostly, I really want to communicate with parents as to just how much your reaction to your kid coming out can really shape their lives.”
Boy Erased is the second film this year to explore gay conversion therapy. The Miseducation of Cameron Post, starring Chloe Grace Moretz as the titular character, was released in August. The 1993-set coming-of-age movie tells the story of Cameron, a teen who is sent to a gay conversion therapy center to “cure” her sexuality.
Currently, only 14 states — along with Washington, D.C. — ban conversion therapy for minors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. In late July, Delaware became the last to restrict the practice, which has been denounced as harmful and ineffective by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association.
Last month, therapy survivor and Born Perfect campaign founder Mathew Shurka — who served as a consultant on both Boy Erased and Cameron Post to ensure authenticity — told The Hollywood Reporter that “there are more than 700,000 survivors nationally, and an estimated 77,000 teenagers across the country will be subjected to conversion therapy over the next five years.”
Boy Erased hits theaters on Nov. 2. Watch Sivan’s interview with Colbert below.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day
Script to Scene
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier