Boy Erased tells the courageous, true story of Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges), the son of a Baptist pastor in a small American town, who must overcome the fallout of being outed to his parents (Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe). His parents struggle with reconciling their love for their son with their beliefs. Fearing a loss of family, friends, and community, Jared is pressured into attending a conversion therapy program. While there, Jared comes into conflict with its leader (Joel Edgerton) and begins his journey to finding his own voice and accepting his true self.
The film stars Academy Award®-nominee Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea, Lady Bird), Academy Award®-winner Russell Crowe (Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind), Academy Award®-winner Nicole Kidman (TV’s Big Little Lies, The Killing of a Sacred Deer), Golden Globe®-nominee Joel Edgerton (Loving, Zero Dark Thirty), Emmy® and Tony Award®-winner Cherry Jones (TV’s Transparent), and actor/musical artist Troye Sivan (X-Men Origins: Wolverine).
PFLAG National is proud to partner with the filmmakers in spreading word about this important story, especially at a time when so-called conversion therapy is still legal in so many places. In fact, 36 states still don’t have laws against the harmful practice. The American Psychiatric Association states that the potential risks of “reparative therapy” are great and include depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against LGBTQ+ people may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient. Many patients who have undergone “reparative therapy” relate that they were inaccurately told that LGBTQ+ people are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction, while the possibility that the person might achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal relationships as an LGBTQ+ person are not presented, nor are alternative approaches to dealing with the effects of societal stigmatization discussed.
PFLAG has been a partner on the production since early on, when Advocacy, Policy, and Partnership Director Diego M. Sanchez visited the set of the film. Since then, we've supported the filmmakers' efforts to not only spread word of the film, but also of #UnErased, a companion podcast series that reveals the hidden and undertold story of so-called conversion therapy in America.
The podcast has four episodes, including one that covers the story of the Mama Bears, which counts many PFLAGers in its ranks. The full episode list is as follows:
Episode 1: Garrard and the Story of Job
Synopsis: This is a modern day story of Job. It starts with Garrard Conley, a young gay kid growing up in rural Arkansas, trying to find a place to stand between a devout father and unforgiving God, and ends in a dramatic escape from an ex-gay camp and the smuggling out of a book that overturns an industry.
Episode 2: Mama Bears to the Rescue
Synopsis: What if you’re a mother who’s a leader in the Christian community and your kid comes out as gay? Who do you call? The Mama Bears. This is the story of one woman who created a supergroup of like-minded mothers who faced down threats of excommunication because they refused to disown their kids, and will step in if you disown yours.
Episode 3: Dr. Davison and the Gay Cure
Synopsis: This is one of the rarest stories of all: a man who publicly experiences a profound change of heart. This is a profile of one of the gods of psychotherapy, who through a reckoning with his own work (oddly enough in the pages of Playboy magazine), becomes the first domino to fall in science’s ultimate disowning of the “gay cure.”
Episode 4: Smid
Synopsis: You’re openly gay. Then you become the leader of the largest ex-gay organization and, under your leadership, many lives are destroyed. You leave that organization, come out as gay - again - and find love. Do you deserve to be happy? This is a story of identity, making amends and John Smid’s reckoning with his life.
And for tickets to Boy Erased at a theatre near you, visit boyerasedtickets.com.