“I lived transgender, but I left it all to follow Jesus.” So explains self-identified ‘ex-trans’ Jeffrey, whose belief that change is possible reflects the core message of the conversion therapy movement today.
In the 1970s, five men struggling with being gay in their Evangelical church started a bible study to help each other leave the "homosexual lifestyle." They quickly received over 25,000 letters from people asking for help and formalized as Exodus International, the largest and most controversial conversion therapy organization in the world.
Julie is one of hundreds of thousands of people caught in Exodus’ wake. When she came out at sixteen, her mom took her to a residential conversion therapy program where she spent the next decade going through weekly psychological, behavioral, and religious counseling to make her straight.
But leaders struggled with a secret: their own “same-sex attractions” never went away. After years as Christian superstars in the religious right, many have come out as LGBTQ, disavowing the very movement they helped start. Pray Away chronicles that movement’s rise to power, persistent influence, and the harm it causes.
Kristine Stolakis is a director whose films intimately examine how power, politics, and prejudice unfold in real peoples’ lives. Her debut feature Pray Away, produced by Multitude Films, takes viewers inside the “pray the gay away” movement. She hails from North Carolina and central New York.