This is an account from Samuel Brinton, a young man who was a victim of child abuse, both at home and during ex-gay reparative therapy. Brinton describes his ordeal on the www.imfromdriftwood.com website.
I’m Samuel Brinton, and I’m from Perry, Iowa. I grew up the son of Southern Baptist missionaries and we were living on a mission base …
Sin entered the building, a Playboy [magazine] got on to the campus and so of course all the middle school boys my age, it was perfect, because we had been limited to censored PBS for most of our lives. It was, you know, heavenly and I thought myself so righteous because it didn’t effect me at all. I went up to my dad and said, “Dad,” and of course telling on the others, I was so wonderful and it didn’t hurt me, and telling him, “but it’s really weird, I don’t, I didn’t get the same feelings,” I said, “I have those feeling when I think of Dale,” my best friend. My dad just started punching. That was the first day I was sent to the emergency room because I had “fallen down the stairs.” I was sent to the emergency room about six more times for falling down the stairs or tripping on the sidewalk.
I’m in this constant state of fear. My mom finally starts recognizing, “You know what? Hitting him may not be working. Let’s try therapy.” It started with the first few weeks. [I was told] I had AIDS, I was the only gay person left in the world, cause the Government found all the other gays and killed them as children. If they found me, they would kill me. The perfect way to keep a child or a teen from coming out.
We moved on to physical therapy. Physical therapy was my hands being tied down and blocks of ice being placed on my hands, then pictures of men holding hands would be shown to me, so that I would associate the concept of the pain of ice with a man touching me. It worked really really really well. My dad could hardly hug me anymore. I would scream out in pain. Then we went in to heat. So coils would be wrapped around my hands and you’d be able to turn the heat on or off. So now if we have a picture of a guy or girl hugging, it was no pain. If it was a picture of a guy and a guy hugging, we had physical pain.
We then went in to the “month of hell.” The “month of hell” consisted of tiny needles being stuck in to my fingers, and then pictures of explicit acts between men would be shown and I’d be electrocuted.
At this point I was completely dead, God did not want me on this earth anymore. So we lived on a three story building. I told my sister goodbye and I walked to the roof. My mom finds me up on the roof. Says “she will love me again, if I will just change.” Which is not the thing to say to a person standing on the edge of a building. So, I run back in to my mom’s arms saying “You know what? I’m changed! It’s done. It worked. Epiphany from God.” The pain finally stopped. Immediately nothing was ever said about it. We literally, that part of my life disappeared, it is as if nothing had ever happened for the past year.
So I come to KC, I start recognizing that people here are treating me a little bit differently. There’s not nearly as much judgement. I live in a house of thirty guys. It starts getting very uncomfortable. I’m starting to recognize, oh crud, these feelings are getting really really strong and so I finally meet a lesbian couple, recognize that there’s a gay culture. And my K-State story begins.
I came back out to my parents. My mom, and she didn’t really know what to say anymore cause she thought it had worked, she’s told me that she would tell my dad cause we didn’t want the same situation to happen again. I left for the afternoon, I came back and my stuff was on the front door, with it locked. I’ve tried to call them multiple times, my mom has answered the phone once or twice, for on her birthday or something, saying something, hi. My dad, has held a gun up to my head multiple times but the last time I got on the phone, I try to keep calling, I want contact, was that he would shoot me if I ever tried to walk in the door again. I have a 12 year younger baby brother who was born. I’m not supposed to contact him. I’m not supposed to contact my sister. The family, if I’m going to live as a devil child, then I’m not part of the Brinton family any longer.
Everyone says, oh after a few months your parents will come around. I don’t necessarily see that happening ’cause of what happened last time, I think they have a lot of work they need to do. But, I do recognize that I will give them that chance. What my parents did was part of what they believed. They thought they were losing their child and they wanted to help him, so I have to forgive them, I have to move forward. But I think the reason why I was so excited to be able tell the story was that if there’s other people who have gone through conversion therapy, who are having those feelings of, “I’m the only one alone”, you need to know that there are people who have made it through and, you can’t change what I never chose.