(PTGA music composer Conrad Askland with students of the WWU Department of Sociology)
Part of the mission of the “Pray the Gay Away”® theater project is to start conversations and dialogues on many topics related to gay conversion therapy, the theological stance of some Evangelical churches toward homosexuality, and the experience of the LGBTQ+ community in those areas. Thanks to generous donors we have been able to provide tickets to many regional high school and university students. Some of those class groups have invited us to give presentations on the PTGA project so students can ask questions and learn more about the research and background material that went into the development of the PTGA musical.
Conrad Askland, composer of Pray the Gay Away® the musical gave one of these presentations to students of the Western Washington University Department of Sociology in their class “Women, Sexuality, and Society.”
“Women, Sexuality, and Society,” is an advanced class in the WWU Department of Sociology. Sociology is “the study of the development, structure, and functioning of human society” and “the study of social problems.”
In early focus groups on the PTGA project, participants told us that they wanted to better understand “the other side’s argument.” Many of the questions we’ve received about the PTGA project is exactly that; people not understanding how the “other side” could possibly hold their viewpoint. We base our beliefs on the information we operate by and people will hold different beliefs if they are operating on different information and experiences.
The PTGA project is not a documentary, it’s musical theater. There’s only so much information we can cover in an endless expanding group of topics related to the faith community and it’s interaction with the LGBTQ+ community. The PTGA project is a story that works very hard to present opposing views in an authentic and engaging way. Thank you to the Sociology Department at WWU for inviting us so we could go into some detail on the background research and information that informs the musical, Pray the Gay Away.