What does “Pray the Gay Away” mean?

The term “pray the gay away” is often used as a term to represent a belief that a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity can be changed through prayer. A large part of this belief system is the use of gay conversion therapy, often under the guise of different names like “gender reinforcement” or “identity dysfunction”. Our show, “Pray the Gay Away”, is a serious musical comedy that looks at many political, theological and cultural beliefs in the United States that have fueled both the growth and rejection of modern conversion therapy.

Gay conversion therapy is an approach that has been used for over a century worldwide, but the modern version of gay conversion therapy grew strength and continued to build starting in the 1980’s. Our show, “Pray the Gay Away”, is set in 1982 as we show the growing support for gay conversion therapy that comes into conflict with the growth of the gay rights movement (known today as LGBQT+ Rights).

Although our story is set back in 1982, the conflict still rages today. The goal of our show is to shine a light on this topic and bring everything to the surface so that audience members can see the effects conversion therapy has on individuals, the various belief systems that are still fueling it and why it is important to understand the devastating effects these practices can have.

Here are a few articles to get you started on the topics of gay conversion therapy and the belief systems that are referred to as “pray the gay away”.

 

GAY CONVERSION THERAPY

June 7, 2019 – Colorado Becomes Latest State to Ban Conversion Therapy for Youth – CNN

Gay Conversion Therapy’s Disturbing 19th-Century Origins

Conversion Therapy – Wikipedia

Born Perfect: The Facts About Conversion Therapy – National Center for Lesbian Rights

Why we still haven’t banished conversion therapy in 2018 – Washington Post

Is it possible to Pray the Gay Away? – Psychology Today

List of U.S. jurisdictions banning conversion therapy – Wikipedia

Washington governor signs ban on sexual-orientation conversion therapy – Seattle Times

 

CHURCHES

United Methodist Church strengthens ban on same-sex marriage, LGBT clergy – Reuters

Fractured after vote against LGBT clergy, weddings, United Methodists face possible split – CNN

Christians surprise Pride parade marchers with signs apologizing for anti-LGBTQ views – CBS News