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Due to the support LDS LGBTQ+ members currently need, this interview discussing the harms of reparative/conversion therapies will be co-released with Mormon Mental Health and is available at no charge. Natasha Helfer Parker interviews James Guay, a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who grew up as a pastor’s son in an evangelical community and went through reparative therapy as a young man to try to change his sexual orientation. They discuss the harms that LGBTQ+ people face in homophobic environments, which often includes religious and family systems that claim they are loving and accepting, and conversion therapies. They also touch on resources and strategies that families, ecclesiastical leaders and individuals themselves can tap in to in order to prioritize mental health and general wellbeing.
James Guay is an LGBTQ Affirmative Psychotherapist in West Hollywood, working primarily with LGBTQ youth, adults and couples since 1996. Besides co-leading annual workshops for gay men at Esalen in Big Sur, California, he also films frequent psycho-educational videos on topics such as coming out, communication skills, and creating boundaries. The James and Heather Show
James testified in the California State Capital successfully advocating for them to ban the psychologically abusive practice of Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) on LGBTQ youth by licensed therapists. His passion is to prevent other LGBTQ people from having to endure the harms of religious homophobia and conversion “therapy” that he had to survive. James has served on the Board of Directors for Gaylesta (The LGBTQ Psychotherapist Association), AAMFT-CA (The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, California Division) and is currently on the Board of Directors for CAMFT (The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists).
Resources mentioned during the podcast:
Families are Forever Documentary
Mormon Spectrum: LGBTQ Resources
Ending Conversion Therapy: Supporting and Affirming LGBTQ Youth
My Hellish Youth in Gay Conversion Therapy and How I Got Out
Exodus International Shuts Down
Thank you to Jeff Meyers for the intro and Peter & Mary Danzig of Otter Creek Duo for the concluding bumper music.
Natasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT, CST, CSTS can be reached at natashaparker.org and runs an online practice, Symmetry Solutions, which focuses on helping families and individuals with faith concerns, sexuality and mental health. She hosts the Mormon Mental Health and Mormon Sex Info Podcasts, is the current past president of the Mormon Mental Health Association and runs a sex education program, Sex Talk with Natasha. She has over 20 years of experience working with primarily an LDS/Mormon clientele.