Rev. Manny Santiago was 16 when his parents forced him into therapy to change his sexual orientation.
“It was a lot of shaming,” the 35-year-old said. “A lot of shame about your body, about who you are and the constant threat of hell.”
Santiago is now pastor of University Baptist Church, a Seattle congregation that welcomes people of different backgrounds, including sexual orientation. He was living in Puerto Rico when he went through therapy, but said his experience can help lawmakers understand what a new bill could mean for gay children.
House Bill 2451 would prevent these kinds of therapies.
The House Health and Wellness Committee on Wednesday held a hearing for the bill, which prevents practices that seek to change the sexual orientation of a minor, including so-called reparative or conversion therapies and any other efforts to change gender expression or reduce sexual attraction to members of the same sex.