In the US alone, over 698,000 people have been subjected to the often deadly practice known as Conversion Therapy.
In 2018, filmmaker Zach Meiners discovered that his former conversion therapist was still practicing. Struggling with the trauma of his own experience, Zach began an endeavor to amplify and empower the voices of survivors, and expose the secretive and often deadly practices of conversion therapy.
CONVERSION takes us on the cinematic and personal journeys of 5 survivors from the US and Canada, as they move through the mental and physical harms of conversion therapy, and find the hope and strength to fight against it.
Conversion therapy has become an underground industry, constantly rebranding, adapting, and growing. In discussions of conversion therapy, survivors are often left out of the conversation. And the most vulnerable members of our community, children, are left without a voice, choice, or pathway out of the trauma being inflicted on them. Ultimately, CONVERSION is a story of survival and hope.
In 2018, I got a call from my mom asking me about my conversion therapist. Though it had been over 10 years since my parents had put me into conversion therapy, the memories instantly came rushing back. I was shocked to learn that he was not only still practicing, but that a family friend was sending their child to be cured for being gay. Conversion therapy nearly destroyed my life, and I knew I had to do something. So I began reaching out to other survivors, and as a filmmaker, it became clear that I had to begin sharing their stories and take a hard look at the underground world of conversion therapy and ex-gay ministry. Ultimately, “Conversion” is a story of survival and hope.
Elena Joy Thurston
Elena Joy Thurston is an inspirational LGBTQ+ speaker, trainer, author and founder of the nonprofit Pride and Joy Foundation - which is dedicated to building self-awareness and safety for LGBTQ families and their allies. Elena goes by the pronouns she/her.
Dustin Rayburn is an entertainer and activist, best known by their stage name Dusty Ray Bottoms. Dustin's story of going through conversion therapy first came to prominence while on the Emmy Award winning show "RuPaul's Drag Race." Since then, Dustin has used their platform to support organizations both in the US and abroad, including The Trevor Project and The Amandla Development. Dustin goes by the pronouns they/them.
Matt is a part of No Conversion Canada, which worked to end conversion therapy in Canada. He has appeared on various media outlets speaking on this issue, including communicating with politicians to make Canada a safer place for LGBTQ2+ people. Matt recently spoke at the House of Commons in Ottawa about how introducing Bill C-4 protects queer and trans folks. Matt uses the pronouns he/him.
Zach Meiners has been finding creative ways to tell stories since he learned to talk, having directed his first feature before the age of 21, for which he won a student Emmy Award. Since then, Zach has gone on to become an accomplished director, producer, and entrepreneur as the founder and president of Chronicle Cinema.
Zach has worked with politicians and community leaders in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights, and continues his commitment to amplify queer voices and put and end to conversion therapy. Zach uses he/him pronouns.
Sam Brinton is one of the world’s leading advocates for LGBTQ youth. They are the founder of the 50 Bill 50 States campaign to end the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy, first in the United States and then around the globe. As a survivor of conversion therapy, Sam has spoken before the United Nations and Congress as well as testified on legislation from coast to coast to protect LGBTQ youth mental health across the country. They have been featured in numerous media including multiple New York Times op-eds as well as The Washington Post, Playboy Magazine, and TIME Magazine. Sam uses they, them, or theirs as their pronouns as a genderfluid person.
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A full service media and production company with clients all over the world, Chronicle Cinema holds a wide range of expertise, including: brand films, feature films, drone cinematography, animation, and virtual event production.
Learn more at www.chroniclecinema.com