Indya Moore is thriving today but didn’t have it easy growing up. As they revealed in their Elle feature in June — when they were the first person of trans experience to cover the magazine — there was a lot of violence in those early years.
Now Moore has indicated that they were also exposed to conversion therapy.
“I don’t really remember having any friends at 14 years old and I didn’t have that much freedom either,” the Pose actor said in a feature appearing in i-D’s Post Truth Truth Issue. “I came out to my mom at that age, and our relationship shifted drastically. She told me it wasn’t normal to be gay and suggested taking me to the Kingdom Hall to meet with a few elders — one of them apparently ‘used to be gay’ — to initiate a form of conversion therapy.”
Conversion therapy is a widely debunked and discreted practice where practitioners attempt to change a subject’s sexuality or gender. Methods vary from encouragement to “pray the gay away” to counseling and even torture. There is an ongoing effort, spearheaded by organizations like Born Perfect and The Trevor Project, to outlaw the practice. Eighteen states, D.C., and Puerto Rico, have banned conversion therapy, although those laws generally apply to minors.
Conversion therapy has been linked to increased rates of suicidal ideation, as well as depression. Increasingly, several practitioners who have undergone the pseudo-treatment themselves, have since come out against conversion therapy denouncing the practice.
Moore also said that at 16 they began hormonal therapy — many identify as gay or lesbian before fully understanding their gender — and found respite in a parent-teacher coordinator who provided maternal support.
“She was everything,” Moore said. “She celebrated my identity, introduced me to voguing, wrote poetry with me and took me to my first Pride, but my parents eventually cut me off from her. They didn’t trust anyone who supported my queer identity.”
As a result of that separation, as well as the dissolution of their relationship with their family, Moore said they “still suffer from that loneliness and the lasting pain of that loss.” They pushed to survive that trauma and survive they have. Now Moore stands as a vital model of representation — and success — for other teens who may be going through similar situations today.
Nearly 700,000 youth and adults in the U.S. have been subjected to conversion therapy at some point in their lives.