Former Mean Girls star Daniel Franzese has opened up to Page Six about an experience when he was in his early twenties that led him to enter conversion therapy, trying to “convert” from being gay to straight.
Franzese was raised in a Catholic and Pentecostal family who he said “lovingly tolerated” homosexuality, and accepting parents, but he still felt like the world around him was saying that being gay “was not okay.”
This led the actor to meet with a conversion therapist recommended to his grandmother by her pastor when he was 21.
“I went to one-on-one therapy sessions with a person who was trying to change me straight and make me pray the gay away and alienate all my allies,” Franzese said. “And it was like a brainwashing thing.”
“They told me to tell my mom that my mom was the reason that I was leaning toward bisexual thoughts or whatever because she was so open. They made me come out to my mom, who was literally like my best ally, and say, ‘It’s your fault.’”
That confrontation led to a falling out with his mom that lasted for two months, in which the two didn’t speak at all.
Eventually, Franzese realized that the therapy was nonsense.
“I was, like, scared. And [my therapist] was like, ‘What are you afraid of?’ And I was like, ‘I’m afraid I’m gonna go to hell.’ And he was like, ‘You can be s-ing a d, and the second coming of Christ could happen, and you’re not gonna go to hell if you love God. That’s not what it is.’”
That’s when his therapist revealed that he “used to be gay” and was now married to woman. That’s when Franzese thought “you can’t ‘used to be gay’ and walked out the door.
Since then, Franzese says his relationship with his mother has only gotten stronger. Franzese currently co-hosts the podcast Yass, Jesus!, which is described as “a faith and sexuality affirming comedy podcast that believes you don’t have to pick between gay and God.”