STORY BY SIENNA RODRIGUEZ
PHOTOS BY ALEX JUAREZ
Us4U teamed up with faculty and graduate students from the Psychology Department to host a showing of the movie Boy Erased followed by an open discussion Thursday, September 19.
Boy Erased tells the true story of Jared Hedges, aged 19, who is outed to his parents. With a small-town Baptist pastor as a father, Hedges faces an ultimatum: join a conversion therapy program, or be permanently exiled and shunned by his family, friends, and faith. Boy Erased travels through the journey of a young man’s struggle to find himself while being forced to question his entire identity.
“We thought this would be a good film to show because it is based on a true story and with us being Us4U, we are open to everybody and we know that it’s hard for some people to endure this,” said Zoey Morris, president of Us4U. “We know people that have personally been through this kind of torment so we wanted to show something to get the word out that this is a thing, this is a problem.”
The event was held in an effort by Us4U and the Graduate Association of Students in Psychology, referred to as GASP, to bring awareness to conversion therapy, and why they do not support it. Dictionary.com defines conversion therapy as a “widely discredited practice that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
“This is not something people want to talk about, it’s something they want to sweep under the carpet and forget it’s there,” said Bailey Brown, treasurer of Us4U.
The event, though emotional, proved to be successful for those in attendance. With such heavy topics being covered, Us4U made sure to bring in the necessary resources with GASP and the pastor for Trinity Lutheran Church.
The first 48 people who arrived for the screening and discussion also received free tie-dyed tote bags with the slogan “All are welcome” plastered across the front.
Us4U considers itself a Reconciling in Christ community. According to reconcilingworks.org, these are communities that “have made a public commitment to welcome, include, and celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual people,” or LGBTQIA+.
The “Come as you are, serve as you can” motto Us4U embodies is to let people know they can help in any way possible.
“We may have a church affiliation but we still accept everybody, and the church accepts everybody,” Brown said. “We want people to feel comfortable, have someone to go to, somewhere to go to and talk to people, and to just feel welcome.”
Us4U holds regular meetings every first and third Tuesday of the month from 5 to 6 p.m. in Rarick Hall 366. Bible or book studies take place every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at the same time and place.