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Alyson Stoner Said Her Conversion Therapy Experience Is "Legitimately Difficult" To Talk About

"My legs started shaking at the thought of reliving some of it."

Posted on July 1, 2021, at 7:47 a.m. ET

Performer and actor Alyson Stoner is opening up about her "legitimately difficult" and "dangerous" experience with LGBTQ conversion therapy.

Gary Gershoff / Getty Images

In 2018, Alyson came out as a member of the LGBTQ community in an essay for Teen Vogue, in which she said she is "attracted to men, women, and people who identify in other ways."

In the essay, Alyson wrote that she had gone to therapy after falling in love with a woman in order to "identify the source of [her] attraction."

"Like many, I had internalized some of the harmful beliefs and misconceptions about LGBTQ people and identities," she said.

"My faith at that time played a large role in every aspect of my life, and my worldview neither supported nor accepted same-sex relationships," she continued. "I prayed in turmoil nightly, begging to be healed from these desires. Certain pastors and community members tried to reverse and eliminate my attraction to her."

Now, in an interview with Insider to promote her new book Mind Body Pride, Alyson is opening up about her experience with what she refers to as an "outpatient version" of conversion therapy.

Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic for DCP

The 27-year-old, who now identifies as pansexual, told Insider that she sought therapy because she felt "stuck," "wretched," and "like everything was wrong with [her]."

Michael Kovac / Getty Images for Annenberg Space for Photography

"I, in my heart of hearts, only desired to be a devoted follower of God," Alyson said. "So to hear from people you trust, from people you respect, from people you might even aspire to become, that you at your core are 'rotten,' 'abominable,' that the devil has a target on your back..."

"It just sends you into a spiral," she said. "At least for me, because I just wanted to do the right thing."

Alyson went on to say that while she has worked to understand her pastors' views were a result of a specific "environment and time period," her experience with therapy is still "legitimately difficult" for her to discuss.

"My mind doesn't want to even go there," the Step Up star admitted. "My legs started shaking at the thought of reliving some of it."

Presley Ann / FilmMagic

"I know firsthand how dangerous it is for me, as someone who had access to therapy and other forms of support," Alyson continued. "And I still was considering whether my life was worth living or, if everything was wrong with me, then what good was it for me to be around?"

"It severs the mind-body connection because I see the body as something that is shameful, that is not to be trusted," she said. "It actually ends up messing with my ability to foster genuine relationships with others and myself, because now I'm suppressing a voice."

"I [was] trying to change something that is what I now understand very natural," Alyson said.

"The dangers are measurable," Alyson said of conversion therapy. "Even if someone comes out of it on the other side and says, 'Hey, no, I'm living a great life,' there are scars there. There are shadows."

"I'm not capable yet of going back and recounting specifics," she said. "Which is an indicator of just how difficult that chapter was for me."

Read Alyson's interview with Insider in full here.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.