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“What my mother didn’t yet know about being gay in the South was that you never ran out of material, that being secretly gay your whole life, averting your eyes every time you saw a handsome man, praying on your knees every time a sexual thought entered your mind or every time you’d acted even remotely feminine—this gave you an embarrassment of sins for which you constantly felt the need to apologize, repent, beg forgiveness.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir
“You cut out what was once dear to you, ignore the ache in the back of your throat, erase the details you want to forget.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir
“Love, over time, could either blossom or wither, become a source of wonder or a remembered ache.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir
“With each passing day at the facility, it seemed as though becoming straight was simply a matter of good lighting, of ignoring what you didn’t want to see.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir
“But love was always moving, always pushing us forward—always in action—and we often had no choice but to submit to where it lead us.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir
“There is a mystery in this, a minor apocalypse somewhere between what these two men once knew of themselves- a holding on to something that, in turn, refused to let them go- and I long to know it, like the old prophets.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family
“Sometimes it was what you left unsaid or undone that drew you into a state of wonder.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir
“When I first read the Harry Potter books and learned about the lightning bolt scar on Harry's forehead, I thought, Of course. Of course love worked that way. Of course it left its mark on the beloved. This secret mark protected you, kept you safe from harm, reminded you of who you were. All it took was the smallest symbol and you were safe. As I grew older and discovered my love of literature, I externalized the markings, wrote them down in my Moleskine, kept my notebook close - so much so that when the LIA counselors took away my notebook years later, they took away much of this protection. But they didn't take all of it. The empty pages still carried ghosts.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir
“I came to therapy thinking that my sexuality didn’t matter, but it turned out that every part of my personality was intimately connected. Cutting one piece damaged the rest.”
Garrard Conley
“Masculine meant strong. Masculine meant straight. If we could only learn the essence of what it meant to be masculine, then we could learn the rest.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir
“What did it feel like to not have to think about your every move, to not be scrutinized for everything you did, to not have to lie every day?”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir
“This affliction is what makes me smarter. This disadvantage is what gives me my ambition.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family
“It seemed one talisman had activated the other: Mark’s number taught me that there were secret loves crouched and waiting in the last place you would likely go searching for them. What was Jesus’s compassion anyway but some well-crafted graffiti on the corridors of history, an invitation to follow Him into the most unlikely places? Love could come to you even in a room that seemed drained of it.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith and Family
“Many of the other hundred or so denominations that comprised the Baptist spectrum often quibbled about what could or could not be permitted within the flock, with some churches taking these issues more seriously than others, subjects like the ethics of dancing and the pitfalls of non-Biblical reading still up for discussion. “Harry Potter is nothing more than a seducer of children’s souls,” a visiting Baptist preacher once told our family’s church. I had no doubt that my LIA counselors would also shun any mention of Harry Potter, that my time spent in Hogwarts would have to remain a private pleasure, and that I had entered into an even more serious pact with God by coming here, one that required me to abolish most of what had come before LIA. Before entering this room, I had been told to cast aside everything but my Bible and my handbook.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir
“Naming something beautiful made it so. I'd seen this in the way the church spoke of marriage as a sacred institution and in the one man plus one woman bumper stickers people sported on their vehicles. The same ones my father would hand to any customer passing through his dealership service department.

Naming something ugly had a similar effect. The sound of my mother's vomiting the night she drove me home had taught me this lesson better than anything else ever had. I was gay, had been named as such, a fact that once ingested had to be immediately expelled.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family
“Cutting away my roots and the people I loved would transform me into a shell of the person I once was, an automaton stripped of all its gears.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir
“The chorus of voices will grow each year, revealing decades of pain, decades lost, families torn apart, relationships ruined because people outside the ex-gay world can never understand what we patients went through”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir
“What my mother didn’t yet know about being gay in the South was that you never ran out of material, that being secretly gay your whole life, averting your eyes every time you saw a handsome man, praying on your knees every time a sexual thought entered your mind or every time you’d acted even remotely feminine—this gave you an embarrassment of sins for which you constantly felt the need to apologize, repent, beg forgiveness. I could never count the number of times I’d sinned against God. If I wanted, I could fill out a new MI every night for the rest of my life.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir
“LIA was telling me on a daily basis that a loss of self meant a gain in virtue, and a gain in virtue meant I was drawing closer to God and therefore closer to my true heavenly self. But the means to that end—self-loathing, suicidal ideation, years of false starts—could make you feel lonelier, and less like yourself, than you’d ever felt in your life.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith and Family
“Estaba allí por decisión propia, a pesar de que mi escepticismo fuera cada vez mayor, a pesar de que en secreto deseara escaparme por la vergüenza que sentía desde que mis padres habían descubierto que era gay. Había invertido demasiado en mi vida actual como para dejarla atrás; tanto en mi familia como en el Dios que había conocido desde que era pequeño y que cada vez veía más borroso.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family
“Estaba harto de hacer preguntas sobre cómo había acabado en aquella situación, de buscar otras respuestas, otras realidades, otras familias o cuerpos en los que podría haber nacido. Cada vez que me daba cuenta de que no había otras alternativas, me sentía peor por haber preguntado. Ahora ya estaba listo para aceptar las cosas tal y como eran.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family
“nuestras historias sonaban sorprendentemente familiares. Todos nos habíamos topado con ultimátums que no existían para otras personas, condiciones que no suelen imponerse en el amor entre padres e hijos. En un momento dado, nos habíamos tenido que enfrentar a un «o cambias esto o si no…»: si no, nos quedaríamos sin hogar, sin dinero, excomulgados, exiliados. Todos habíamos tenido miedo de caer en el olvido; a todos nos habían contado historias para advertirnos de los adictos a las drogas o al sexo, de personas que terminaban muriendo sumidas en la agonía del sida en los bajos fondos de alguna ciudad de la Costa Oeste”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family
“El miedo a la vergüenza, seguido del miedo al infierno, era lo que realmente impedía que nos suicidáramos”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family
“Para entonces ya me había familiarizado con la jerga exgay, pese a que me había impresionado bastante la primera vez que la vi en la página web del centro, cuando descubrí que era muy probable que la homosexualidad que había estado intentando ignorar durante la mayor parte de mi vida estuviera «fuera de control» y que podía acabar liándome con el perro de alguien si no me curaba. Por absurda que parezca la idea en retrospectiva, por aquel entonces no tenía mucho más en lo que basarme. Era tan joven que no había tenido más que algunas experiencias fugaces con otros hombres.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family
“Often, it felt like a small victory to realize that another point of contact had lost its hold on me. I was in control of how quickly I lost the weight, and it felt good not only to feel the past leaving my body—all that fat like rings of a trunk now narrowing, disappearing—but also to see the shock on people’s faces, the lack of recognition at first glance, the double take. I was a different boy.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir
“Fui a terapia pensando que mi sexualidad no importaba, pero descubrí que cada parte de mi personalidad estaba estrechamente conectada. Eliminar una parte perjudicaba a las demás.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family
“I nodded along with the others. The ex-gay lingo had by now become familiar to me, though it had come as a shock when I’d first read it on the facility’s website, when I’d first learned that the homosexuality I’d been trying to ignore for most of my life was likely “out of control,” that I could end up messing around with someone’s dog if I didn’t cure myself.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir
“I’m sorry, ma’am,” the receptionist said. “Only clients allowed in the back. Security reasons.” “Security?”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir
“Trauma has made dark what was once painfully clear”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family
“If I didn't say too much, if people didn't notice me, then I might also escape God's roving Sauron eye.”
Garrard Conley, Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family

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