We’re learning a bit more about the crazy pray-away-the-gay camp where Supergirl actor Jeremy Jordan’s cousin was being held. According to reports, it’s called Heartlight Ministries Boarding School in Hallsville, Texas, and it’s “a destination for teens to heal and grow.”
Uh huh. Grow crazy and resentful, maybe. As we all know, ex-gay camps are nothing short of abuse and snake oil, with no evidence that they actually work. (There is of course lots of evidence that they employ hilariously insane phony “treatments” that actually cause harm.)
Jeremy’s cousin Sarah apparently tried to escape from the facility shortly after being locked up, but guards caught and punished her according to a GoFundMe page. In Texas, 17-year-olds are considered adults but the law allows them to be forced into boarding facilities until they turn 18.
Sarah was released yesterday, according to an update, but little is known about her condition.
Here’s what we do know: Heartlight Ministries’ website says that it founded in 1988 by Mark and Jan Gregston. Mark is a notorious homophobe, saying bullshit like “I understand homosexuality is a very sensitive issue for many people. But as Christian parents, we cannot be afraid to get involved in this ongoing discussion. Your teens are hearing from the culture about homosexuality. But what are they hearing from you?”
On their website, Heartlight confirmed that they had an inmate who was getting a lot of media attention, and denied that they do any ex-gay treatments. But they also call homoexuality a sin, and there are extensive reports of the girl fighting with her parents over her sexuality. What we’re probably looking at is a camp that doesn’t necessarily specialize in ex-gay abuse, but instead just berates kids with general homophobic rhetoric. Either way, it’s incredibly cruel.
The Texas GOP recently added a plank to the party platform that defended ex-gay torture treatments, and a bill to outlaw the practice is expected soon. It’s chances of succeeding in the generally homophobic state aren’t great, but maybe high-profile cases like this one will improve the likelihood of passage.