Punching, Burning, Electrocuting And Stabbing Your Gay Son Will Probably Not Make Him Straight

Meet Samuel Brinton. At age 12, he proudly bragged to his Southern Baptist missionary father that he didn’t feel the same sinful lust that the other boys felt when looking at a contraband Playboy magazine, though he did feel that way when thinking about his best friend Dale. Immediately Sam’s father began punching him and eventually sent Sam to the hospital six times for “falling down the stairs.” He then subjected Sam to conversion therapy that involved freezing, burning and “the Month of Hell,” in which his parents drove needles into his fingers and electrocuted him every time they showed him gay porn.

Sam, who now attends Kansas State University, is probably the most understanding (or hopelessly optimistic) ex-gay therapy survivor in the United States, as he still tries reaching out to his dad even though his father wants Sam to have nothing to do with his younger siblings and has threatened to shoot him if he ever comes home again.

We’re happy Sam is still alive despite his torture and that he has offered his story to “I’m From Driftwood” to help those who have been horrifically abused for their LGBT identity. For any parent who thinks that treating their child like a Vietnamese war prisoner might make them straight, it doesn’t work—unless you consider this a shining example of heterosexuality.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #conversiontherapy #ex-gaytherapy #reparativetherapy stories and more


  • Adam

    Why is that family not in jail, or facing the death penalty?

  • Opheliac

    @Adam: Because the world sucks, plain and simple.

  • Chujek

    I wouldn’t call them parents, just breeders or breathing incubator

  • Michael in Toronto

    Love Samuel’s resilience and strength and goodness.

  • dvlaries

    ‘Anything can happen when human beings allow ideology to trump their humanity, when they elevate an idea above the lives of individuals.’ Anna Quindlen was talking about 9/11, but this is the same mentality. Faith becomes insanity when religious dogma is a tool to pervert what should be the protective, life-long love from parent to child. My same-sex partner and I have been together 35 years and his mother and mine call us ‘sons.’ I think I owe each, a fresh, grateful ‘I love you’ today…

  • Spike

    @Adam: Because most christian conservative republicans see nothing wrong in the ‘parenting’ described by this young man. In fact if this matter was to be included in a question at the next republican debate, you would hear applause from the audience.

  • Ogre Magi

    Typical christian crap

  • Little Kiwi

    thank GOD for this young man sharing his story. This is far more prevalent than people want to believe – I have met so many people over the last few years who have stories like this. Outright abuse all because they’re gay. It makes NO sense whatsoever.

    I hope this video makes its way to only Sam’s family, but every single person that KNOWS Sam’s family. Extended family, neighbours, community members. They need to be aware of the abuse that his monster of a father has perpetrated. And to be honest, child-protective services should be called. How do we know the younger siblings aren’t being subjected to similar abuse by the father, in hopes of “preventing” in them what he sees in Sam?

    I’m moved by his video – but I think action should be taken against the family. Immediately. Sam’s not been home, I think a call to authorities is necessary to ascertain the wellbeing of his younger siblings.

  • Pamela Perkins

    Samuel I applaud Your Courage. To thine own self be true. I feel sorry for Your parents because every moment they spend away from You is Their loss. People fear what they don’t know. I am a lesbian and grew up with very old fashioned parents. When I was younger I was more angry about any injustices having to do with the gay community. I still detest injustice of any kind. I came/ have come to realize that alot of it is ignorance. Seriousley. If ” some ” people had all the facts, They would feel differently. Everything in the world is not black and white, Some people cannot see this. I disagree with fear based old religion which causes problems in itself;However, I am spiritual and always reflect back to the fact that Jesus was beaten and stoned for his beliefs/ teachings but never backed down from his faith. We ( Family ) must not ever back away from Our faith either. I’ve always been a very strong women and although My parents were old fashioned it never stopped Me from being Me. Try not to take personally the treatment You get from Your parents and remember ” They can only work with what they have “. I’ve also learned that sometimes things can’t be fixed/pushed/manipulated by human hands. This is so true. Time, The universe and someone more powerful than us will deal with the situation. Just continue being Samuel and be Proud of that !!!!……P.S. My favorite prayer in the world is the Serenity Prayer. It has helped Me so many times in My life. As long as we remember what we can change, And what we can’t change, We have astounding clairity…..You already have the courage……..:-)

  • mrsieben

    That’s soooo messed up on so many levels.

  • Travis

    The father needs to be slapped with abuse, torture, and threatening someone with a deadly weapon charges! Flattly no excuse for this treatment of your child. Discusting…and all in the name of God! How dare the state allow this guy to keep his other childern…and if the mom didn’t try to stop it she should be brought up on the same charges.

  • DJ Veno

    People need to realize YOU CAN’T HELP Who U LOVE.. Once people get this in their damn heads thing will get better, I hope.

  • Chad

    A part of me wants to get in my car, drive over to the “parents” house and BEAT THE LIVING SHIT out of the mother fucker and that lame ass excuse of a mother. This story needs to make National News and those sick fucks need to be persecuted!!!

  • Bryan

    Maybe it’s me not caring much about family values. But why do people who have been bashed in such cruel ways by their parents still feel some desperate need to reach out to them? Honestly, I think when you’re a certain age, you should be able to say f**k you to whatever your parents think if they can’t accept you for being gay. I seriously cannot imagine being tortured by my dad in such a way and then still wanting to have any kind of relationship with him or even forgive him, it just wouldn’t work.

    I guess some people must love their families waaay more than I love mine.

  • Jesper

    Gotta love the I’m from Driftwood guys!

  • B

    No. 8 · Little Kiwi wrote, “thank GOD for this young man sharing his story.”

    He’s unfortunately not sharing it with the one person he should – the district attorney.
    His parents deserve to be tried by a “hanging judge” – someone who likes to dole out the maximum sentence allowed by law – even if he’s exaggerating by a factor of two!

  • nicholas

    OMG, Samuel, you rock. To come through literal torture and still be a sane, sensible and sociable person is amazing. You are an inspirition, and your story is one I’d like to see on Oprah or Tyra or any other major talkshow. It probably would never reach the kids being converted, but it *might reach the ears of the parents putting them through it.

  • lemon-lime

    @Little Kiwi:
    @Pamela Perkins:
    You guys pretty much summed up my thoughts on this. What utter despicable, evil, evil people. I hope the wrath of God rains down upon his parents for what they have done to their own blood. They need to be prosecuted for torture. I cannot believe that after all that happened to him he still wants to forgive them. That, to me, is evidence of the true heart of God.

  • Chipsy

    @Adam: Why is that family not in jail?

    He invented the perfect victim story to impress a bunch of activist types he met in college? This video was made over a year ago and nobody has tracked down his family for their side of the story. It doesn’t add up.

  • Opheliac

    @Chipsy: …Seriously? I hate this mindset; it’s the reason why we live in an abuse and rape culture. Maybe you should start believing the victim rather than the abusers.

  • Shannon1981

    Most conversion therapy involves some kind of physical abuse. When I went, they’d make us pray naked on stone floors, show us photos of naked people of the same sex and shock us if we had a physical reaction, and, once, they even held us i freezing cold water, heads and all, forcing us to admit that we are sinners and deserve to burn in hell. For whatever reason, conservative Christians around the country and world labor under the delusion that this will make their kids straight.

  • Shannon1981

    I truly hope this young man is able to move past the desire to associate with these people. He is amazing to do what he has done and come through this alive and mentally stable. Hats off to you, Samuel. It gets better.

  • Another skeptic

    @Chipsy: Thank you, Chipsy. He claimed that his father’s abuse sent him to the hospital six times. So no mandatory reporter turned him in? No one in the ER questioned this? It’s possible, but my first reaction to this story was skepticism.

  • Dorothy

    @Bryan: This is nothing to do with love, it’s about a victim/abuser dynamic.

  • Dorothy

    @Another skeptic: It’s possible he told hospital staff that he “fell down the stairs” or “walked into a door” rather than saying he was abused, which is also typical of abused people afraid to ask for help.

  • Dorothy

    @Shannon1981: I am so sorry that that shit happened to you. You seem like a very articulate, together person (on the basis of one comment, I know, I’m making assumptions-don’t mean to be rude or patronizing.) I hope that you are OK and think that your ability to speak about what happened so clearly is a gift that will help other people deal. Thank you.

  • Dorothy

    @Chipsy: Oh, there’s a shocker. His family wasn’t willing to speak in public about their abuse of their gay son? Holy shit, that hardly ever happens! Quit blaming the victim, asshole!

  • Chipsy

    @Another skeptic: He claimed that his father’s abuse sent him to the hospital six times.

    In another interview he did for the Driving Equality Project he claimed it was seven times.

  • Chipsy


    Hospital staff are fully aware that victims of abuse say stuff like “I fell down the stairs”. And why won’t he report his father now?

  • lawton

    You are totally correct. There have been several investigations and all have shown Samuel’s story is fabrication. There are No records at all in the Florida hospital where he said he was taken. There are many holes in his story if one merely takes the time to follow through them all. Not sure why the invention of these stories comes out or why subject others to such scrutiny when there are so many true stories to connect to and promote equality through

  • Dorothy

    What’s bothering me, and ” forcing” me to make smart-ass remarks (which I do stand by) is that people in this community seem more interested in discrediting this kid than speaking about the larger and more important issues at hand. Even if this kid is lying, it remains important to keep shit like “the converting” of gay kids on the front burner and in the cold, clear ugly light of day. This is so important, yet we nit pick and demand answers for questions that are not really important, in the big scheme of things. Many victims of abuse NEVER have the courage to speak out, and to attack the ones that do speak just makes the problem worse. Chipsy, I am very sorry that I called you an asshole-not cool on my part. People, can’t we just love one another and get along? :)

  • Shannon1981

    @Dorothy: Thank you. Honestly? I can’t hear hymns(especially “Jesus Loves Me”) without having flashbacks. I have an almost irrational hatred of organized religion, and haven’t set foot in a church in 15 years besides weddings and funerals, and don’t intend to. I tried to overcome it all by dating a girl who was Baptist, but when she brought home a 3 foot plaster Jesus and said our home would be a house of the Lord, I snapped and threw her out. I don’t do well in friendships with religious people. So, yeah, I am still terrified of religion. I usually deal with that by mocking it, but…the underlying issue is that it is responsible for my personal hell.

    I am a LOT better than I was in what I call my Lost Years- when I was on drugs, tried dating a man, in and out of mental hospitals,etc. But one cannot expect to come away from such an experience unscathed.

    Also, I am inclined to believe what he is saying to be true. This story mirrors the many, many, stories of conversion camps. It adds up perfectly to me, and I think I can speak with more authority than those on this thread who did not go through that.

  • B

    No. 31 · lawton wrote, “@chipsey You are totally correct. There have been several investigations and all have shown Samuel’s story is fabrication. There are No records at all in the Florida hospital where he said he was taken.”

    Since hospital records are supposed to be confidential, exactly how did someone determine that there are no records? Presumably the police could obtain records, but the police would only do that if someone filed a complaint, and the police would not release hospital records to the general public.

    I’ll note the lack of any citation for Lawton’s statement as well. Until some real proof is altered, I’ll assume that Samuel is being libeled by these characters.

  • B

    No. 31 · lawton wrote, “@chipsey You are totally correct. There have been several investigations and all have shown Samuel’s story is fabrication. There are No records at all in the Florida hospital where he said he was taken.”

    Since hospital records are supposed to be confidential, exactly how did someone determine that there are no records? Presumably the police could obtain records, but the police would only do that if someone filed a complaint, and the police would not release hospital records to the general public.

    I’ll note the lack of any citation for Lawton’s statement as well. Until some real proof is offered, I’ll assume that Samuel is being libeled by these characters.

  • the crustybastard

    @lawton: “There have been several investigations and all have shown Samuel’s story is fabrication.”

    I found none. By all means, provide a couple of links to reputable media investigations.

    PROTIP: OneNewsNow and Christwire not reputable.

  • Devon

    The story is over the top. Although it is possible that it is true, I don’t buy it. Dorothy basically admits that she doesn’t care whether it is the truth or not b/c there is the “larger issue” to consider. No way. You do not support lies. Ever. Nothing would be better for the anti-gays in the world to have gay people supporting bogus stories that they know to be suspect. And legitimizing shams would be an act of disrespect to those who suffer real abuse.

    As to the story itself, it is a big red flag that he does not name the therapist. Why keep it secret? That therapist could be torturing kids right now. Why not stop him?

    It is also not credible that he could be knocked unconscious for 20-30 minutes (the time to get him to the hospital) with a single blow and have no police investigation ensue. To have this happen 6 times is too much to believe. Also, if the therapist was using aversion techniques, why tell him the ridiculous lie that all gay people are dead or dying of AIDS and that he is the only gay person left in the world? It serves no purpose, it is easily exposed as a lie, and when exposed, it would destroy the trust between patient and therapist. It makes no sense. Just as it makes no sense that a budding nuclear engineer would not know how to go on the internet and read more about how all the gay people in the world died off. And who has ever heard of a conversion therapist using this technique? Even the really nutty ones like Richard Cohen (the guy who has you beat a pillow and denounce your mother) doesn’t use anything like what Brinton describes. Show me a link to just one conversion therapist who uses a bogus AIDS story like this as part of therapy and I will reconsider my skepticism.

  • Dorothy

    @Devon: I do not think it’s OK to lie about abuse, though I understand why you thought that’s what I was saying-when I’m all up on my hinds legs ranting I don’t make myself clear. I’m a victims’ rights advocate, so I get that lying undermines the cause and should never be an option. What I was trying to say is that instead of being nit picky and deconstructing and discrediting victims’ stories, we should give them the benefit of the doubt and support them. If someone is lying, we’ll find out sooner or later.

  • Seaguy

    His parents should be rotting in prison for child abuse. And he should disown his evil parents and make their life hell anyway he can.

  • Shannon1981

    @Devon: and others- to use how “over the top” the story is to discredit it is to underestimate the power of religious nutjobs and what they do. I went through this, and have sent my story to Wayne Benson, as well as posted it about it on various pro gay boards to get the word out that these people do terrible things. While, no, nobody ever told me there were no gay people or any bogus story about AIDS(other than the common one about God sending AIDS to kill off the gays), much of what he says is very believable to me. I assure you every word I have posted regarding this issue is true from personal experience, and I urge you all not to be too quick to write this kid off as a liar.

  • Bryan

    @Dorothy: Could you explain what that is? Is it like a case of domestic abuse where the man hits the woman, but she keeps going back?

  • Dorothy

    @Bryan: Yes, I think so, based on personal experience and the people I work with. Abuse erodes self-esteem, and when the abuser is a parent, the ultimate authority in young peoples’ lives, it takes a huge amount of courage to report abuse. Typically, gay kids also deal with religious indoctrination pushed onto them by parents, not to mention shaming and being made to feel dirty and evil. Minor kids don’t really have many places to go for help, so they are basically trapped in hellish no-win situations. The longer a person is stuck in that ugly trap, the worse they feel. People get ground down to nothing all too often and it’s tragic how many commit suicide due to other peoples’ bigotry. Again, there are too few resources for at-risk gay kids, which is why I get all rabid and ranty when “pro-gay” sites such as this, that gay kids look to for help, indulge in victim-bashing-way to make someone comfortable about getting help! Got to be all about the love, yo?

  • jason

    I want to know why Samuel Brinton’s father wasn’t charged with child abuse.

  • Little Kiwi

    this really should be addressed to the authorities. his abuse was criminal. and we don’t know that his other siblings are not also being abused. plenty of parents have abused children to “stop them from being gay” – it’s documented.

    this NEEDS to lead to charges.

  • Not An Obot

    Remember, a few months ago, the story about the college student who was allegedly “gay bashed” on campus? We all sympathized with him and were outraged at the authorities who would allow such things to happen. Turns out it was a lie. The little self-serving scumbag should be shunned by our community for the rest of his life. Pigs like him do more damage to the credibility of real victims than anyone. I hope this is a credible story and it gets the attention it deserves, but we all must still remain objective.

    ———from “How to Detect Lies and Spot a Liar Without a Lie Detector”———–

    How to detect a liar? How to catch a liar without high tech equipment such as a lie detector? You need a good eye, good ear and a healthy skepticism.

    ?People tend to touch their nose and scratch their face when they lie.
    ?Follow their eyes, liars tend to blink a lot and cannot maintain eye contact.
    ?Check their smile, people who are telling the truth tend to use many facial muscle but liars just smile with their mouth.
    ?Pay attention to details, liars tend to provide more information than necessary, they are being overly specific when they are making things up.
    ?Change conversation subject, if they are overly relieved then it may be a sign of lying.

    “When Bill Clinton testified about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, he touched his nose every four minutes when lying, but rarely touches his nose when telling the truth. Blood pressure goes up when a person lies and otherwise feels anxious, angry or upset, which causes a tingling in the nose. People will often lightly touch the underside of their nose, by the nostrils, to satisfy this itch. This touching is quicker and gentler than the more deliberate, vigorous, repetitive rub to satisfy a typical itchy nose. It may occur several minutes after the lie, when the attorney is speaking with another juror.”

    See the link below for the rest of the article:

  • Pat Duffy

    While he MAY have fabricated HIS story, what he stated isn’t that unusual, esp. in Conservative regions.This story was pretty tame compared to the experiences of some at my college’s GLBT support group. As for the absense of DHS reports, as a (now) Retired Nurse not every Worker considers Parental “discipine” Child Abuse…esp. for “heinous” behavior such as stealing from the Collection Plate, “Talking Back” and admitting you like boys instead of girls(Fundies don’t care what women think so the “Lesbian Thang” is mostly ignored except at marrying time…)….

  • Joe

    @Dorothy: Dorothy, some of us ‘nitpick’ about the truth because we like to act out of knowledge and not some knee jerk reaction. Did it happen or not? If it happened the way Samuel says then his parents need to be punished for abuse; if not, then Samuel needs to be punished for lying.

    I agree that conversion therapy and abuse in general need to be aggressively pursued, but falsely accusing someone of abuse is not the answer.

  • Dorothy

    @Joe: Joe, you still don’t get it. I don’t care, for instance, if a victim of abuse has gone to hospital six or seven times-not going to get picky over the NUMBER of visits-the important thing is that if someone SAYS they’ve gone to hospital due to injury from abuse, I believe what they say is true, unless, of course, their story is completely outlandish. I’m not an idiot or a reactionary, and deeply resent being called one. If someone says they’ve been abused, it’s our job to help. Very few people make false claims of abuse. I don’t get why you guys are so eager to discredit victims. Of course I don’t know what happened-I wasn’t there. Neither were you. QUIT THE VICTIM BASHING!!!!!IT SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!And don’t call me names. I will cry.
    For the last time, I do not condone lies, false accusations, bullshit, fake stories, untrue words, kind of half-assed tales of any kind. I DO advocate continuous and unrelenting support of victims, many of whom have few places to go for help, and who have to be incredibly strong to ask for help in the first place. What the hell is wrong with you people?

  • Joe

    @Dorothy: ” I’m not an idiot or a reactionary, and deeply resent being called one.” I didn’t call you either but you seem to think I did which is a bit reactionary, no? I think you made my point for me.

    We should help those who HAVE been abused and not simply those who SAY they were abused.

  • Kieran

    Probably not the smartest move to be a 12 year old boy and tell your Southern Baptist missionary father that you weren’t at all turned on by the naked girl in Playboy but you’d really like to see your best boy buddy nude. Most of us knew by age 3 that the culture didn’t approve at all of boys showing a fondness for other boys.

  • Dorothy

    I was interested in this site as I thought it might be a helpful, proactive place where ideas, suggestions, stories were exchanged in the interest of helping gay kids and their parents cope in a difficult world. Instead, I find myself attacked constantly, and that others are more interested in dicrediting victims than in helping. Fifteen of the twenty clients I had over the last two years, all of them gay kids, were physically abused at least twice in that period. Five of them started to cut themselves. Two of them are dead, one by his own hand, and one was shot by his brother, on the prompting of his father. Before anyone dares make any smart-ass, cruel comments about how crap an advocate I must be if my kids are doing so poorly, think-I work in a very dangerous part of a very dangerous city, where staying plugged in to a client for more than six months is a fucking miracle. Joe, I don’t have time to play games with my kids, and I don’t have a long time in which to check back stories. I’m lucky to see the same kid twice; these kids are working the streets in one way or the other and most don’t stick around for long. So yeah, I do take what these kids tell me at face value, because if I can get the talking maybe I can get them inside for a meal, and maybe they’ll stay in our shelter for a night, which means maybe I can get them to de-tox, and get the twelve year old pregnant my her bio dad some help. Maybe. So fuck yeah, lie to me, because if you’re lying you’re talking, and that’s the in I need. Anyway, any other questions?

  • nangidkram

    Same sex relationships are relationships. Back off with the hate.

  • Shane

    These parents needs to be punished to the fullest extent for torture. Who in there right mind would torture there child like this? CHRISTIAN Fundamentalists ARE the TRUE BULLIES!! NOT once does “your God” tell you to be VIOLENT to ANY PERSON! This world is filled with loving, nurturing, respectable and intellectual GAY people. FREE TO BE WHO YOU REALLY ARE!!

Comments are closed.