Actress Alyson Stoner currently identifies as pansexual, and in her new book Mind Body Pride reveals the traumatic experience of undergoing gay conversion therapy as a teenager.
Speaking about her book with Insider, the former Disney Channel star recalls feeling such confusion over her sexual identity after falling in love with a female that she agreed to the controversial practice.
“I felt stuck. I felt wretched. I felt like everything was wrong with me, even though I, in my heart of hearts, only desired to be a devoted follower of God,” Stoner 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 because of your position in Hollywood… it just sends you into a spiral, at least for me, because I just wanted to do the right thing.”
However, the actual therapy proved to be so traumatic that, years later, she still finds it “legitimately difficult” to talk about.
“My mind doesn’t want to even go there. My legs started shaking at the thought of reliving some of it,” Stoner admitted. “I know firsthand how dangerous it is for me as someone who had access to therapy and other forms of support. 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, starting to see myself as someone who only brought harm to other people to society.”
Looking back, she sees that the dangers of conversion therapy are “measurable. 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,” she said. “So yes, I’m not capable yet of going back and recounting specifics, which is an indicator of just how difficult that chapter was for me.”