Orlando gets a look at the harmful effects of conversion therapy in a special screening of ‘Pray Away’

A new documentary from Netflix called “Pray Away” takes a hard look at the practice of conversion therapy.

In a state that is actively banning drag, trans-affirming care and any kind of LGBTQ+ inclusivity in education, it’s not surprising to hear that conversion therapy is still perfectly legal in Florida. This debunked practice is harmful and potentially life-threatening to those that experience it.

“Pray Away” captures the experiences of survivors of the practice and highlights the harm and pain that many religious institutions have caused to the LGBTQ+ community. The impactful message of the documentary was something the film’s creator felt needed to be seen by many and given Florida’s outdated stance on conversion therapy, it especially needs to be seen here.

In an effort to bring attention to the issue and open a dialogue around the topic, several organizations including Audubon Park Church, Come Out With Pride, Department of Legal Studies – University of Central Florida, Hope Presbyterian Church at Lake Nona, Lutheran Counseling Services, Multitude Films and Renaissance Theatre have partnered together to bring the message to Orlando.

“Many religious communities have distanced themselves from overt conversion therapy, but unfortunately, more covert versions still exist,” says Shae Washington, impact producer of the film. “Faith leaders, clergy, trusted messengers and more than 20 local and national organizations are working to enhance LGBTQ+ dignity and inclusion and stop conversion therapy in all its forms through screening this film and mobilizing communities for change.”

The screening will be held at the Renaissance Theatre — located at 415 E Princeton St. in Orlando — on April 30, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. The program begins promptly at 7 p.m. and concessions will be available for purchase.

The screening is followed by a panel discussion featuring survivors of conversion therapy, mental health experts, LGBTQ advocates and faith leaders who will reflect on the themes of the film.

This is a free event but you are asked to RSVP at tinyurl.com/paorl.

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