A conversation about conversion

Coming of age film addresses controversial societal practices


Photo courtesy of filmrise.com

Story by Salem Karr, staff writer

Short kisses in the back seats of cars. Quick glances around corners. Prayers about not being seen. This is the reality of many closeted teens, as well as the main character in the movie, “The Miseducation of Cameron Post.” 

Cameron Post is your average teenager: she listens to music, goes to church and attends high school dances with her boyfriend. This all changes when she is caught kissing her secret girlfriend, Coley, at prom. This causes her religious aunt and uncle to ship her off to God’s Promise, a conversion camp for “confused” teens.

Upon arriving at God’s Promise, Cameron meets Dr. Lydia Marsh and her brother, Reverend Rick. She is told that she is there to cure her “gayness” through prayer and therapy. Reverend Rick is the prime example that this camp truly does work for those struggling with same sex attraction, as Dr. Lydia Marsh states during one of their lessons. Throughout the movie, we see how certain Dr. Lydia is in her methods of correction and how she is sure that she will have positive results. On the other hand, we see Reverend Rick struggle in his attempts to reform his life after being “cured” from his sister’s treatment. We also see how the teenagers are afraid, annoyed with Dr. Lydia’s attempts to cure them and how they almost feel sympathy for Reverend Rick because of his past experiences with these treatments.

“The Miseducation of Cameron Post” offers us a glimpse into the harsh truth of conversion therapy and how it affects those who endure it.

— Salem Karr

Cameron meets fellow campers Jane and Adam, kids from families recently converted to Christianity. As these three suffer the horrible reality of conversion therapy, they struggle to accept themselves for who they are. They build a friendship as they try to make it through their stay at God’s Promise and confide in each other about their personal issues and identities. Jane was born to, as she describes “hippie parents” but her mom later married an evangelical Christian, and Jane was sent to God’s Promise shortly after. As for Adam, he was born into the Lakota tribe. This community recognized a third gender, but this became a problem when his father fell into politics and was converted to Christianity. These three bonded over these similar experiences. The three were sent away by their families for not following the rules of their faith and sought comfort in each other at their stay at the camp.    

“The Miseducation of Cameron Post” offers us a glimpse into the harsh truth of conversion therapy and how it affects those who endure it. Some people do not prefer to converse about conversion therapy and pretend that it doesn’t exist, but sadly it does, and is still legal in most of the country.

Conversion therapy is only illegal in fourteen states and Washington D.C. This is clearly a problem and demands attention to amend such wrongdoings. Conversion therapy causes kids and teens to undergo harmful treatment to fix something that is not broken. Many people suffer lifelong trauma after going through conversion and often turn to self harm. Hopefully, this movie opens up our eyes about this difficult issue and people realise that we need to take steps to change this accepted societal practice.

“The Miseducation of Cameron Post” is a brilliant coming of age movie that opens the viewers eyes to the cruel reality of conversion camps, and the struggle of teens subjected to cruel methods of “fixing” them. I definitely give this movie a five star rating and suggest it to anyone who wants a story that uses comedy and sadness to cause the audience to think about how our actions can truly affect others. The actions of parents and Dr. Lydia caused the teens put into the camp to think that they are awful, wrong and need to change who they are to be loved. These teenagers were sent to God’s Promise because they were different and their parents hated that, but “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” shows that this level of bigotry can have a long lasting and serious impact on those subjected to it. Hopefully, this movie impacts the audience to change how we treat  as well as gives them the message to spread love to others.