Abomination is a documentary focusing on sexual orientation conversion therapies (sometimes called “reparative therapy”). Conversion therapies have been criticized by mainstream mental health professionals for the harm they cause and for their practitioners’ overstated claims of success. Nevertheless, these “treatments” are increasingly being promoted to, and practiced by, conservative faith communities across the US. Abomination is a sobering counterpoint to the false hopes being marketed by the ex-gay movement.
Abomination focuses on four individuals for whom reparative or other ex-gay treatments have been unsuccessful: Nita, in rural Mississippi, who spent twenty years attempting to suppress her lesbian feelings; Dave, in New York City, who found the ex-gay community supportive but the “treatment” to be ultimately ineffective; Randy, an Arkansas minister who describes his difficult personal journey integrating a gay identity and religious life; and the tragic outcome for Mary Lou, an Arkansas mother estranged, on religious grounds, from her lesbian daughter.
Abomination also features prominent psychiatrist, Robert Spitzer, MD, who cuts through the media sensationalism and explains what his controversial research on reparative therapy actually means. It further features mental health experts who have studied and written about the ex-gay movement’s treatment failures, including: psychiatrists, Jack Drescher, MD, and David Scasta, MD and psychologist, Ariel Shidlo, PhD, as well as, the American Psychiatric Association’s James Scully, MD, and Annelle Primm, MD, explaining why mainstream, professional mental health organizations remain concerned about the harm caused by reparative therapies; the American Psychological Association’s Clinton Anderson, outlining the stance that mainstream mental health organizations have taken on homosexuality; and author, Wayne Besen, sharing his investigative findings of the ex-gay movement’s most prominent and sensational failures.
Despite the pain chronicled in this groundbreaking film, Abomination is a poignant testament to human resilience and to the sometimes difficult journey to self-acceptance.