Conversion Therapy Is Dangerous and Deadly. How Is It Still Legal? - 2020-05-19
Last December, 24-year-old Alana Chen died by suicide in Boulder, Colorado. According to Alana's family, Alana wanted to be a nun as a teenager, and she volunteered to receive conversion therapy counseling from both a reverend and a therapist from Catholic Charities' Sacred Heart Counseling after coming out as a lesbian in 2013.
"(The church) told her it was a mental disorder," Alana's mother, Joyce Calvo-Chen, told Colorado Hometown Weekly. "And that it could be fixed and changed, and she could be 'saved.' They told her it was a mortal sin to be thinking of other women." According to her mother, the church members Alana spoke with about her sexuality asked her not to tell anyone, including her family, about her attraction to women, and, instead, that she should attend confession.
As Alana told The Denver Post in an August 2019 article about the harmful effects of conversion therapy, "The church's counsel is what led me to be hospitalized [for self-harm in 2016]. I've now basically completely lost my faith. I don't know what I believe about God, but I think if there is a God, he doesn't need me talking to him anymore." (A spokesman from the Archdiocese of Denver has denied the church's use of conversion therapy on Alana.)