When I first heard the story of what was happening to Alex in St. George, Utah a few years ago, I could not believe it.
I’m from Utah, and I know it can be tough for LGBTQ kids there, but I had no idea that charlatans could torture and keep prisoner a young girl based on her refusal to deny who she was. Alex’s parents’ attempts to change her sexual orientation were wrong, misguided, and ill informed, but what makes Alex’s story—detailed in her book, “Saving Alex,” out March 1—so horrific is that virtually an entire town turned a blind eye to what was happening.
“Alex’s engrossing and shocking story is the triumph of courage, authenticity, and hope over shame, bigotry, and ignorance. This nightmare is a key reason we will soon succeed in ending the cruel and dangerous practice of conversion therapy.”
—NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell on “Saving Alex”
But Alex did not give up. She found a way to reach out to Paul Burke, a genius lawyer in Salt Lake City. Once Paul heard Alex’s story he worked tirelessly and creatively to get her out. Paul got NCLR involved and we helped as needed. I knew Paul would win release one way or another for Alex. But I honestly did not know if she would make it. I did not appreciate how strong and courageous she was.
She found a way out, Paul made sure she stayed out.
And now we must work to make sure that no one ever again has to endure what Alex did. Those who tortured her and the townspeople who abandoned her must live forever with their cruelty. But our commitment must be that no LGBTQ young person ever suffers for who they are.
In 2014, NCLR launched #BornPerfect: NCLR’s Campaign to End Conversion Therapy in five years. Learn more about #BornPerfect.