first opened up about her sexuality
in a touching essay for Teen Vogue
more than three years ago, but the time she spent grappling with her true self was fraught with difficulties.
Stoner, who is pansexual, spoke with Insider this week about her new memoir
, "Mind Body Pride
," and revealed that she briefly underwent reparative, or "gay conversion," therapy
sessions in the hopes of reconciling her sexuality with her religious faith.
“I felt like everything was wrong with me, even though I only wanted to be a devoted follower of God,” said the actor, whose credits include “Step Up
” and “Cheaper by the Dozen,” as well as Missy Elliott’s “Work
The American Medical Association
, American Psychological Association, and American Academy of Pediatrics have all condemned so-called conversion therapy, which seeks to end or reduce people
's same-sex attraction or sexual activity.
Stoner, who grew up in Ohio
, didn't go into detail about the conversion therapy sessions, except to say it was an "outpatient" program, but she said she still feels the pain of the experience to this day.
“My mind doesn’t want to even go there,” she explained to Insider. “My legs started shaking at the thought of reliving some of it.... It severs the mind-body connection because I see the body as something shameful, that is not to be trusted. It actually messes with my ability to foster genuine relationships
with others and myself, because now I’m suppressing a voice.
“The dangers are measurable,” she added. “Even if someone comes out on the other side and says, ‘Hey, no, I'm living a great life,' there are scars there. There are shadows. So, yes, I'm not capable of going back and recounting specifics, which is an indicator of how difficult that chapter was for me.”
Currently, 20 states in the United States
have passed legislation prohibiting licensed mental health
professionals from performing conversion therapy on minors, with Virginia
becoming the most recent to do so in 2020.
However, the controversial practice is still promoted, often by members of conservative religious groups. In 2019, the Williams Institute at the University
, Los Angeles
, School of Law
published a report that found 698,000 LGBTQ
Americans between the ages of 18 and 59 had undergone conversion therapy at some point in their lives.