He writes: ‘Meet my cousin Sarah. At 17, her future looks bright. She is in the top 10% of her class, runs cross-country and belongs to the National Honor Society and the debate team. She is also gay. Like any high school kids in a relationship, Sarah and her girlfriend wanted to go to prom together. But when they did that, Sarah’s parents, who believe that homosexuality is a sin and abnormal, sent Sarah away against her will to an East Texas Christian boarding facility for troubled teens to “pray away the gay.”
‘Not only does this type of “therapy” not work, mental health professionals from organizations like the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have found it to be psychologically damaging, especially for minors. And Sarah has been told that she must stay in this facility for a whole year. So instead of being surrounded by friends and extended family who love and support Sarah for who she is, she’ll be isolated in a place where the fact that she is gay is treated as a sin and an illness. Instead of preparing for college and competing in the state debate tournament, she’ll be doing forced labor every day and enduring Bible-based “therapy” for her “disease.”
‘She is not allowed phone calls or email or any form of computer communication. She is also not allowed visitors and cannot leave the property. She is completely cut off from the outside world. She tried to run away, but was caught by the staff and returned to the facility.
‘Sarah’s extended family and close friends are trying to win her release through the legal system, but it’s not cheap. Attorney’s fees in the first few weeks have already exceeded $20,000, and they are continuing to mount, with a full hearing set for July. Sarah needs your help. But this is about more than just one gay kid – if we free Sarah we can help show that it’s not okay to try to make gay teens straight by sending them away and using the threat of God against them.’
Since the campaign was launched, the parents of the girl have issued a denial that she was sent to the ‘school’ because if her sexuality, telling the Austin American-Statesman, ‘”My daughter would be heartbroken that she is being misrepresented this way”. In court documents, Sarah’s family says that she’s at the school to, “help her with issues of depression, self-harm, drug use, and behavioral issues.”‘
However, family law attorney Christine Andresen, of CHA Law Group, PC, who is the lawyer hired by Sarah’s aunt to help get her released, counters to People that, “I can’t comment on pending litigation, other than to authenticate that to the best of my knowledge, the background information on the GoFundMe shared by Sarah’s cousin is truthful.”