Morrison & Foerster recently hosted a screening of Boy Erased, a coming-of-age film set in Arkansas that tells the story of a small-town pastor’s courageous son, who is pressured to undergo “conversion therapy,” also known as “reparative” therapy, which has been described by The Atlantic as “controversial mental health practices intended to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.” That same Atlantic article goes on to explain that these therapies are “ineffective and often drive participants to depression, anxiety, drug use, or suicide.”
Held on Nov. 29, 2018, at the AMC Empire 25 theatre in New York City’s famed Times Square, the screening was preceded by a reception, and was introduced by Erica Richards, Of Counsel in MoFo New York’s Business Restructuring & Insolvency Group.
“Unfortunately, reparative therapy is still a frightening reality for many in the LGBTQ+ community, who often enter these programs at the insistence of community leaders, counselors, and loved ones,” Erica informed the audience. “According to a recent survey by the Williams Institute at UCLA, which studies sexual orientation and gender identity law, nearly 700,000 LGBTQ+ adults in the United States have gone through conversion therapy, and an estimated 57,000 LGBTQ+ teens will undergo treatment before they turn 18.”
Conversion therapy is still legal in 41 states. The treatments often are not licensed or bound by any state regulatory bodies.
In addition to serving as a much needed educational tool about the dangers and prevalence of conversion therapy, Boy Erased is receiving widespread critical acclaim.
“The movie is very powerful and well-acted. It deserves all the Oscar buzz it is generating,” said James E. Hough, a New York-based MoFo litigator who serves as a partner-sponsor to the firm’s Affinity Group and who, among other pro-bono work, has assisted with gay marriage legalization efforts in Japan.
“It was wonderful to see former MoFo colleagues who are now firm clients show up for this event,” Jim added.
Over the past year, MoFo Affinity Groups across the country have hosted a series of movie screenings to help emphasize the importance of diverse storytelling and representation, including screenings of movies like Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians. These movies are all extremely powerful films that reflect the rich diversity of experiences and perspectives within our communities and all help to create far more inclusive representations both in film and public dialogue.
The MoFo Foundation will be donating $2,000 to the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which has taken a leading role in combatting conversion therapy with its “Born Perfect” campaign.
To learn more about MoFo’s diversity initiatives, please visit the firm’s diversity page on mofo.com.