It sounds like it ought to be a relic of 17th-century puritanism, but gay conversion therapy is alive and well across the modern United States.
From Seattle to southern Florida, schools offering to help youngsters “pray the gay away” have resisted attempts at prohibition, forcing youngsters to disavow their homosexuality.
Opposed by authorities from the American Psychological Association to former president Barack Obama, these centres offer counselling, support groups and, in extreme cases, drugs, hypnosis and even surgery.
It is a practice that has gone under the radar to some extent, but a new movie on the issue starring Chloe Grace Moretz has been shocking audiences and delighting critics at the Sundance Film Festival.
“The [Trump] administration actually completely believes in conversion therapy,” Moretz said on the red carpet for Monday’s world premiere of The Miseducation of Cameron Post at the annual event in Park City, Utah.
“[Vice President] Mike Pence tried to get it state-funded when he was senator, so it is a very real problem.”
Moretz puts in what some reviewers are calling a career-best performance as the titular character.
“You know, 45 out of our 50 states in this country have it to be legal to practice gay conversion therapy,” Moretz added.
“And actually two weeks ago New Hampshire voted against banning it in their state.”
In the movie, Cameron is forced into a therapy centre by her conservative aunt and uncle, her legal guardians since her parents perished in a car crash.