Netflix’s “Pray Away” reveals the horrors of conversion therapy and the religious right’s attack on LGBTQ+ rights.

Image: Courtesy of Netflix

Through the testimony of former leaders in the “ex-gay” movement, Netflix’s “Pray Away” exposes the horrors of conversion therapy and the religious right’s concerted effort to attack LGBTQ+ rights in the United States. In telling the stories of both former leaders and survivors of conversion therapy, “Pray Away” reveals the turmoil and manipulation inflicted on LGBTQ+ people by members of the Christian community and religious conversion therapy organizations like Exodus International and Living Hope.

As the film explains, conversion therapy is a harmful and ineffective practice that aims to change a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation. It can cause…


Texas Republicans passed a bill removing MLK from the state’s public school curriculum

Image: Robert W. Kelley/The Life Picture Collection via Getty Images

For months now, Republican lawmakers have been weaponizing the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a feeble attempt to justify their misguided crusade against critical race theory. Quoting the same line from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, conservative politicians like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA) have boldly and falsely claimed that the late civil rights leader would have rejected or disapproved of critical race theory because it “goes against everything [he] has ever told us, don’t judge us by the color of our skin.”

Now, however, King himself has become the latest target of the GOP’s…


Conservatives are trying to prevent students from learning about America’s racist past (and present)

Image: Terry Laban/In These Times

Over the last several months, white conservatives have launched a concerted effort to prohibit the teaching of critical race theory in public schools across the country. What once started off as incoherent rabble rousing has now grown into a full-blown culture war. Thanks to the likes of Fox News host Tucker Carlson and conservative activist Christopher Rufo, the propaganda and moral panic over critical race theory has spread like wildfire, mobilizing angry parents to protest and bombard local school board meetings and advocate for “patriotic” education.

As a result of this panicked frenzy, conservative lawmakers have either introduced or passed…


And it’s inherently destructive

Image: MarketWatch Photo Illustration/Istockphoto

During a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday, Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pushed back against criticism from Republican lawmakers that the military’s efforts to understand and reduce white extremism is “woke.”

Responding to several lines of questioning from Reps. Matt Gaetz and Michael Waltz about the teaching of critical race theory and white supremacy in the military, Milley gave an impromptu and impassioned speech about the importance of understanding the driving forces behind violent acts of extremism, much like the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6.

“I do think it’s important, actually, for…


Pride was born in opposition to injustice and police violence

Image: Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

Last month, New York City’s Pride organizer, Heritage of Pride, announced that it would be banning the presence of uniformed police officers from its events for the next three years. In response to this announcement, the New York Times Editorial Board declared the move a serious “misstep” and chastised the organization for its “politicized response,” as if this was the first time that politics and Pride had ever intersected. But Pride has always been political, especially when it comes to the police. In fact, Pride was born in opposition to the police and the unjust system they so ruthlessly enforced.


Conservatives are introducing bills across the country that would limit the teaching of racism and slavery

Image: Alexa Hernandez/The Reporter

Conservative lawmakers are spearheading a nationwide effort to whitewash American history and suppress freedom of speech in public schools and colleges across the country. Republicans have introduced bills in more than 15 states that would drastically limit discussions of race in the classroom and would effectively prohibit any mention of white privilege and white supremacy.

A majority of these bills specifically target topics like slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow laws, referring to them as divisive and inappropriate for children. …


Joe Rogan thinks straight white men are being censored by “woke” culture, but he couldn’t be more wrong

Image: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

During a recent discussion on his podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience,” former television personality Joe Rogan falsely claimed that straight white men are losing their right to speak freely. Despite being paid more than $100 million to share his opinions with millions of listeners around the world, the podcaster lamented that he is being silenced by “cancel culture” and the “woke” mob.

“You can never be woke enough. That’s the problem,” Rogan said in the middle of an interview with comedian Joe List. “It keeps going further and further and further down the line. And if you get to the…


No one loves cancel culture more than conservatives

Image: iStock/Getty Images

For the past year, conservative outrage over “cancel culture” has been used as a cudgel to avoid criticism and fan the flames of the GOP’s manufactured culture wars. From the renaming of the Mr. Potato Head brand to the innocuous use of the term “birthing people,” conservatives have become experts at generating fake outrage to stoke fear among their base and incite moral panic.

Republican commentators and politicians have used this alarmism over “cancel culture” to drum up hysteria over non-issues and portray themselves as victims of the “woke” mob. This has become such an effective tool in the GOP’s…


Republicans are simply repackaging their decades-long opposition to social justice.

Image: iStock/Wikipedia Commons

In the midst of eating their own and pledging their undying loyalty to former President Donald Trump, Republicans are keeping themselves busy by waging a fake culture war on cancel culture and the “woke left.” Not a day goes by, as of late, where Fox News anchors and their congressional sycophants aren’t generating fake outrage by lying to their audience about toys and children’s books or parading around so-called victims of “cancel culture.” While this is not a new phenomenon, the language being used to describe it is.

Republicans are once again co-opting the language of progressives and people of…

Catherine Caruso

Freelance writer covering culture, politics, and LGBTQ+ rights. catherineann.caruso@gmail.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store