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Kevin Bacon wants to help end conversion therapy.
The 64-year-old actor was horrified when he began researching the practice – in which emotional or physical therapy is used to try to stop or suppress someone from being gay, or from living as a different gender – for his new movie ‘They/Them’ and is keen to raise awareness of the horrors is can cause.
As a result, a new campaign has been launched through his charity, SixDegrees.org to raise funds to support Born Perfect – a scheme from the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which works within the legal system to keep LGBTQ+ people safe – and to end conversion therapy altogether as at present, more than half of the US’ LGBTQ+ population lives in a state which has not outlawed the practice.
Kevin hopes to raise at least $50,000 with the initiative and to “spread awareness of these practices and shine a light on Born Perfect, which is looking to dismantle any legitimacy they have.”
To date, more than $20,000 has already been raised through a raffle for a premiere experience with the ‘Footloose’ star.
Kevin reflected on how he first came across the “dumb” practice.
He told People magazine: “I remember thinking this is not only dumb it’s hurtful. To put anyone — especially a young person — through such a shameful, painful process when there is no chance of it working is terrible. Why? Where’s the threat? Why is anyone else’s sexual orientation your problem?”
The veteran actor thinks the “timing is really good” for his new horror film, which is set in a conversion therapy camp, and he was inspired by the rest of the ‘They/Them’ cast.
He said: “While I was really in the head space of the character, there was also a part of me that was feeling very moved by the fact that here was this group of our future, of young people who identify in all different kinds of ways, who have come together and are going to be represented in this film in hopefully a way that they haven’t often been in the past.
“People need to be left alone to be who they are. To love who they want to love and marry who they want to marry. That is the backbone of a strong and peaceful society.”
The film’s executive producer Scott Turner Schofield – the first trans man to be nominated for an Emmy award – praised Kevin for taking a stand.
He said: “It’s really meaningful that he would choose to help raise awareness about the abuse that LGBTQ+ youth face in so-called ‘conversion therapy’ because the reason why it’s still happening at such a large scale is because there is so much silence about it.”