Special one day premiere screening of documentary ‘The Sunday Sessions’

Nathan attends a conversion camp from the film “The Sunday Sessions.” (Courtesy photo)

CFI Michigan and the Grand Rapids Pride Center are hosting a screening and panel discussion of the documentary film “The Sunday Sessions” on Wednesday, Oct. 11, in recognition of National Coming Out Day. The event will be held at 7 p.m. at the Women’s City Club, 254 E. Fulton St.


“The Sunday Sessions” is an intimate portrait of one man’s struggle to reconcile his religious conviction and sexuality. The observational documentary chronicles the turbulent journey of a devout gay man as he attends conversion therapy in hopes of changing his sexual orientation.


“The Humanist Magazine” proclaims “The Sunday Sessions” “succeeds in offering the viewer an intensely harrowing inside look at one of the cruelest forms of homophobia…”


Following the screening there will be a panel discussion focusing on the issues surrounding conversion therapy. Panelists include Larry DeShane Jr., Center Administrator at the Grand Rapids Pride Center, Matthew Clark, Clinical Psychologist at the Clark Institute and the Gay Christian Therapy Center, and Jennifer Beahan, Program Director at Center for Inquiry Michigan.


This event is part of a larger national campaign where select organizations from over 20 cities across the United States have also scheduled screenings of the documentary, in recognition of National Coming Out Day, in order to generate awareness, foster dialogue, and encourage action within each community.


Chris Doyle, a psychotherapist from Virginia who practices conversion therapy, meets with his client Nathan Gniewek. (Courtesy photo)

Controversy Over Conversion Therapy


Conversion therapy is the controversial, non-scientifically based process which aims to convert an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. Although it has been discredited by all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological and professional counseling organizations, it is currently legal in all 50 states for consenting adults; and as of July of 2017, less than 10 US states have banned the therapy from being practiced on minors.


There has been a recent groundswell of support to reconsider the legality of this “therapy.” Many state and local legislatures, as well as the federal government, are considering legislation to ban the therapy from being applied to minors. Additionally, in the past few years, several LGBTQ advocacy groups have been filing consumer fraud claims against therapists that offer conversion therapy services.


About the Film


“The Sunday Sessions” is an unflinching look at the underbelly of the controversial practice of conversion therapy. This is the first time a film crew was allowed ongoing and unencumbered access to shoot these secretive and controversial therapy sessions. The resulting film is a psychological drama that offers the audience a detailed glimpse into the surreptitious world of private sessions, weekend camps, and family therapy sessions.


For more information about “The Sunday Sessions,” including the film trailer and downloadable press kit, please visit thesundaysessionsmovie.com.


The event is free and open to the public and media is welcome to attend. Suggested Donation of $5. Event Details: http://www.cfimichigan.org/events/event/w-lecture-101117/