A 17-year-old East Texas girl identified only as "Sarah" recently declared her intention to take her girlfriend to prom. Instead, her religious parents decided to send her to a year-long gay conversion "camp" in rural Texas. This outraged the girl's extended family (plus, what kind of camp lasts a whole year?!) so they're taking action. And they've got thousands of Internet strangers on their side.
Sarah's cousin, UT San Antonio student Joey Jordan, started a GoFundMe page called "Save Sarah." The goal: to raise money for an escape attempt so they can bust her out of God Jail. Jordan's campaign is aiming to raise $100,000 for the hefty legal fees necessary to secure her release. In Jordan's own words:
Meet my cousin Sarah. At 17, her future looks bright. She is in the top 10% of her class, runs cross-country and belongs to the National Honor Society and the debate team. She is also gay. Like any high school kids in a relationship, Sarah and her girlfriend wanted to go to prom together. But when they did that, Sarah’s parents, who believe that homosexuality is a sin and abnormal, sent Sarah away against her will to an East Texas Christian boarding facility for troubled teens to “pray away the gay.”
Sarah is understandably struggling with this awful environment, which sounds like something out of a Soviet gulag:
Not only does this type of “therapy” not work, mental health professionals from organizations like the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have found it to be psychologically damaging, especially for minors. And Sarah has been told that she must stay in this facility for a whole year. So instead of being surrounded by friends and extended family who love and support Sarah for who she is, she’ll be isolated in a place where the fact that she is gay is treated as a sin and an illness. Instead of preparing for college and competing in the state debate tournament, she’ll be doing forced labor every day and enduring Bible-based “therapy” for her “disease.”
She is not allowed phone calls or email or any form of computer communication. She is also not allowed visitors and cannot leave the property. She is completely cut off from the outside world. She tried to run away, but was caught by the staff and returned to the facility.
Spread the word so being gay doesn’t mean losing freedom for Sarah. #savesarah.
Luckily, Jordan's campaign is working. After a write-up in the Houston Chronicle, which confirmed through Sarah's lawyer that the story is true, Jordan's campaign went viral on the Internet. In the days since the GoFundMe was launched on June 4, it's raised $40,000, and not a minute too soon. The legal fees have already reached $20,000, and are just beginning to mount.
Jordan pledges that any leftover money from the campaign will be used for a college fund for Sarah. So feel free to donate if you want to contribute to the future of this promising young woman. She'll need it after spending months in the Alcatraz of homophobia.