Anderson Cooper | Matt Salmon | News

Matt Salmon: 'Gay Reparative Therapy' Helped Me Meet Guys - VIDEO

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Matt R. Salmon, the gay son of Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), sat down with Anderson Cooper on Friday night to talk about his father, who has spoken publicly of his opposition to same-sex marriage, and his mother, who worked on an anti-gay constitutional amendment in Arizona, about his love for them.

Ac_salmonI posted a brief segment on Saturday but here's the full version. Anderson asks Salmon if his parents would be okay with meeting somebody he was dating, and also about his experiences with gay reparative therapy.

SALMON: "Looking back I don't regret it. The goal was to become straight. And it turns out what I took away from it was an increased confidence...A big part of it was really teaching me to make relationships with straight men because that would help me to kind of take on this straightness and so it really helped me actually learn how to talk with men and..."

AC: "It helped you meet guys."

SALMON: "Yeah, yeah, it did."

AC: "I think your doctor right now is spitting up his coffee."

Salmon says that it was his decision to begin reparative therapy (he was 18 at the time he says) but he is very happy now that he is gay and he hopes talking about it will help others in his situation.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. He seems like a young man who's gone through some troubled periods - I hope things work out for him.

    Posted by: Fahd | Apr 15, 2013 7:06:48 PM


  2. Wishing him well. I pray for guys like him, and families like his. When we speak truth through loving relationships, hearts and minds are changed.

    Posted by: Lars | Apr 15, 2013 7:12:52 PM


  3. OK, I'm gonna say it..... disgusting.
    I have very conservative parents who told me they wished I were dead instead of gay. They also told me if they ever found out I was seeing a guy, they'd "throw me outta the house."
    And I love them still, as they have done other good things for me. So I get the complexity of loving a complex person(s), and going past somethings.
    But ANY suggested, inferred, or even somewhat confused endorsement of reparative/conversion therapy is and SHOULD BE verboten- if one is openly and happily gay.
    Yeah, if you have a genuinely good counselor with horrible, albeit good, intentions and ideas, there might be some general behavioral and/or social interaction techniques that one could pick up. But one could also get that from a healthy, affirmative, knowledgeable counselor, and a whole lotta other things!!!!
    Sorry, kid, there a lot of us gay kids who love their very conservative as well- you're not an anomaly or unique. That's called being human. What you are tho- is an attention/fame-seeker. And I frankly can't wait til everybody stops interviewing you becuz you're not offering anything insightful to the conversation, but what you are doing is making it ok in the minds of other conservatives that it's ok to treat your gay kids like sh*t, cuz they'll still love you no matter what, and gay conversion therapy isn't bad or harmful in the least.And I kno it is- I've been through it.
    And THAT IS a bad message. So be brave, go back to doing what you did before, and love your family without any media attention.

    Posted by: scott | Apr 15, 2013 7:15:04 PM


  4. Anderson came up with a pretty good reply on the fly for such a bizarre and weird statement.

    Posted by: Yeek | Apr 15, 2013 7:16:17 PM


  5. Imagine how many more guys he could meet if weren't a self-hating tool.

    Posted by: Skeptical Cicada | Apr 15, 2013 7:19:03 PM


  6. It's also a bit weird for this guy to be saying that now that 53% of the population supports gay marriage, everyone should be okay with it. Civil rights are not a popularity contest.

    Posted by: Yeek | Apr 15, 2013 7:19:22 PM


  7. Well,bless his heart.

    Posted by: greenfuzz | Apr 15, 2013 7:19:55 PM


  8. Greenfuzz-are you from the south? ;)

    Posted by: Grover Underwood | Apr 15, 2013 7:25:45 PM


  9. The one thing I found particularly disturbing is that not only did he help proof read an anti-gay bill, but he had no problem doing so because he was on the road to being straight. Something about that really makes me not like this guy for some reason. It's like the height of selfishness to not even have empathy for a group of people that you belong to regardless of the fact that you are trying to disassociate with that group.

    Posted by: JP | Apr 15, 2013 7:26:11 PM


  10. Hopefully there will more productive therapy in this young mans future, he's gonna need it.

    Posted by: jsb | Apr 15, 2013 7:48:41 PM


  11. He's adorable!

    Posted by: Ben | Apr 15, 2013 7:50:45 PM


  12. FOLKS -- IT'S MORMONITY! DON'T TRY TO APPLY LOGIC TO IT

    If the parents came around on marriage..
    --- The dad would lose his House seat, and the mom her political positions
    --- The family, including the siblings and their children, will be at least partly ostracized in the local mormon community, meaning their lives go upside down.

    THEY CAN'T GO AGAINST THE CHURCH
    It is based on marriage and reproduction. Nowadays, mormons are being nice to Gays, because they want them to stay in the church and marry heterosexually anyhow

    Posted by: Bob | Apr 15, 2013 7:54:35 PM


  13. Most likely scenario: parents held a financial incentive over his head forcing him to waste all those years of his life.

    Hopefully they have not created a latent-self-loathing-homophobic individual. Only time will tell!

    Posted by: BRAINS | Apr 15, 2013 7:59:40 PM


  14. Oh whatever. I wish him the best. At least he's not like that other Mormon on youtube who came out and is promising his friends and family that he'll be celibate!

    Posted by: marco | Apr 15, 2013 8:04:41 PM


  15. "Hopefully they have not created a latent-self-loathing-homophobic individual. Only time will tell!"

    Stop hoping. Time has already told, as that interview made perfectly clear. Definitely not a Gay role model.

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Apr 15, 2013 8:05:55 PM


  16. It's his religious and cultural environment that forced him to seek therapy. He was conditioned from a young age to believe that only a straight family life is the correct way. In fact Mormon theology clearly states that a straight marriage with children is the one and only way to reach the highest level of heaven. Never mind the general pressure to conform and obey in Mormon culture. Any dissent and difference is squashed.

    Posted by: Steve | Apr 15, 2013 8:18:08 PM


  17. I found this sad that Matt had to find repartive theraphy okay because he was able to meet guys? Come on.

    Also, it's fine for that his parents do not accept his sexuality, because he can still be "Happy" ugh! Love, acceptance and support be the goal. I hope more parents are liberal and affirmative!

    Posted by: Ric | Apr 15, 2013 8:29:12 PM


  18. I found this sad that Matt had to find repartive theraphy okay because he was able to meet guys? Come on.

    Also, it's fine for that his parents do not accept his sexuality, because he can still be "Happy" ugh! Love, acceptance and support be the goal. I hope more parents are liberal and affirmative!

    Posted by: Ric | Apr 15, 2013 8:29:12 PM


  19. I really wish this guy would stop making rounds on the news.

    Make no mistake, he's not a bad guy, I don't 'hate' him as he seems to classify everyone who criticizes him. But I don't know what he's talking about half the time, he's not articulate, he doesn't seem to know the answers or have them figured out beforehand, etc.

    And as for the reparative therapy part... I'm happy this kid got out of the awful, awful grasp of Mormonism before it shattered him anymore, or brainwashed him into a hateful tool bucket like Ty Mansfield, or a sad freakazoid like Joshua Weed who thinks being married to the equivalent of his mom is 'true love'- BUT when you kinda... Defend? Defend reparative therapy, and say that you were grateful for it- you're going to piss people off, for good reason.

    It is an objectionable fact that the majority of people who combat their sexuality, who can't reconcile it with the religion they were forced growing up, are not okay people. They are not well rounded, they are not emotionally stable, it perpetuates shame and self-hate and it wrecks lives, and even causes people to emulate straight lives in 'mixed-orientation marriages'(excuse me while I vomit uncontrollably).

    If he's reading this, and I hope he does, I want him to know that I don't hate him. But you're giving a lot of support to movement's that don't need it, and that you probably would agree that you don't want to further. I wish Matt would stop going on television, he's making an ass out of himself but he's just not bright enough to realize it.

    If everyone's sending you messages criticizing you it might because there's a valid point, or two, or three.

    Oh, and his mother is a wretched, wretched, wicked 'lady'. What an awful human being to ask her son to do what she did. What an awful, awful excuse for a parent.

    I mostly just feel for him.

    Posted by: Cecilfirefox | Apr 15, 2013 8:42:01 PM


  20. His passiveness may be hard to grasp for most gay people, but I think his story can help a lot young gay Mormons who are experiencing right now what he went through.
    He says that "reparative therapy" didn't work and that he's happy being gay and wants to marry (a man) one day. The fact is, a lot of Mormon parents are not going to give up their beliefs because of their children coming out. Sad but true. At least he's saying they can still be happy & be openly gay. What more can we really ask of him?

    Posted by: marco | Apr 15, 2013 8:42:02 PM


  21. Exgaywatch.com's Daniel Gonzales has said the same thing repeatedly (look on YouTube for his video "Ex-Gay Therapy Doesn't Work, I Tried It"), that one positive of ex-gay therapy was its emphasis on demystifying straight men. A lot of gay men are phobic of straight men for various reasons. Ex-gay therapists assume that this phobia is a cause of men's homosexuality rather than an effect of it, which it is.

    Posted by: Kyle | Apr 15, 2013 8:59:25 PM


  22. It's so sad to hear that he didn't feel comfortable with himself and that he wanted to change. However, it sounds like he has found the "silver lining" of what was probably a very traumatic period of his life, and now he wants to share his experiences to others facing similar challenges. Good for him.

    Posted by: MuscleModelBlog.com | Apr 15, 2013 9:07:15 PM


  23. Hopefully he gets therapy to overcome ther real evil in his life: Mormonism.

    Posted by: Chicklets | Apr 15, 2013 9:14:48 PM


  24. @marco

    Matt isn't passive. He left passive a long time ago. He has revived the Arizona chapter of Log Cabin Republicans and is actively promoting their meme that anti equality isn't bigotry.

    He was 'a little disappointed' that the RNC bowed down to the religious right and hate groups to pass a national republican platform calling for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

    Sick that during conversion therapy he adopted 'this straightness' to help him be able to relate to men.

    Matt needs to hear that the things he says while doing these appearances cause harm.

    Posted by: JONES | Apr 15, 2013 9:16:12 PM


  25. So much ire foisted upon a still very young man who was brought up in freak-show the likes of which most of you could never imagine! Way to blame the victim.

    I guess we should amend the "It Gets Better" Campaign with the caveat that if you're publicly seen struggling to come to grips with realizations that many of us had the luxury of working out for ourselves in private over the course of many, many years . . . we won't help things get better for you. In fact, we will toss you to the wolves.

    Posted by: FFS | Apr 15, 2013 9:17:44 PM


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