Andrew Ramirez tells the inside story of Marcus Bachmann's "ungay" therapy
Ramirez went on ABC News "Nightline" to talk about Bachmann's clinic.
When Andrew Ramirez was 17 years old, he came out to his family. His mom and sisters accepted the news, but his stepfather didn't.
He forced Ramirez to go to therapy at Marcus Bachmann's clinic in Lake Elmo.
There, Ramirez had two sessions with a therapist who told him if he prayed hard enough, and studied the Bible, he would experience a miracle and no longer be gay. Now, Ramirez is speaking out about his experience.
"I want to let people know the kind of clinic that Marcus Bachmann runs," Ramirez said.
In Ramirez's first session at Bachmann and Assocites, the therapist asked a series of questions about his background. The counselor wanted to know if there were any unresolved issues from Ramirez's childhood that might have made him gay, like the fact that his parents had divorced and Ramirez grew up without a father figure.
Later, the therapist met with Ramirez's mom and stepdad. He told them he'd worked with gay and lesbian patients in the past, and had successfully turned gay and lesbian adolescents straight through Christian therapy.
At that point, Ramirez had only been on a few dates and had never had a serious boyfriend. Still, he knew he didn't need therapy.
"I thought there wasn't really anything to change about me," Ramirez says.
At the end of the second session the therapist told Ramirez to study the Bible, and pray for a miracle that would make him straight. When it was over, Ramirez's mom picked him up, and he talked to her as her car idled in the parking lot.
"Mom," he said, "I'm gay, and this is something I can't change. I'm proud of who I am, and I don't really want to go back anymore."
His mom agreed, and Ramirez never went back again. She divorced his stepdad soon afterward.
Ramirez, who went to the University of Minnesota for construction management and lives in Minneapolis, said he's pretty much always known he was gay and never felt ashamed about it.
Now, he's propelled himself onto a national platform, speaking out about Bachmann and his clinic in national media. He broke the story in The Nation, in a story that appeared last Friday.
Since then his phone's been ringing off the hook. So far he's talked to ABC News "Nightline," CNN, MSNBC and the New York Times. Ramirez feels compelled to talk about the way Bachmann's clinic wrongly uses shame, repression and condemnation of homosexuality.
Ramirez never met Marcus Bachmann himself, but thinks Bachmann is sincere in his spirituality.
"I'm sure Marcus Bachmann believes in his pray the gay away therapy," Ramirez said. "Many professional organizations have said this therapy has very little evidence of actually working."
Ramirez especially wanted to tell his story as he watched Michele Bachmann's arrival on the national political scene.
"If Michele Bachmann wants to be President of the United States of America, she needs to know gay and lesbian deserve the same rights as everybody else does," Ramirez said.
Ramirez, who is now in a long-term relationship, wants to get his story out to voters and Bachmann supporters, but also to teenage kids like him.
"I want people who are going through the same kind of situation as me to know that things will get better," he said.
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