Northwestern State University Student Government Association will host speaker Jonathan Davey to speak about his experience with LGBTQ conversion therapy on Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. via Cisco WebEx.
Davey said that redemption is something that God grants you, and explains the title of his speech, “Escaping Redemption”.
Davey said redemption is something he felt he could find for himself in God by admitting himself to conversion therapy, a form of therapy targeted towards LGBTQ individuals that attempts to “redeem” and “turn them back” to heterosexuality.
“I thought I needed to be someone else, and I had these people who were supporting me to be someone else through the religious aspect and these organizations that I was doing the conversion therapy through,” Davey said.
Logan Turner, current graduate student of psychology at NSU, said that he believes Davey’s openness and willingness to discuss this topic will have a powerful impact on the student body.
“We have so much access to one another, but the willingness to have dialogue with one another is so low, and, again, I think having that experience and being able to educate anybody on that experience is really beneficial,” Turner said.
“I think hearing Jonathan’s story will open the minds of students to having more understanding conversations around the LGBTQ community and create an open, accepting dialogue,” said Connor Donaldson, commissioner of academic affairs for SGA.
Nick Hopkins, student body president, also believes hosting Davey will be a positive thing for LGBTQ students on campus and that they will feel supported by the administration of NSU and the SGA.
“It’s right around National Coming Out Day, and hopefully it reaffirms the bravery of those who have come out and celebrates the courage of those who have come out and to give them the hope that they are not alone in dealing with this,” Hopkins said.
Despite NSU and the SGA putting on this event, some LGBTQ students feel that NSU could do much more in terms of LGBTQ acceptance and visibility and that being more openly accepting and supportive could mean improvement in the school’s numbers.
“Even if it’s just small stuff, I think it increases comfort which is really important. If students don’t feel safe at your university, they don’t want to come,” Turner said.
Anna Hatcher, a sophomore biology major, agrees.
“I feel like having people higher up that are actually able to come out and be like, ‘Yes, I am trans’, ‘I am this’ will give younger students that added benefit of ‘Oh, there’s somebody higher up that’s like me’, and that feels a little more comfortable,” Hatcher said.
“I personally like Maggio, I think he’s a great guy, but there’s definitely a lot more that can be done,” Hatcher added.