Three Memphis, Tenn., TV stations report on a hearing Feb. 3 between Love In Action and the State of Tennessee. A survivor of the inpatient youth program LIA/Refuge spoke outside the hearing.

From WREG-TV in Memphis, Tenn.:

A 17-year old Georgia boy says he was handcuffed by his parents and brought to Love in Action in Memphis. “You can’t talk to anyone, can’t look anyone, can’t contact anyone, except a counselor,” former Love in Action client DJ Butler makes the religious ministry sound more like a prison than a counseling center for gay men and women.

“They shame you, put you down, call you stupid, you know, tell you the feelings your feeling is stupid,” says Butler. … Butler says he was given prozac during his stay. “They said they don’t do that but they did it.”

From WMC-TV:

Today, 17-year-old D.J. Butler walks the streets of Memphis free. That wasn’t the case last October after his parents found out he was gay.

“They were treating me like they didn’t want me anymore,” Butler said. “I ran away. They ended up finding me, and put me in handcuffs, and taking me to Memphis.”

Butler said his parents forced him to take part in the Love in Action’s Refuge program aimed at teens. The program is designed to teach teens to resist gay feelings.

Love in Action says their program is welcoming and loving, but Butler said it was just the opposite.

“I was told that God loves me but he only loves me when I’m straight, not gay,” he said. …

Butler, who’s now estranged from his parents, left the program after four weeks.

Video from WPTY-TV:

D.J. Butler is a 17-year-old boy who was sent to Love in Action by his parents. Butler, who ran away from the facility, says the things being done in the organization are cruel.

Butler says, “They shame you, put you down, call you stupid, tell you the feelings that you’re feeling are stupid to feel that way because that’s not the normal way to feel them.”

WPTY reports that a federal judge ruled that Love in Action may not continue to treat anyone with mental illness.

Visit the Memphis-based Queer Action Coalition web site for periodic updates.

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