The Alana Faith Chen Foundation, Born Perfect, Q Christian Fellowship and Out Boulder County host a program about the dangers of conversion therapy and a vigil to honor the life of Alana Faith Chen.
Boulder County, Colorado, April 22, 2022
On Sunday, April 8, 2022 at 3PM The Alana Faith Chen Foundation, Born Perfect, Q Christian Fellowship, and Out Boulder County will host a program on the life threatening dangers of conversion therapy for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) people at Out Boulder County’s Equality Center of the Rocky Mountains (3340 Mitchell Lane, Boulder, CO 80301). National experts on the dangers of conversion therapy will speak to attendees about their own experiences and what action can be taken. The program will be followed by a peaceful vigil honoring the memory of Alana Faith Chen. The vigil will be held outside of the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center (1520 Euclid Ave. Boulder, CO 80302).
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The dangers of conversion therapy for LGBTQ people, particularly LGBTQ youth, is well established. In 2019 a limited ban on conversion therapy in Colorado took effect. The ban only applies to youth under the age of 18 and does not include pastoral counseling. This leaves LGBTQ people vulnerable to pastoral counseling that can be deadly as it was for Alana Faith Chen.
“Conversion therapy does not change who LGBTQ people are or who they love. It tries to teach LGBTQ people to be ashamed of those things. It is a deadly practice, and especially deadly for LGBTQ youth,” said Mardi Moore, Executive Director of Out Boulder County. “This idea for this program came from Joyce Calvo, Alana Faith Chen’s mother. Joyce asked Out Boulder County to help her protect other people from experiencing what her daughter did.”
The panel will be facilitated by Nicole Garcia, Faith Leader and Out Boulder County Board member and will feature Joyce Calvo, Jessica Ritter, Mathew Shurka, and Christopher Dowling. Bios of each speaker are included below.
Joyce Calvo is a mother who works to share her daughter Alana’s story and help others suffering from conversion therapy.
Jessica Ritter is the Texas Ambassador for Born Perfect and a conversion therapy survivor. After three years of conversion therapy, Jessica came out to her friends and family for a second time.
Mathew Shurka is a conversion therapy survivor and Co-Founder of Born Perfect, a campaign that has become a global movement to end conversion therapy. Mathew leads the campaign alongside a team of lawyers and conversion therapy survivors committed to protecting LGBTQ+ people through legislation, litigation, media and public education.
Christopher Dowling was a peer of Alana Chen, as a devoted Catholic who wanted to be a priest, and endured a decade of conversion therapy in order to do so. He dropped out of seminary in 2014 and came out to friends and family four years later.