Ryan Murphy has revealed that his parents tried to “cure” his sexuality when he was in high school.
The gay producer and creator of Glee, American Horror Story, and Pose made the comments in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter about his new film The Prom, based on the musical of the same name about Broadway stars who head to a small Indiana town to help a lesbian high schooler take her girlfriend to prom.
“I found it very healing to be able to put those images to film,” Murphy said of the Netflix film, which he directed. “I didn’t have that. If only I would have had this feeling of acceptance and belonging, how different my life would have been. I felt that when we were shooting it.
“I went to my junior prom and the next day my parents took me to a psychiatrist to cure me,” he continued. “Thankfully, I had a really good shrink, who at the end of our several sessions called my parents in and said, ‘You have a choice here: You can try and change him and lose him, or you can accept him and love him.’ I was very blessed.
“When I went to my senior prom, I had been through that but I still took a girlfriend because I wasn’t allowed to come in with my fellow. The prom is very emotional for me, as you can tell.”
Murphy touched on how exclusionary proms can feel for LGBTQ youth who aren’t yet out, or aren’t able to bring their partners.
“I’ve always felt that the prom was a way for you to model romance. You were dressing up, you were learning mating rituals,” he told THR. “For gay kids, you’re not allowed to go, most of the time in the country. Or else you hide who you are, and go with the opposite sex. Even though I went three times, I always felt like a stranger in a strange land. I somehow felt like I didn’t belong there, that I was going to be found out or something.”
He said that with The Prom, LGBTQ youth can “see a pathway toward like, ‘Oh, I can be normal too. I can have a romantic experience just like everybody else.’ I love that kids will be able to see this all around the world, who are excluded from that experience. Not just at the prom, but in life.”
The Prom stars stars Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman, Keegan-Michael Key, Andrew Rannells, Ariana DeBose, Kerry Washington, Tracey Ullman, and Jo Ellen Pellman.
It’s currently set to release on Netflix on Dec. 11, with a limit release in select theaters that month.
The original Broadway musical The Prom opened in 2018, and garnered positive reviews and six Tony Award nominations.
The show’s cast made history in 2018 after stars Caitlin Kinnunen and Isabelle McCalla kissed during a performance at the 2018 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — the parade’s first ever same-sex kiss.
The Prom also made Broadway history after script coordinator Armelle Kay Harper married her partner Jody Kay Smith onstage following the Aug. 3 performance, marking the first known instance of an onstage wedding during a Broadway show.
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