Metro Weekly

Born Perfect tackles conversion therapy through puppets and Patton Oswalt

“Bobby’s Big Problem” satirizes the ineffective and harmful practice of conversion therapy -- through puppets

conversion therapy, Bobby's Big Problem, Born Perfect
Bobby’s Big Problem — Born Perfect

Conversion therapy, despite having been widely discredited, is still legal in 30 states. The LGBTQ rights organization Born Perfect has released a short film, told through puppets, to satirize the ineffective and harmful practice.

In Bobby’s Big Problem, exclusively debuted by Variety, a young boy named Bobby (RB Butcher) is taken to a therapist (Patton Oswalt).

“Your mother tells me you’ve been struggling with same-sex attractions, Bobby,” the therapist says, to which Bobby replies, “I wouldn’t say ‘struggling.’”

Although the therapist tells Bobby’s mother (D’Arcy Carden) that he isn’t practicing conversion therapy (“No, no, no, we can’t call it that anymore!”), what follows is clearly the increasingly banned practice.

The therapist encourages Bobby and a fellow patient (and love interest) to embrace “masculine” traits (“You can base an entire personality on sports alone”) and “become straight.”

conversion therapy, Bobby's Big Problem, Born Perfect
Bobby’s Big Problem — Born Perfect

Bobby’s friend Renee (Jasika Nicole) helps him understand that what he’s experiencing isn’t therapy, it’s abuse.

“Every year, thousands of LGBTQ youth are subjected to the harmful practice of conversion therapy,” Born Perfect notes in the film. “But these programs are not therapy at all.”

They continue: “Born Perfect is working tirelessly to end these programs and expose the puppeteers behind them. Be you, don’t be a puppet. Together, we can end conversion therapy once and for all.”

Since being created by the National Center for Lesbian Rights in 2014, Born Perfect has helped raise awareness of conversion therapy and pass legislation to protect LGBTQ youth from the harmful practice.

The organization’s co-founder, Mathew Shurka, is a survivor of conversion therapy who has advised on Boy Erased and other films that explore the topic.

“Conversion therapy today doesn’t look like it did five years ago or even 18 months ago. Most of it now takes place in settings that look like ‘talk therapy’ — whether that’s with a licensed therapist or a religious figure,” he told Variety. “With Bobby’s Big Problem, we intended to make a difficult story lighter by using puppets.

“Conversion therapy is difficult to watch, but we hope by using puppets to show its absurdity, more people will be see our message — and in turn, understand what conversion therapy is and, hopefully, get help if they’ve unknowingly been under going this abuse.”

Oswalt told Variety, “I hope this short film, with its surplus of humor and heart helps to start a conversation about a very serious, and ultimately heartless, practice.”

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