American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Witness Testimony: Ryan Kendall

On the seventh day of trial, Ryan Kendall testified about his experience as a teenager whose parents placed him in therapy to change his sexual orientation from gay to straight.

Watch Chris Colfer reenact Ryan Kendall’s testimony during the Los Angeles premiere of “8” the play.

Testimony Highlights

“I was a precocious kid. So one day I ended up looking up the word ‘homosexual’ in the dictionary. And I remember reading the definition, something along the lines of a romantic attraction between members of the same sex. And it slowly dawned on me that that’s what I was.”


“I knew I was gay just like I knew I’m short and I’m half Hispanic. And I just never thought that those facts would change.”


“I knew I was gay. I knew that could not be changed.”


“I remember my mother looking at me and telling me that I was going to burn in hell … [M]y mother would tell me that she hated me, or that I was disgusting, or that I was repulsive. Once she told me that she wished she had had an abortion instead of a gay son.”