NewsLocal News


Omaha man shares his experience at conversion therapy

Posted at 9:52 PM, Feb 08, 2019

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Adam Witte feared telling his religious parents that he was gay. The high schooler would do anything to change it.

"So conversion therapy was kind of what I saw as my last chance,” says Witte.

Witte would often sneak out at night so his parents wouldn't know. The treatment was electro-shock therapy, starting out with just a tingle, but after a year, the shocks got more extreme.

"One night when I was in there, the last shock that I received before I put a stop to it, I lost consciousness during it and when I came to I had bitten a chunk out of my tongue and is bleeding,” says Witte.

He felt unsafe ever going back, the treatment didn't work.

"I should have been the poster-child for, if this treatment was going to work on anyone, it should have been me because I wanted nothing more in the world to not be gay," says Witte.

Witte later came out to his parents, and they immediately embraced and accepted him. He hopes no other gay Nebraskan goes through what he did.

"Super damaging to be in that situation and be told, you don't think you have any control of this but if you try harder you could fix it,” says Witte.

Many Christian groups have came out strongly against the bill. Tom Venzor with the Nebraska Catholic Conference doesn't condone electro-shop therapy and says any mental health professional that does it already faces consequences.

He's worried counselors won't be able to help people who want to change their same-sex attraction because of their faith.

"What this bill would do is it would prohibit things like talk therapy," says Venzor.

Many medical science groups can't find evidence any type of conversion therapy works. Venzor says he's heard first hand accounts.

"For a lot of these individuals that have experienced sexual desires or gender identity issues that have been unwanted, they've been able to seek therapy and find help so they can live a life that's consistent with their desires for their own life,” says Venzor.

It's now up the judiciary committee to toss the bill, or send it to the full legislature for a vote.

Religious organizations would still be able to provide conversion talk therapy, as long as they weren't getting paid and even if it was free, they would not be allowed to advertise it in any way.