Via Zoom: Kristine Stolakis on Her New Film ‘Pray Away’

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CHICAGO – One of the crueler uses of psychology or religion is as a “cure” for gay or transgender or even fluid orientations to “become” heterosexual. Although this conversion therapy should never exist, the new doc “Pray Away” has filmmaker Kristine Stolakis providing the background and continued use of the therapies. The film premieres August 3rd, 2021, on Netflix.

It’s surprising how many people are unfamiliar with “conversion” therapy (also known as the more Orwellian “restorative” therapy), in which gay men and woman (as well as transgender and fluid people) are subjected to either religious or pseudo-psychology to become “straight.” Kristine Stolakis sensitively allows the survivors of this abusive practice to tell their stories – including former “Living Hope” spokesperson Julie Rodgers – and although there is hopeful redemption, the pain of the process to get there is devastating. And religion, unfortunately, leads the way by using a belief in deities as a smokescreen for what nature has intended. Not so much an exposé as a primer for pain and suffering that is totally unnecessary, if only relatives and friends could accept a loved one’s orientation and not live in fear.

’Pray Away,’ Directed by Kristine Stolakis
Photo credit: Netflix

Kristine Stolakis makes her feature documentary debut with Pray Away, and talked to Patrick McDonald of in a three-part interview.

In PART ONE, origin of the documentary, and the justification of using religion as a smokescreen for therapies …

In PART TWO, on society, faith and being an ally …

In PART THREE, what can citizens do to make sure that their states will ban conversion therapy? …

“Pray Away” premieres August 3rd on Netflix. For the trailer, click here. Directed by Kristine Stolakis. Rated “PG-13” senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

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© 2021 Patrick McDonald,

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