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Former Disney Channel Star Reveals He Secretly Went To Conversion Therapy On His Days Off

Actor Matthew Scott Montgomery opened up on Christy Carlson Romano's 'Vulnerable' podcast about how his conservative parents pushed him to go to the harmful 'therapy' after he came out to them at age 19.

Matthew Scott Montgomery
Unique Nicole/Getty Images

On a recent episode of Christy Carlson Romano's Vulnerable podcast, former Disney Channel star Matthew Scott Montgomery revealed he secretly underwent conversion therapy on his days off from set.

Montgomery appeared in children's television shows such as Shake It Up, So Random!, Jessie, and Austin & Ally, and more recently on Unidentified with Demi Lovato.

The actor and writer explained to Romano that growing up with "very, very conservative" parents as a queer kid in North Carolina had him wired to believe “gay people were the most evil thing that could possibly exist.”

Montgomery moved to LA, was cast in the Del Shores play Yellow, and, at the age of 19 when his parents came out to watch him in the play in which he was cast as a gay character who was abused and kicked out of his house, he came out to his parents.

His father told him not long after that he had "researched" and found that "being gay is a choice." So, he had arranged for his son to go to "reparative therapy."

Montgomery did acknowledge that he was technically a consenting adult, but his background subconsciously kept him from declining the treatment.

“I was over 18, so I technically went to conversion therapy on my own free will."
“However, you have to understand in the environment I grew up in you’re taught that you deserve to be punished all the time.”

Montgomery's career began to take off, and while he was working six days a week for Disney, he revealed that he went to conversion therapy on his one day off.

“At the time, the career stuff was going so well that I was still in this broken prison brain of thinking, ‘I’m on red carpets, I’m on TV every week, this is too good. I should be punished on my days off.'"

The actor did clarify that Disney was not aware that he was receiving conversion therapy.

He did, however, share that the facility where he received his "therapy" took pride in being the preferred place for aspiring gay actors to turn straight in order to "make it as a straight movie star" in Hollywood.

You can listen to that clip below.

Montgomery also described the process, noting that it began with "teaching."

“What they taught there at this place was that there’s no such thing as a gay man; there are straight boys who are born with sensitive artistic temperaments who have emotionally overbearing mothers and emotionally unavailable fathers."
"And when I experience shame or insecurity, I seek out SSA, which is same-sex attraction and I want the love of a straight man, which I’m never going to get. So, they’re trying to break you of that.”

The actor completed many tasks which included apologizing to his father, completing ridiculous amounts of worksheets, playing football, and, eventually, going through electric shock therapy.

“I would have these silver rods that I’d have to hold in my hands. And they’re really covert and tricky about how they got you to do it. They were like, ‘Today we’re going to try something a little bit different. Just try holding these.’”

Though it began as just "light buzzing," Montgomery revealed the shocks became intense and painful over time.

“They would try to build up your tolerance to the electric shocking until it was painful."

Viewers and listeners of the podcast expressed their heartbreak over listening to Montgomery tell his story.

Christy Carlson Romano/YouTube

Christy Carlson Romano/YouTube

Christy Carlson Romano/YouTube

Christy Carlson Romano/YouTube

Christy Carlson Romano/YouTube

Sadly, though, many also had connections with his experience.

Christy Carlson Romano/YouTube

Christy Carlson Romano/YouTube

Christy Carlson Romano/YouTube

Fortunately, the actor eventually realized "there's nothing wrong with me."

“Something happened to me one day where I was like, ‘I’m not doing this anymore. I don’t have to be here. There’s nothing wrong with me.’ One day I just kind of woke up.”

And he believes his role in Yellow had everything to do with it.

“That play Yellow that I did, [my character] was abused for being gay, but then I get adopted by the family next door and they loved me and accepted me, they accepted my character."
“I think that was the experience that I actually needed, because I got the experience of what it was like to have a family not only love me but celebrate me and really accept me.”

Montgomery now surrounds himself with people who love and celebrate him, like former fellow queer Disney stars Demi Lovato and Hayley Kiyoko.

“At that point, I was able to begin to carefully curate a life that was filled with love and art and expression, that was satisfying me and making me so happy in a way that I’d never been before."
“I was like, ‘Oh, wait, I don’t deserve to be punished. Life is supposed to be fun."
"It’s supposed to be filled with love and joy and I’m so proud of the work I’m doing and the person that I’ve become, and there are these people around me that really love me and celebrate me. I don’t have to do this anymore.’”

You can watch the full podcast below.

How Disney’s Matthew Scott Montgomery Survived Gay Conversion Therapy |