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Disney Channel alum secretly went to ‘conversion therapy’ after coming out to parents

"In the environment I grew up in you’re taught that you deserve to be punished all the time"

By Emily Maskell

Matthew Scott Montgomery
Matthew Scott Montgomery shares his 'converstion therapy' experience. (Image: YouTube/Vulnerable)

Matthew Scott Montgomery has revealed that he went to so-called ‘conversion therapy’ in secret on his days off from filming.

Appearing on Christy Carlson Romano’s podcast series Vulnerable on Tuesday (19 September), Montgomery reflected on his childhood.

In the podcast chat, the actor shared details about electric shock therapy and finding healing in the arts.

‘Conversion therapy’ is a debunked and outdated practice that seeks to change a person’s sexuality and/or gender identity.

The World Health Organization and many health experts and organisations globally have long condemned the practice.

Montgomery was a Disney star and appeared on Shake It Up, So Random!, Jessie, and Austin & Ally.

He shared that he grew up in North Carolina with “very, very conservative parents.”

Furthermore, he shared that in his community growing up “gay people are the most evil thing that could possibly exist.”

Montgomery also shared that his father inducted him into ‘reparative therapy.’ ‘Reparative therapy’ is another term for ‘conversion therapy.’

“I was over 18, so I technically went to conversion therapy on my own free will,” he detailed.

“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 also shared that other queer stars have offered support to him. One includes Hayley Kiyoko, who was a guest star on So Random.

“She and I became friends, and we bonded,” he said of Kiyoko. “Family knows family, when you find another queer person you just feel it, you latch onto that person.” 

“They would try to build up your tolerance to the electric shocking”

Demi Lovato is another star that Montgomery bonded with: “That’s my family, that’s my soulmate, that’s my person who loves me the deepest.” 

Montgomery also detailed his experiences with electric shock therapy.

“They’re covert and tricky out how they get you to do it,” he said of the electric shock element.

He called that he was instructed to think about being alone with a straight man and when he’d be told to hug him, he was electrocuted.

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

“One day I just woke up,” Montgomery said of deciding to leave. “Maybe part of it was I’d had the healing of being an actor.”

Now, the actor says that he has moved on from this horrific time.

And at that point, I was able 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.”

In the UK, ‘conversion therapy’ still isn’t completely banned. This is despite government promises to do so.