I'm From Driftwood is a 501(c)(3) non-profit forum for true lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer stories. Earlier this year, founder and Executive Director Nathan Manske and two companions successfully completed a four-month, 50-state Story Tour collecting LGBTQ stories from towns and cities across the country. HuffPost Gay Voices will regularly feature stories from I'm From Driftwood. This is the first in the series.
We met Samuel Brinton during our visit to Kansas State. Sam was raised in rural Iowa and shared his story of growing up gay in a conservative, Southern Baptist family. Brinton's easy-going smile and friendly demeanor stand in stark contrast to the horrors of an abusive father and forced Christian conversion therapy.
"We then went into the 'Month of Hell,'" Brinton explains in the video below. "The 'Month of Hell' consisted of tiny needles being stuck into my fingers and then pictures of explicit acts between men would be shown and I'd be electrocuted."
In his story, Brinton describes his long road from self-hatred and rejection to acceptance, understanding and forgiveness.