VIDEO: 2017 FYE® Conference Speaker Garrard Conley’s TEDx Talk on Compassion

By Sara Clemens | February 8 2017 | College & University Reads

Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased, describes how compassion saved his life.

Speaking at a local TEDx event, Conley describes his traumatic experience as a gay man growing up in the South. In the years following his escape from extreme prejudice, he has learned one important lesson: compassion has the power to heal wounds, but it’s also one of the messiest human emotions.

Garrard Conley is a featured speaker at the 2017 First-Year Experience® Conference.



Praise for Boy Erased:

Boy Erased is a gut-punch of a memoir, but the miracle of this book is the generosity with which Conley writes in an effort to understand the circumstances and motivations that led his family to seek the ‘cure.'”—Los Angeles Review of Books

“An important, refreshingly unsentimental perspective on the dangers and abuses of ex-gay therapy ministries.”—Bay Area Reporter

“An urgent reminder that America remains a place where queer people have to fight for their lives. It’s also a generous portrait of a family in which the myths of prejudice give way before the reality of love.”—Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

GARRARD CONLEY’s fiction and nonfiction can be found in The Common, The Madison Review, and elsewhere. He has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and Elizabeth Kostova Foundation writers’ conferences. Conley currently teaches English literature and promotes LGBTQ equality in Sofia, Bulgaria.


Boy Erased
A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family
As a nineteen-year old college student, Garrard Conley, the son of a Baptist pastor, was outed to his parents and forced to make a life-changing decision: either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program that promised to "cure" him of homosexuality; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he had prayed to every day of his life. Even when faced with a harrowing and brutal journey, Conley found the strength and understanding to break out in search of his true self and forgiveness.