SNL’s Bowen Yang shares his experience of conversion therapy

Comedian Bowen Yang stepped out of the Saturday Night Live writers room last year to portray North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, this year he joined the cast as a full-time performer.

In an interview with the New York Times Yang shares that his family didn’t take well to the news that he was gay, and he agreed to attend counselling to help him embrace heterosexuality.

Yang was born in Brisbane when his Chinese father was studying in Australia, later the family moved to Canada, and finally to the United States.

The comedian shared that his parents discovered he was gay when he was seventeen. The uncovered conversations he’d been having online and confronted him about his online activities. Yang said that prior to this he’d only ever once seen his father cry, but the news of his son’s sexuality saw his father crying at the dinner table every night.

When his father arranged for his to attend counselling about his sexuality Yang went along.

“I allowed myself the thought experiment of: ‘What if this could work?’” he told the newspaper. “Even though as I read up on it, I was just like, ‘Oh, wait, this is all completely crackers.’

Yang shares the ridiculous techniques the counsellor used to try and persuade him he should be ashamed of his attraction to men, saying it was all clearly based on pseudoscience.

In 2019 the US state of Colorado where Yang grew up banned conversion therapy programs for people under the age of 18.

OIP Staff