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Saving Alex : When I Was Fifteen I Told My Mormon Parents I Was Gay, and That's When My Nightmare Began

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Joining the ranks of bestsellers by Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Lee Dugard, an inspiring, harrowing, and brave memoir by a young Mormon lesbian woman whose captivity and escape from an unlicensed “residential treatment program” resulted in a groundbreaking battle for LGBTQ rights that has impacted society and individual lives.

Two days after Alex Cooper told her parents that she was gay, they took their 15-year-old daughter to Utah, where they signed over their parental rights to a group of fellow Mormons who promised to “cure” Alex from her homosexuality. For eight harrowing months, Alex was held captive in an unlicensed “residential treatment program,” one of several “therapeutic” boot camps scattered across southern Utah: a virtual gulag where thousands of American teenagers have been sent by fundamentalist parents.

Forbidden from attending school, Alex was beaten and verbally abused, and forced to stand facing a wall for up to 18 hours a day wearing a heavy backpack full of rocks that literally broke her back. “God’s plan does not apply to gay people,” her captors told her, using faith as a cudgel to punish and terrorize her. With the help of a dedicated legal team in Salt Lake City, Alex would eventually escape and make legal history in Utah by winning the right to live under the law’s protection as an openly gay teenager.

For the first time, Alex speaks out about her ordeal and its aftermath. Fixing Alex is a traumatic yet uplifting story of identity, faith, courage, acceptance, and freedom that reveals what happens when religion goes too far, and how a group of dedicated Americans and one young woman fought for her rights—and ultimately for us all.

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