Netflix documentary movie Pray Away looks at the controversial conversion therapy movement that sprang up around the world in the 20th century.


Conversion therapy is the harmful idea that a person’s sexual orientation can be changed through prayer, psychological or physical interventions. Many LGBTQ teenagers and adults were recruited or forced into joining organisations that promised to help them ‘pray the gay away’.

Executive-produced by Ryan Murphy and directed by Kristine Stolakis, Pray Away focuses on Exodus International, which was one of the most influential conversion therapy organisations in the world until it was revealed some of the founders and leaders no longer believed in the therapies they were promoting.

Pray Away Netflix release date

The documentary movie Pray Away will be available to stream on Netflix from Tuesday 3rd August.

What is Pray Away about?

The documentary movie is about an organisation called Exodus International. Set up in the 1970s by five men who were struggling with being gay in their Evangelical church, it began as a prayer group for them to help each other leave the ‘homosexual lifestyle’.

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Over the next 30 years, Exodus International grew to become the largest, and most controversial, conversion therapy organisation in the world, with over 250 ministries in the US and Canada and another 150 around the globe. However, the leaders themselves still struggled with ‘same sex attractions’, and many of those involved in Exodus International have since come out as LGBTQ, disavowing the movement they themselves started.

The movie meets some of the survivors of Exodus International’s conversion therapy, as well as former leaders of the group, and chronicles the ‘pray the gay away’ movement’s rise to power and the terrible harm it has caused many people who asked for help or who were forced to join by family members.

What has producer Ryan Murphy said about Pray Away?

Last year, Murphy – best known as the producer of hit TV series including Feud, American Horror Story and Glee – talked about his own experiences of gay conversion in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter.

“I went to my junior prom, and the next day my parents took me to a psychiatrist to cure me,” he says. Thankfully, the psychiatrist was more well-informed than his parents (“I had a really good shrink”) and explained to Murphy’s family that they needed to accept and love him rather than try and change him.

“I was very blessed. When I went to my senior prom, I had been through that, but I still took a girlfriend because I wasn’t allowed to come in with my fellow.”

The documentary’s director, Kristine Stolakis, has also commented on her own personal experiences that led her to make Pray Away in an interview with Women And Hollywood. “For me, Pray Away was a personal journey to understand my uncle, who experienced conversion therapy and its traumatic aftermath after coming out as trans as a kid.”

“He spent his lifetime believing that being straight and cisgender was the only way to be psychologically healthy and spiritually accepted. It wasn’t until I discovered leaders of the movement, people who claimed that they had themselves changed from gay to straight who were teaching others to do the same, that I understood the depth of his hope and his resulting trauma when he, of course, was unable to change himself.”

Is there a trailer for Pray Away?

You can watch the trailer here:


Pray Away arrives on Netflix on Tuesday 3rd August. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide.