Anthony Quintal, a 21-year-old YouTuber best known for his teenage antics under the name “Lohanthony,” has returned to his channel with a shocking update.
Quintal, once an advocate for LGBTQ rights and a role model for gay children and teens around the world, has renounced his own sexuality, saying in a recent YouTube video that he has chosen a life of “Christian celibacy” and moved on from the “sexual immorality” of his past gay relationships. Although he never stated he had thought he was no longer gay, Quintal said he is choosing not to partake in same-sex relationships.
Quintal compared his sexual and romantic relationships with men to drug and alcohol use, saying that he was “trying to find God’s love” through those paths.
He also said that he was molested by a man as a child, and he believed it led him to “sin against other people” by engaging in consensual sex with other men throughout his teenage years.
LGBTQ and Christian conversion therapy experts have voiced their opinions and agree that Quintal’s new rhetoric is harmful to his audience, and his reasoning echoes language used in conversion therapy, a dangerous and ineffective practice that is prohibited in 20 US states.
Matthew Vines, executive director of the pro-LGBTQ Christian organization The Reformation Project and author of “God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-sex Relationships,” says Quintal’s video reflected a modern movement within Christianity that replaces common conversion therapy language with a new way of grappling with sexuality.
Vines said that the idea of conversion therapy being a forced “brainwashing” practice doesn’t typically reflect what real ‘ex-gay’ experiences look like for Christians.
Mathew Shurka, the co-founder of the anti-conversion therapy advocacy organization Born Perfect and a survivor of a conversion therapy program himself, stated that Quintal’s rhetoric echoes lessons taught in conversion programs and that conflating addiction issues with same-sex attraction is common in such programs.
The American Psychiatric Association has said that conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, and increased suicidal ideation and is “unlikely” to be effective in changing same-sex attraction.
Nearly every major health association, including the World Health Organization, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Medical Association opposes conversion therapy, along with “ex-gay therapy,” “reparative therapy,” and any type of therapy that seeks to repress, reverse, or eradicate same-sex attraction.
The response to Quintal’s announcement has been largely negative, with former fans who saw him as inspirational at the height of his YouTube fame responding with a mix of shock and sadness.