Actress and onscreen alien-slayer Sigourney Weaver took a moment to praise Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order barring state funds from being used for the purpose of performing conversion therapy on minors during a recent interview. Whitmer presented the order to the press during a Monday stop at the Ruth Ellis Center in Highland Park.
“I’m so shocked that conversion therapy was being done in Michigan, which I think of as a very” – Weaver paused here, laughing briefly – “sophisticated place. And even state funds were being used to conduct conversion therapy against teenagers, which is heartbreaking because I believe that the attempted suicide rate for kids who have been through that is higher, understandably. I think that after this COVID year, where there was so much more isolation for LGBTQ youth, it’s really the opposite of what one would hope would happen this year.”
Still, Weaver agreed that the executive order is a step in the right direction, calling it “very positive.”
“I hope it’s being picked up all over, you know? Because good for her,” she said.
Weaver said she hopes the governor’s order will start a wave across the country, where LGBTQ+ rights, particularly trans rights, are under widespread attack: “Start banning conversion therapy instead of banning LGBTQ youth from sports teams and bathrooms,” she said.
Weaver knows a bit about which she speaks. In 2009, she played Mary Griffith in the true story “Prayers for Bobby.” Griffith is a deeply religious woman who cannot accept her son’s homosexuality. Eventually, the rejection proves too much for Bobby to bear and he jumped off a freeway overpass in front of an 18-wheeler. He died instantly. But Griffith was left behind with her grief and eventually finds solace in, of all places, the LGBTQ+ community and, specifically, from PFLAG.
The movie, which was filmed in Michigan and for which Weaver was nominated for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe, was a difficult one to make. She said the role of Mary Griffith was challenging for her. “I’ve never been more terrified of playing a part,” she said. “I just thought, ‘How am I ever going to do this? How am I going to turn myself into someone who has these ideas?’”
Lifetime will re-air “Prayers for Bobby” as part of its Pride Month lineup of special coverage. The film will show on the network at 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 20.