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Bojidar Kandar was a senior at Amherst Central High School when he finally told his mother he was gay. “She thought something was wrong that she couldn’t fix,” said Kandar, now 30. His mother found a Christian counseling service a half hour away that offered to make Kandar straight. The weekly therapy sessions were rough, said Kandar, who described feeling increasingly fragile, insecure and depressed during the year-long stretch. He remembered one counselor probing and magnifying small childhood slights to find the source of his homosexuality. “I remember I would break down and cry for no reason,” Kandar said.

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