Samuel Taylor and Connie Casey

When he was 15 years old, Samuel Taylor came out to his mother, Connie Casey.

In an attempt to “fix” her son, Connie sent Samuel to a series of ex-gay conversion therapy ministries affiliated with Exodus International. Samuel was in therapy for three years.

Samuel, 22, came to StoryCorps with Connie to talk about his experience—and to hear about the evolution of her beliefs.

Originally aired June 28, 2013, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

This story was originally broadcast a few days after Exodus International folded and apologized for promoting reparative therapies. At the time of this broadcast, subjecting minors to conversion therapy remains legal in 45 states. 

John Curtis and John Wikiera

Homecoming_Dec1998John Curtis and his husband, David Wikiera (pictured at left), have two sons. The couple adopted their first child, also named John, from Vietnam when he was a baby.

At StoryCorps, John and his son, 11-year-old John, talk about the boy’s hopes for the future, and the father’s desire to be a parent.

Originally aired April 12, 2013, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Above: John and David arrive home from Vietnam with baby John in 1998. Photo courtesy of John Curtis.

Tracy Johnson and Sandra Johnson

North Carolina National Guardsman Tracy Johnson (left) is an Iraq war veteran and an Army widow. She is also believed to be the first gay spouse to lose her partner at war since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Donna Johnson was killed on Oct. 1, 2012, while on patrol in Khost, Afghanistan. She was 29.Tracy married her long-time partner, Staff Sergeant Donna Johnson, on Valentine’s Day in 2012. Later that year, Donna was killed by a suicide bomber while serving in Khost, Afghanistan. She was 29 years old.

The Army did not consider Tracy to be Donna’s next of kin, but when Army representatives arrived to inform Donna’s family of her death, Tracy presented their marriage certificate and asked to be part of the military escort that would welcome her wife back to U.S. soil. This request was ultimately granted at the insistence of her mother-in-law, Sandra Johnson (right).

At StoryCorps, Tracy and Sandra talk about finding out that their wife and daughter wasn’t coming home.

Originally aired February 16, 2013, on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.

Above: Staff Sergeant Donna Johnson. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Public Affairs Office.

Michael Wilmoth and Bryan Wilmoth

Bryan Wilmoth (right) and his seven younger siblings were raised in a strict, religious household. When Bryan’s father found a love letter from a man in his box of things, he drove him into the countryside and dropped him off in the middle of the night with a five dollar bill.

All of the siblings at Bryan and Michael's sister's wedding in June 2007. From left: Jude, Mike, Pam, Bryan, Amy, Curtis (groom), Chris, Luke-Henry and Josh.Over the years, all of Bryan’s siblings either ran away from or were kicked out of their family home. He made efforts to reconnect with them, but many were initially resistant, so it took a long time for their relationships to grow.

At StoryCorps, Bryan and his brother Michael (left) recall how their family grew close.

Click here to watch “A Good Man,” a StoryCorps animation of Bryan and Michael’s conversation.

Originally aired January 25, 2013, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Above: The Wilmoth siblings at Bryan and Michael’s sister’s wedding in June 2007. From left: Jude, Mike, Pam, Bryan, Amy, Curtis (groom), Chris, Luke-Henry, and Josh.

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Each week, the StoryCorps podcast shares these unscripted conversations, revealing the wisdom, courage, and poetry in the words of people you might not notice walking down the street.