If local Trump voters who betrayed their supposed LGBT "friends" and neighbors want a clear picture of what they have done to the LGBT community - and why many of us will never be trusting of them again - look no farther than a piece in the Virginian Pilot that looks at the extremism of Donald Trump's domestic policy adviser Ken Blackwell formerly of Family Research Council ("FRC"), a certified anti-gay hate group that for years has disseminated deliberate lies and untruths and sought to denigrate LGBT individuals. Much of FRC's anti-gay propaganda reads almost identical to that of the Nazi regime lies against those who were Jewish with the word "gay" merely substituted for the word "Jew." Among the other things that the mentally unstable Blackwell says is that gays can be "changed" - never mind that every legitimate medical and mental health association in America disagrees and says such "conversion therapy" is dangerous and harmful. Here are excerpts from the Pilot piece:
Ken Blackwell, tapped last week by President-elect Donald Trump to head domestic policy during the businessman's transition to the White House, has made anti-LGBT statements for years. Among them: Homosexuality is a sin, and gay people, just like petty thieves and fire-setters, can be rehabilitated.
The former Cincinnati mayor has long endorsed a controversial mental health practice known as conversion therapy or reparative therapy. The goal is to cure a person of his or her homosexuality, and in the case of transgender people, to reaffirm the gender into which they were born.
In the past, treatments have included everything from inducing vomiting to using mild electric shock while patients viewed homoerotic images. Since the 1990s, however, the therapy has been denounced by many medical and scientific societies and even outlawed in a handful of states. In 2015, the Obama administration expressed disapproval of the practice after Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year-old transgender teen in Ohio, took her life after being forced by her parents to undergo conversion counseling.
While Blackwell will be overseeing a wide swath of domestic issues facing the new administration, one big question facing the LGBT community is whether a Trump administration will promote the discredited therapy.
Two years ago, in a radio interview with Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, which has been deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Blackwell appeared to blame the deaths of six individuals in a 2014 mass shooting in Isla Vista, Calif., on the LGBT rights movement, saying it undermined "natural marriage."
In an unsuccessful gubernatorial bid in 2006, the former Ohio secretary of state claimed that being gay was a "choice" that could be "changed."
"I think it's a transgression against God's law," he told the Columbus Dispatch at the time. "And I think you make good choices and bad choices in terms of lifestyle. Our expectation is that one's genetic makeup might make one more inclined to be an arsonist or might make one more inclined to be a kleptomaniac. Do I think they can be changed? Yes."
The American Psychiatric Association de-pathologized homosexuality in 1973, when it was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Other professional groups quickly followed suit . . . . In 1981, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence has also appeared to support conversion therapy. When he was running for Congress in 2000, Pence's website declared that money set aside by the federal CARE Act, to help indigent HIV/AIDS patients, also be "directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior." (The Trump transition team has not responded for a request for comment.)
Experts around the world have condemned conversion therapy as not only lacking empirical validity but as unhealthy, especially for young people, causing depression, anxiety, addiction and even suicide.
At least five states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation forbidding mental health professionals from offering conversion therapy to minors. Last year, a New Jersey judge ruled that a conversion therapy group called JONAH had violated the state's consumer protection statute by fraudulently advertising a cure for being gay. The judge also found the group's business practices "unconscionable."
"The promotion of reparative or conversion therapy goes beyond its obvious market of disaffected lesbian, gay and bisexual people. This campaign attempts to influence public opinion and justify anti-gay discrimination by inaccurately portraying homosexuality as a mental disorder and a social evil. Conversion therapy, then, is more than just a clinical issue. It figures prominently in the national debate over lesbian and gay civil rights."
In 1999, a report titled "Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation" was released specifically denouncing reparative therapy as having little or no effectiveness and instead contributing to discrimination against LGBT people. It was co-signed by 10 prestigious organizations: the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Association of School Administrators, the American Federation of Teachers, the American Psychological Association, the American School Health Association, Interfaith Alliance, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Social Workers and the National Education Association.
Those who supported Trump not only signed on to a racist agenda but also the embrace of ignorance and religious extremism. If they now claim that they did not know what Trump's agenda included, shame on them for their laziness and irresponsible conduct. Belatedly saying "I'm sorry" simply doesn't cut it. Do NOT expect forgiveness or understanding from your LGBT neighbors and friends.