Thankfully, I was never formally subjected to "gay conversion therapy." But that is not to say I don't have some sense of the damage it does to loves having been raised Roman Catholic and subjected to the Church's odious brainwashing when it comes to the issue of homosexuality. The result was decades of self-hate and ultimately suicide attempts - all because of the psychosis of 12th century "Church fathers" who by modern standards likely deeded mental health interventions of their own. Sadly, despite society's overall rejection of Medieval medical and mental health knowledge, forty-one states continue to allow minors to be subjected to witch doctor-like or worse forms of efforts to "change" one's sexual orientation, something that is rejected by every legitimate - i.e., every non-Christofascists funded - medial and mental health association in America, not to mention the world. Here in Virginia, a ban on the practice faces a perilous fate in the Virginia General Assembly. A column in the New York Times looks st this dangerous practice that continues to ruin lives, sometimes ending in suicide. Here are highlights:
In the early 2000s, when I was a middle schooler in Florida, I was subjected to a trauma that was meant to erase my existence as a newly out bisexual. My parents were Southern Baptist missionaries who believed that the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy could “cure” my sexuality.
For over two years, I sat on a couch and endured emotionally painful sessions with a counselor. I was told that my faith community rejected my sexuality; that I was the abomination we had heard about in Sunday school; that I was the only gay person in the world; that it was inevitable I would get H.I.V. and AIDS.
But it didn’t stop with these hurtful talk-therapy sessions. The therapist ordered me bound to a table to have ice, heat and electricity applied to my body. I was forced to watch clips on a television of gay men holding hands, hugging and having sex. I was supposed to associate those images with the pain I was feeling to once and for all turn into a straight boy. In the end it didn’t work. I would say that it did, just to make the pain go away.
I have begun to repair the damage that conversion therapy caused me and my family. But the failed promise of change has very likely caused a permanent tear in our relationship.
Many think that conversion therapy — the snake oil idea that you can forcibly change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity — is an artifact of the past, a medieval torture practice. But in fact it is still legal in 41 states, including so-called progressive ones like New York and Massachusetts. New York City fully banned the practice only last month.
We constantly hear from survivors of conversion therapy who have been so hurt that they are contemplating suicide. So we know the severity of the problem.
A new report tells us just how huge it is. Nearly 700,000 adults in the country have received conversion therapy at some point, including about 350,000 who received the treatment as adolescents, according to a study by the Williams Institute, a think tank on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy at U.C.L.A.
It is heartbreaking that the study estimates that 20,000 L.G.B.T.Q. teens will receive conversion therapy from a health care professional before they turn 18. An even larger number of youth, an estimated 57,000 teenagers, will receive the treatment from a religious or spiritual adviser before adulthood.
Every prominent professional health association, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, opposes the use of conversion therapy on youth, calling it harmful and ineffective.
The practice can be performed by a licensed therapist in an office, in a correctional-style campground, by a parent continuously punishing a child for acting too feminine or by a pastor who wants to pray the gay away. The trauma of conversion therapy can cause depression, suicidal ideation, family rejection and a whole host of horrors that children must then face without the knowledge that mental health professionals are supposed to help rather than harm.
In the past couple of weeks, Virginia, Washington, Arizona and Missouri have introduced bills to ban conversion therapy. But there are still challenges in stopping this barbaric practice. In fact, New Hampshire recently rejected an effort to protect L.G.B.T.Q. youth from conversion therapy with a close vote in the Legislature, being swayed in favor of allowing the practice to continue; many legislators falsely believe that no such practice could exist. The new data from the Williams Institute shows just how wrong they are.
We must pass legislation to stop licensed therapists who seek to harm L.G.B.T.Q. youth with conversion therapy. Everyone should know that you can’t change what you never chose.
Not only do we need to ban licensed therapists from engaging in conversion therapy, but it needs to be illegal for religious "ministries" to subject youths to practises which are nothing less than child abuse. Religion cause much harm to mankind in my view, and this is one of the more insidious harms still widespread in America. No parent should have the right to inflict such harm on their children simply because they cling to archaic beliefs. It is nothing less than child abuse.