Thursday, January 25, 2018

One Young Man's Emotional Story about Gay Conversion Therapy and Self-Acceptance

by Nomad

Under the influence of the evangelicals, the Republican party has for years now endorsed the practice of attempting to alter or reverse an individual's sexual orientation using psychological or spiritual interventions. Otherwise known as gay conversion therapy.
Some have compared it to Victorian efforts to impose conformity by converting left-handers into "normal" right-handed socially-approved human beings. However, as the linked video below suggests, the implications for this kind of forced suppression/inhibition of sexual orientation can be psychologically-devastating to the individuals.

More fundamentally, perhaps, the majority of medical professionals strongly doubt that the "corrective" techniques are ever successful.

That hasn't stopped evangelist crusaders feeling extremely committed and passionate about the practice. Back in 2014, the Texas Republican party actually made it a part of the official party platform.
Homosexuality, the document reads,  "tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit."
Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values. We recognize the legitimacy and value of counseling which offers reparative therapy and treatment to patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle. No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy.
In the minds of Texas Republicans, any kind of therapy that "solves this problem" must be a good thing. " This kind of treatment is, the drafters said, a viable option  for “patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle.”

What did you expect from the electorate that put guys like Louie Gohmert and Rick Santorum into office? At one time, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's husband ran such a "pray away the gay" clinic. (In 2017, Bachmann's Counseling Care clinic in Lake Elmo was cited by Minnesota health inspectors for violations.)

Way back in 2001, President Clinton's then-Surgeon General David Satcher issued his finding on the matter, stating that "there is no valid scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed."

The medical community has come out strongly against the notion that homosexuality a psychological problem that can (or needs to) be fixed. The American Psychiatric Association called its practitioners "unethical."
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry left no doubt where it stood:
Clinicians should be aware that there is no evidence that sexual orientation can be altered through therapy, and that attempts to do so may be harmful. There is no empirical evidence adult homosexuality can be prevented if gender nonconforming children are influenced to be more gender conforming. Indeed, there is no medically valid basis for attempting to prevent homosexuality, which is not an illness.
And the statement went further.
On the contrary, such efforts may encourage family rejection and undermine self-esteem, connectedness and caring, important protective factors against suicidal ideation and attempts. Given that there is no evidence that efforts to alter sexual orientation are effective, beneficial or necessary, and the possibility that they carry the risk of significant harm, such interventions are contraindicated.
The courts agreed.
In February 2015, a New Jersey judge ruled that homosexuality as an illness that could be cured constitutes a “misrepresentation” in violation of the state’s consumer protection statute. Any company or organization that attempts to promote the idea is engaged in consumer fraud.
(Presumably, that would include the Republican party of Texas.)

In May 2015, the US House of Representatives introduced the Therapeutic Fraud and Prevention Act. The purpose of the bill is to prohibit
“sexual orientation or gender identity conversion therapy from being provided in exchange for monetary compensation. Bars advertisements for such therapy that claim to:
(1) change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity,
(2) eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender, or
(3) be harmless or without risk.”
In April 2016, this bill was introduced in the Senate. (From what I can find the bill was shuffled off to a committee where it died a quiet death.)

The Atlantic Monthly reported just this summer:
In the U.S., state governments are beginning to outlaw conversion therapy in growing numbers. California became the first to do so in 2012. Eight other states have banned it in some form since. In 2017 alone, Nevada, New Mexico, and Connecticut have signed their own bans into law. And two weeks ago, a long-anticipated bill passed the Rhode Island Senate.
It is going to be difficult to see gay conversion therapy ever making a comeback. On the other hand, a state-by-state ban is hardly what anybody would deem an equitable solution.  Why should a child in Texas be less protected than a child in California? How can a practice in New Jersey be considered consumer fraud but in Oklahoma be considered a legitimate business?

In the midst of all this, it is often easy to forget that there were real people who were affected by the promotion of this pseudo-scientific kind of sexual orientation brainwashing.

Here's one young man's story about the role this therapy played in his path to self-acceptance.Without bitterness or animosity, Adam articulately describes the emotional conflict of attempting to deny the truth about himself to please his family.

His story is both interesting, heart-breaking and ultimately inspiring.

What caring parent wouldn't be proud to have a such a son like Adam? Thank goodness they were able to understand and love their son for who he was.

At the end of the video, it was clear- at least, to me- that homosexuality isn't, as the Republicans in the Lone Star State claim, responsible for "tearing families apart." 
It is irrational intolerance for one's own sons and daughters that's doing it.