Controversy in California
As you may have heard, earlier this week California became the first state to ban gay ‘conversion’ therapies. The purpose of these ‘therapeutic’practices, which can “include a wide variety of techniques from counseling to shock therapy to — in extreme cases — exorcism,” is to change children who identify themselves as gay, and make them straight again.
Yep. And in all states except California, they’re legal.
Fortunately, California Governor Jerry Brown has taken the first step towards ending these practices, and it is to be hoped that many others will follow in his footsteps. “”This bill bans non-scientific ‘therapies’ that have driven young people to depression and suicide,” said Brown, last Saturday. “”These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery.”
Not only are these sorts of ‘conversion’ techniques harmful to the children who are subjected to them, they also perpetuate homophobia and harmful myths about LGBTQ people by representing sexual preference as something that can–and should–be ‘cured.’ Many therapists practicing these ‘conversion’ techniques are going so far as to claim that homosexual desires are caused by sexual abuse at a young age. Critics of the bill are claiming that it is limiting parental rights to do what is ‘right’ for their children, and making the bill out as an unwarranted governmental intrusion. Already, at least one lawsuit has been filed against it, from a patient who was ‘cured’ of his gayness by such methods.
Other former patients, however, were not so keen on the practices, and despite the opposition’s assurances that young people want and need such therapy, many of the bill’s toughest supporters, according to the New York Times, “were former patients who described emotional scars they said they were left with after being pushed into the therapy by their parents and finding that they could not change their sexual orientation or did not want to.”
Personally, I find that the whole notion that you can be ‘cured’ of loving someone utterly abhorrent, and the fact that parents can force their children into such a situation is even worse. But regardless of my opinion, the fact that these ‘therapeutic’ practices are regularly pushing children to depression and suicide should be enough to get them banned–in every state.
At their most basic level, stripped of all the societal and religious aspects, these practices are nothing more than narrow-minded people trying to force other people to be just like them; to fit into some little box. They might as well be trying to ‘convert’ people’s hair or skin color, or forcing them to dress in a particular way and telling them what they can read and watch, and how they should think. They are an attempt to force young people to be something they aren’t. And they’re harmful, hurtful, and sometimes deadly. Oh, and way out of date.
So I’m with Governor Brown on this one. People should celebrate who they are, and live the life they chose, and not be forcefully ‘cured’ of it. Children, especially, should be allowed to grow and explore, and learn who they truly are, and not be faced with ‘therapy’ to ‘fix’ their uniqueness.
Then again, I’m still trying to figure out what the deuce makes people think it’s any of their business who somebody falls in love with in the first place.
Yeah, that one’s got me stumped.