Politics & Current Affairs

Gay conversion therapy

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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. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/24/opinion/gay-conversion-therapy-torture.html
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shelby.bell
shelby.bell followed this discussion
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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 in 2017
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What are your thoughts on Gay Conversion Therapy, Is it okay?
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richard-cruden
richard-cruden followed this discussion
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There's nothing therapeutical about conversion 'therapy'. It should be outlawed.
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Diabetes is a terrible, chronic disease. Homosexuality is a normal state, albeit a minority one.

Think of left handedness in a right handed world. Think of red hair and freckles in a blonde and black hair world which seeks sun tans.

One cannot"pray this away" or"counsel" any of these situations away.
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Host
When I was twelve, with the best intentions, my friend's mother enrolled him in conversion therapy. Fortunately, it was far away, and difficult to get to, so it didn't last long. But it was just long enough for me to understand the gravity of his situation. He felt as though he was an outcast. He needed therapy in high school to deal with it, and he did deal with it, but the scar has never left him.
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Homosexuality is not a disease. It is totally irrelevant whether it is inborn or acquired; it is a natural human behavior, no different from preference for blondes or brunettes. By itself, it causes no more suffering than any other individual taste. It is only in the context of a sick, repressive and guilt-ridden culture that it becomes a problem in need of a solution. Parents who inflict unnecessary therapy upon their children, be it physical or psychological, should be held criminally liable; and physicians who “treat” healthy people should lose their licenses.
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A little like the efforts that used to be made to change left-handed children. Worse, of course. But most of us tend to think that what WE can easily do (love the opposite sex, lose weight, get on an airplane) is equally easy for everyone else. The older I get the more I realize how wrong that is.
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Host
Last year, our 13 year old son became withdrawn and negative. After prodding , we finally got him to admit why: he was gay. We told him we loved him, and worried for his well being, got him a therapist to help him deal with what we thought would be a long coming out process. Well.

He was out within 4 months!

Better yet, he was wholly accepted by his peers. He has also completely emerged from the shell and his grades have gone up. He is happy and calm and centered and our pride in his could not be higher.
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Host
Last year, our 13 year old son became withdrawn and negative. After prodding , we finally got him to admit why: he was gay. We told him we loved him, and worried for his well being, got him a therapist to help him deal with what we thought would be a long coming out process. Well.

He was out within 4 months!

Better yet, he was wholly accepted by his peers. He has also completely emerged from the shell and his grades have gone up. He is happy and calm and centered and our pride in his could not be higher.
This is wonderful! Because as important as your words are, it is also equally important we all become pro LGBT warriors. We have to challenge these therapies, yes, but also the wrong-headed thinking behind them. Only when society rids itself of its rampant homophobia, will these conversion therapies be discarded.
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Any parent who cannot accept who their child is does not deserve to be a parent.
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Any person who don't think that homosexuality is normal , they themselves needs proper treatment.
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I can see some problems with banning conversion therapy. For instance, what counts as “conversion therapy”?

I heard about a therapist who helped men work through whether they were gay, and because he supported some men who decided they were not gay, he was accused of practicing conversion therapy (he engaged only in talk therapy). We don’t need witch hunts.
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If an adult decides they want conversion therapy, perhaps because they are religious, is it really anyone’s business but theirs?
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Obviously, tying up children and hurting them while they watch images of people having sex seems like a very, very bad idea.
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There are very good public health reasons why banning conversion therapy in all states is appropriate, & those reasons have nothing to do with liberal or conservative political views. According to the American Psychiatric Association & many other sources, being gay is not a disease, and conversion therapy has been proven to be ineffective and harmful.
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