Last week I found an article in the Huffington Post about new legislation in New York that seeks to ban the practice of gay conversion therapy by licensed therapists who seek to "cure" the gay of those they treat, which is modeled after similar bills passed in California. If you haven't heard about this type of treatment yet, I encourage you to research it online and find out the many ways people have tried to "fix or remove" the gay from someone. What you find will undoubtedly by horrific and shocking.
The article that I am writing about can be found below, and at the bottom are some examples of the types of treatments people have utilized, from hypnotism and exorcism to electrocution.
In reading the article, and after looking up the many forms of "treatment" that can be even physically and mentally abusive, what enrages me even more are the lawsuits against the legislation passed in California claiming a constitutional violation of free speech and parental rights. One basis for this argument by the opposition is that it "infringes on parents' authority to seek whatever type of professional help they choose for their children."
Let me ask you, what kind of parent would willingly and knowing have their children be put through an entire process that attacks them mentally by saying that something is "wrong" with them, that they are "sick" and going so far as to allow physical pain?! That is simply child abuse.What's more, the American Psychiatric Association alongside other major professional health associations in America, have concluded that "these therapy efforts have never been proven to work and may harm young patients. And with several states outlawing these practices, what more evidence do you need to be convinced that gay conversion therapy needs to stop?
And these treatments are not exclusive to the US. They occur all over the world, including my home country of South Africa. I say that because just a few days ago, a fifteen year old boy was killed by the treatment he underwent at a camp that strive to "make a man out of him" and tried to "beat the gay out of him." This article carries a trigger warning, and it's important that people know how far these therapies can go.
Gay conversion therapy is by far one of the cruelest methods people have created and instituted to attack those who identify other than straight. It has evolved into various forms of mental and physical abuse and scars many children, and adults, for life. And often when the treatment proves to ultimately be unsuccessful, the children are abandoned by their family and make up the 25-40% of all homeless youth in America who identify as LGBTQ.
This needs to stop. If you are in New York or another state that is pursuing a ban on these therapies, or know people who live there, please take a step and contact your representatives and say that this needs to stop. We should be raising our children up and praising them for who they are, not breaking them down into what society wants them to be.